Feb 3, 2020

Origin of High Heals

High heels are so closely associated with women that one would think they were invented for women, but high heels were created for men.

The first high heels were made for male Persian soldiers back in the 10th century. The heel allowed them to lock their feet in their stirrups (the devices horse riders put their boots in) while riding. This improved their balance and accuracy when they wanted to shoot arrows or attack their opponent with some other weapon while on the move.

High heels reached Europe in the 17th century where they were adopted by the male aristocrats to make them appear taller and more intimidating. In one notable incident, King Louis XIV of France distributed high heeled shoes to the male members of his cabinet in 1673.

Women also began wearing high heel shoes during the 17th century. Women started wearing high heels, because it made their feet appear smaller. At the time, most women wore long skirts that reached their ankles. The high heeled shoes raised the mid and rear parts of their legs so that it was hidden under their skirts. Only the front part of their feet was visible, giving people the impression that they had smaller feet.

Male and female high heels slowly began to diverge as women made their heels thinner. Women also streamlined the front of their shoes so that they appeared smaller and pointy. Meanwhile, men maintained the original high heels with wide heels and flat fronts. Men dumped the high heel fashion during the 18th century, because it had become a feminine item.

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