What Is The Origin Of High Heels?

High heels are inherently feminine accessories, but few know that men are the first to wear them.

Centuries ago, high heels were a type of shoe for men, and they were not made for walking but for riding. People made this type of shoes to support the cavalry. The sharp heel of the shoe makes it easy for the wearer to stand on the pedal, thereby taking the archery more accurately. This type of shoe is very popular in the Persian Kingdom (now Iran).

Persian shoes in the 17th century, made from horse leather and covered with mustard seeds. Photo: Bata Shoe Museum


In 1599, the Persian king sent people to Russia, Germany and Spain to expand their relations, unintentionally spreading the country’s culture. A wave of interest in Persian-related objects spread throughout Western Europe. Persian-style shoes were quickly adopted by the nobles here. They wear high heels as a way to show their strength and social status. When the lower classes imitated this shoe, the nobles increased the height of the shoe to separate it from the common people. The unrealistic high-heeled shoes they wear prove one thing: the rich do not need to walk far, do not need to work as poor people, so they can comfortably wear luxury accessories, even if it is uncomfortable.

The lavish style of this period is the emperor Louis XIV of France. He was only 1.63m tall, so he was extremely fond of high heels. The king’s shoes had a high heel up to 10cm, elaborately decorated with scenes of the battle. The heels are always red, using expensive dyeing techniques. In the 1670s, Emperor Louis XIV issued a decree that only courtiers were allowed to wear red high heels. In fact, only those who are fond of the king dare to wear this color on their feet.

The 1701 painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud painted the emperor Louis XIV wearing red heels

Do you find those red heel shoes sound familiar? Christian Louboutin – the king of red sole shoes inspired the trend of red high heels in today’s fashion. The red paint on the heels of Christian Louboutin shoes accidentally is also a sign of luxury and social status. Because, with the price is not popular, people who buy shoes want to prove themselves at a certain level.


By the 1630s, women cut their hair short, borrowing details on men’s clothing such as fringed shoulders to add to their costumes. They smoke pipes and wear men’s hats. And there is no reason why they do not “borrow” men’s high-heel style. Women do everything to look strong, to show what men wear, they can wear, and they can do it even better. Since then, the upper classes in European society have followed the trend of wearing unisex shoes. Until the end of the seventeenth century, to distinguish between men’s and women’s shoes, men chose shoes with a larger, thicker and lower heel, while women wore sharper and slender heel shoes like today.

Men’s shoe soles are rougher

In the Enlightenment period in the early eighteenth century, people began to focus on education and education rather than running after frivolous luxuries. Women are said to be weak, mushy and high heels are tied to that prejudice. By 1740 men stopped wearing this type of shoes because they thought they looked “feminine” and silly. After the French Revolution, high heels also disappeared on women’s feet.


However, fashion is a spin, nothing is lost forever. High heels date back to the mid-nineteenth century and thanks to the work of nude photographers (pornographer). They wear models with high heels to crown the feminine curve. Researchers believe that these nude photos are the sex appeal for high heels. Since then, women want to wear high heels to look more attractive in the eyes of the gentleman.

Photos for illustrative purposes

According to biologists, high heels can really appeal to sex. Evidence from a study at the University of Portsmouth in 2012 showed that high heels are factors that can stimulate the feeling of gender, similar to the breast or curves of women. The study also compared a woman’s body when running on a treadmill running on flat shoes with running on high heels. The result was that high heels do three things for women: shorten the walk, amplify the curve of the pelvis, and make the chest and butt flat. Therefore, researchers at the University of Portsmouth conclude that wearing high heels is a female strategy to attract modern mates.

Thus, men who ever wondered why women exiled themselves on high heels, now they have the answer. And with the repetitive flow of fashion, maybe one day the gentlemen will fight for the style of shoes that once belonged to them?

According to: BBC – Photo: File


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