The history of high heels

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The history of high heels
Flickr (CC) / Maegan Tintari

The history of high heels is quite interesting. They may seem ultra modern and cool, but they have been around for ages. Quite literaly.

Information about high heels dates back to the middle ages. The first ancestors to modern high heels are known to be worn by mediaeval Europeans who used wood to carve thick soles for their shoes. Think of modern day wedge heels but not that high and not that modern.

Persians also relied on high heeled shoes for better grip in the stirrups while riding a horse. According to the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Persians used such footwear at least from 9th century onwards.

During the old ages heeled shoes were worn mainly for practical reason as the one by Persians. This trend continued for a very long time and practical use of heels is evident to this day. Look at cowboy boots for examlple.

Today high heels are associated almost exclusively with women. Of course many men’s shoes also have some form of heightened heel but they are not regarded as high heeled shoes. This was not the case back in the day as evidenent by the history of high heels.

There’s also a legend that during the 16-18th centuries men were wearing high heels as a form of status – the higher the heels, the greater the status of the person. With the Industrial revolution and just because of time this fad started to fade. Today men wear high heels mainly for artistic purporses like dances, acting. Some though like to wear such shoes just because they like them but because of social stigmas, they do that in private.

When the First World War came high heels were almost forgotten by everybody. The same was evident during the Second World War which is to be expected. While good looking, heels are not ideal for tough times and a war is the toughest time possible.

After the wars thoguh high heels slowly started to return to the fashion scene. They are no longer viewed for practical reasons. They can still signify status but not by their height but by their maker, price and used materials. The main goal of modern high heels is simple – to make women look even more beautiful. After a few more centuries the history of high heels will show that they have achieved their goal and then some.

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