As Julie Bishop explains it, they were simply a pair of comfortable working boots.
But to accept this description at face value, one would have to overlook Ms Bishop's years of perfecting diplomatic understatement as Australia's first female foreign minister.
The shoes Ms Bishop wore the day she resigned as minister - red satin with bejewelled heels - stood out against a sea of black footwear at the press conference in Parliament House.
The sparkly red heels became an instant symbol of female empowerment.
Earlier on that tumultuous August week, Malcolm Turnbull had been unceremoniously dumped as prime minister.
The chaotic leadership challenge was marred by allegations of bullying and harassment of Liberal women.
Ms Bishop, who put her hand up to replace Mr Turnbull, also came last in a three-way race in favour of two blokes.
On Wednesday, Ms Bishop gifted the iconic shoes she wore only once to the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.
Red is one of Ms Bishop's favourite colours; a symbol of power and passion, of courage and freedom, of love and independence.
She is also acutely aware of fashion as a political and social statement.
From Nancy Reagan's "Republican red" gowns, to Hillary Clinton's white pant suit as a nod to the suffragettes, to women wearing black to the Golden Globes as part of the #MeToo movement.
"Throughout history people have been defined by what they wear," Ms Bishop said on Wednesday.
And so, there is no doubt Ms Bishop's choice of footwear was more calculated than she is willing to let on.
"I decided to go for what I would consider a sensible pair of heels, or a comfortable working boot."
Ms Bishop admits she did wonder whether there was any positive purpose to her gift.
"As Australia's first foreign minister I always wanted to ensure that I made it easier, not harder, for other women to follow," she said.
"If by gifting these red shoes I inspire just one young woman to aspire to enter public life, to aspire to be a foreign minister or indeed a prime minister, this gift will have been worth making."
Australian Associated Press