History of High Heels

It is well known that most of the fashion trends rise in popularity and then forgotten for a while. They are later re-introduced after several years. You might be surprised to know that shoes displayed in reputed runways got a history of thousands of years.

Shoes are one of the oldest inventions by our ancestors in order to protect feet from rugged terrain. They were often referred to in the Bible and representations of high heels are found on the walls of Egyptian tombs and temples.

Men still cannot fathom why women torture their toes with high heels which continues to add beauty to any outfit. There is a valid reason why women prefer to pick high heels. High heels make their legs look longer and give them a confident look. Well, what else would one expect from a fashion accessory?

At most of the occasions, men show up in an elite outfit partnered with flat shoes. It is baffling to know it were men who started using high heel shoe centuries ago.

Origin of high heels is associated with warriors and horse riders who wore them to have a better grip on the saddle. Eventually, it was in vogue as rich courtiers, and mighty kings too preferred high heels.

Catherine de Medici of the 16th century was the first woman to adorn high heeled shoes. Her height was 150 centimetres, and she wore them to look taller at her wedding.

Women use to wear platform shoes as high as a whopping 60 cms during the 16th century of Europe. It turned out to be troublesome for women to wear high heels. Thus shoemakers finally realized the problem and made some effort. They skillfully carved the front portion of the platform, which was much safer than the former design.

It was during the reign of King Louis XIV of France, when wearing heels was in vogue but among men. After the death of “de medici”, heeled shoes met their end in terms of fashion. Although women preferred lower heels, men relished wearing high heels. Louis XIV declared that an actual heel would be named after his name.

He was well known to parade with highly decorated and tight-fitting high heeled shoes. It was his badge of honour to wear a red heel, and he never allowed anybody in the French court to wear them. 

High heels were a symbol of status in the French court at Versailles, and they were restricted to the nobility. Those were days when only some people wished to be fashionable.

While common people were okay with their small business, the courtiers had huge money and privilege to outdo each other. Origin of high heels is also associated with Persia in the 15th century when soldiers wore to secure their feet in stirrups. These shoes were brought to Europe by Persian migrants, and male aristocrats wore them to look taller and powerful.  

Chopines which are a type of platform shoes were popular among women from the 15th to 17th century. They were designed to protect feet from mud and soil for patrician women of Venice.

It can be concluded from the history that the major reason why men or women preferred high heels was to display social status and look taller. 

Well, times have changed, but the craving for power remains the same.

If you do a quick research on the successful women of this century, you will find them in high heels posing for a full-length photoshoot.

Be it, Oprah Winfrey, Christine Lagarde or Sheryl Sandberg, each one of them named as the Most Powerful Women in World, and they are found in high heels. Be it Business in Heels or Leaders in Heels; both Business organizations display high heels adorned by women on their home pages or their logos.

When a woman works in a formal office setting, high heels enhance the office outfit just like a necktie which makes a man look flawless in a board meeting. The high heel is closely associated with authority and urbanity at an event or performance.  

Although high heels are great to flaunt, it is indeed a choice you need to make!

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