The Dong-a Ilbo highlights the fact that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has been wearing comfortable sneakers instead of his normal formal dark shoes (complete with lifts) since reportedly suffering a stroke last year.
Since Kim is only 5-feet-2 (158 centimeters), he has been known to wear lifts in his shoes from a young age. Whenever he meets outside visitors, including at the 2007 inter-Korean summit, Kim wears formal dark high-heeled shoes.
However, since his alleged stroke last year, his high-heeled shoes or any shoes with hard soles and heels have now all but disappeared.
In the first photo of Kim released after his illness on November 2 last year, it showed him wearing sneakers. In a photo released by Pyongyang on May 24 this year, just a day ahead of the North’s second nuclear test, Kim was seen wearing sharper shoe-shaped sneakers. In a photo released June 14, Kim is seen visiting a military unit and again wearing sneaker style shoes, unlike those worn by his aides.
Interestingly, Kim also wears a thick jacket despite the early hot summer weather, another indicator that his health has decreased.