WHEN the Pope stands down from office tonight (February 27) he will have to give the iconic red shoes back.

The tradition of the Pope wearing red shoes were carried over from the customs of ancient Rome.

Only three people are allowed to officially wear red shoes in the empire: the Emperor, the Empress, and the Pope.

Even in art, depictions of people wearing red shoes are severely restricted to the above-mentioned or the angels.

Local expert Linda Piggott, who runs talks at charity events across Somerset, said her speech on the importance and symbolism of red shoes is the most popular.

She said: "Red shoes signify dominance and power and that is why senior figures in Roman times were allowed to wear them.

"Princess Diana chose to wear red shoes when she split up with Prince Charles.

"Sprinter Usain Bolt often wears red shoes when he runs to signify power and success."