A widely-circulated photo showing Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson wearing mismatching shoes at a meeting with US President Barack Obama only tells part of the story.
Yesterday, the photo made the rounds through social media. As can be seen, the PM appears to be wearing one dress shoe and one Nike running shoe. The photo quickly spread as people wondered what explanation there might be for the dress choice.
As it turns out, the reason for the mismatched shoes is a lot less hilarious. The PM had a fungal infection in his feet that was so bad he needed to admitted to the hospital. His left foot also proved too swollen to fit into a dress shoe.
Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, the PM’s assistant, told reporters that with the important meeting drawing near, they first considered the possibility of the PM wearing a pair of Nikes with his suit, but decided that would be gauche. Instead, they opted for one dress shoe and one running shoe.
Despite the laughter and ridicule the photo evoked, the PM took it with good humor. In an interview with radio show Reykjavík Siðdegis, many listeners calling in wanted first and foremost to ask the PM about the shoes.
“It’s a great way to break the ice at a meeting like this,” he said. “People talked about it and had fun with it. Even Obama made jokes about it, as did the others.”
The PM did not disclose how Obama joked about the mismatched shoes.