5 Times President Obama Ditched His Shoes Overseas

He visits a lot of historic sites, which often necessitates footwear removal.

ByCHRIS GOOD and DEVIN DWYER
January 25, 2015, 11:19 AM

— -- Even when you're the leader of the free world, sometimes you have to ditch your shoes.

Today in New Delhi, President Obama spent some time in his socks during a visit to a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, the father of modern India. It wasn't the first time Obama has gone shoeless while on foreign soil; he's done so a handful of times on overseas trips since taking office in 2009.

1. At the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

PHOTO: President Barack Obama removes his shoes as he prepares to visit the Blue Mosque April 7, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey.
President Barack Obama removes his shoes as he prepares to visit the Blue Mosque April 7, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey.
Pete Souza/The White House

When Obama visited Turkey to address its parliament in April 2009 - a speech in which he declared that the U.S. "is not, and will never be, at war with Islam" - he also visited Istanbul's historic Blue Mosque, built between 1609 and 1616, removing his shoes to tour it.

2. At a Museum in Egypt

PHOTO: President Barack Obama (2nd R) and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd L) visit the Sultan Hassan mosque before making his key Middle East policy speech on June 4, 2009 in Cairo, Egypt.
President Barack Obama (2nd R) and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd L) visit the Sultan Hassan mosque before making his key Middle East policy speech on June 4, 2009 in Cairo, Egypt.
Getty Images

One of President Obama's first and still most notable foreign trips was his June 2009 visit to Egypt, where he delivered a speech in Cairo aimed at the Muslim world, seeking to repair relations. On that trip, he visited the pyramids and the Great Sphinx, removing his shoes to tour a museum at the site.

3. At a Luncheon with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak

PHOTO: President Barack Obama puts his shoes back on after an official luncheon with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 19, 2009.
President Barack Obama puts his shoes back on after an official luncheon with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 19, 2009.
Pete Souza/The White House

After hosting South Korea's president at the White House in June 2009, President Obama traveled to South Korea for a state visit that November. He removed his shoes before a luncheon with Lee at South Korea's presidential residence, the Blue House.

4. At a Mosque in Indonesia

PHOTO: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama tour the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Nov. 10, 2010.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama tour the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Nov. 10, 2010.
Jason Reed/Reuters

Again reaching out to the Muslim world in a speech overseas, Obama traveled to Jakarta in November 2010 to speak at the University of Indonesia, returning to the country where he spent part of his childhood. Along with the first lady, he visited the Istiqlal Mosque, which lays its claim as the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. The first couple removed their shoes for the tour.

5. At a Pagoda in Burma

PHOTO: President Barack Obama stands barefoot in front of the 368-foot tall Shwedagon pagoda in Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 19, 2012.
President Barack Obama stands barefoot in front of the 368-foot tall Shwedagon pagoda in Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 19, 2012.
Pete Souza/The White House

In November 2012, Obama made a historic visit to Burma, once ruled by a military junta and now, as it was in 2012, in the midst of a Democratic transition supported by the White House. On his visit, Obama sought to bolster that transition and encourage Burma's political changes. While in Rangoon, Obama toured the Shwedagon Pagoda, a large, golden Buddhist shrine - and, once again, removing his footwear.

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