High Heels – Not Just For Women

CULTURE | September 12, 2019

High Heel Shoes. Source: (wikimedia.org)

Who came up with the idea of high heels – a shoe that medically is not even recommended for women to wear? High heel shoes can destroy the arches of the feet, cause sciatica and back pain, ingrown toenails, arthritis in the knees, and plantar fasciitis. Because of these possible health risks, if foot problems do develop, the first thing to give up is wearing those lovely fashionable high heel shoes that a woman loves to adorn herself with. But most women love to wear them nonetheless. Women will go to painful lengths to make themselves feel attractive. There is just something about high heels that make them feel more feminine and beautiful.  

The-Vision-of-Saint-Eustace. Source: (ancient-origins.net)

But wait! In actuality, the high heel shoe was originally made for a man to wear. Persian warriors, around the ninth century, wore them while riding their horses to keep their feet from coming out of the stirrups as well as to keep them more stable as they stood up to shoot their arrows.  

Egyptian High Heels. Source: (historyofhighheels.tumblr.com)

Egyptians also wore various forms of high-heeled shoes back around 4000 BC. Evidence of their footwear can be seen in tombs and on temples. Other types were worn by Romans around 200 BC.

There were various other reasons why men wore high-heeled shoes. Legend has it that King Henry II wore the pointed version to hide his hideous deformed toes.  

Picnik-collage-king-louis-XIV. Source: (papyrus.greenville.edu)

Later, Western European aristocrat men wanted to wear them to be stylish and make themselves look taller. King Louis XIV was one of those men who were below average height so he wanted to appear taller by wearing heels that were four inches high. He even wore red ones as a sign of royalty.

High-heels with Buckles. Source: (wikipedia.org)

Soon after that time, around the mid-1500s, both men and women were wearing them. During the 1600s, women wanted to wear heels but not for the same reasons they wear them today. At that time, the women that wanted to wear them actually wanted to be more masculine and dress and act like men. They wanted to feel equal to the man. Even in the 1700s, men and women were not only still wearing high heels but wearing them with buckles that had various types of jewels set in them.  

High Class High Heels. Source: (youtube.com)

Then fashion trends began to vary, fading in and out, and with different fashions for women apart from the fashions made for men.

It was mostly the elite upper class that wore high-heels, but eventually, the fashion trickled down to the lower class. When it did, the upper class had to outdo them by pumping up their heels a little higher, which of course, caused them to be more expensive. The higher the heel, the higher up in society they were. Men eventually got away from wearing them and let the women have them.

Since that time, there have been all types, sizes, and shapes of high heels made for all classes of women. The high heel shoe is here to stay despite the health risks. It is all about fashion.  

Tags: culture | fashion | High Heels

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