Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no doubt about the fact that high heels are a part of life. You might wear them every day, you might wear them on very rare occasions, or you might leave them in your closet to gather dust, but many people do own a pair (or ten) of these shoes. Of course, they’re pretty different from the average sneaker or ballet pump. These shoes offer an impressive heel that will give you a bit of extra height, they help to make your legs look slender and toned, and some people even find them more comfortable than anything else. Yet, have you ever wondered how high heels were invented?
For men and women
Although most people assume that women are the only ones who wear high heeled shoes, this just isn’t true. In fact, it seems as though more and more men are embracing this extra height and this extra addition to their shoes. It’s not uncommon to see men wearing heels in everyday life, but most of us don’t realize that we’ve seen men wearing heels for years in another aspect of our lives. If you’ve seen cowboys in real life, or if you’ve just seen them in movies and television shows, you may have noticed that they wear high-heeled boots. It seems as though this little nugget of information actually relates to the ancient history of the shoe itself.
All about functionality
Before high heels were adopted by women to add a little something extra to their outfits, they were actually used primarily by men for functionality within their everyday lives. In fact, workers at the Bata Shoe Museum has actually been able to trace the history of high heels back to 10th century Persia. These men would wear a variation of the high heeled shoe we know and (sometimes) love today, to ensure that their feet would stay put in their riding stirrups. This would allow them to maintain balance and steadiness while riding on horseback, but the heel was much thicker than what we know today. Back then, women rarely wore high heels because they rarely rode on horses.
A distinct change
This continued until the turn of the 17th century when the people of Europe decided to change the functionality of the high heel. While they knew that the heel helped them on their horses, women decided that they wanted to wear the shoes that their men were so impressed with. They adopted the high heel as their own, and the shape began to change as the years went by. Before too long, the toe became more pointed, and the heel became much thinner. This helped with the beauty ideals at the time, when the beauty of women was showcased by their small feet. As the pointed toe of the high heel poked out of their skirts, it presented the illusion that their toes were incredibly small.
Mixing up the materials
As the years went by, the high heel went through various different changes in terms of its style. However, these shoes were often met with injury, as the heel was almost always made using wood. Because of this, they would break often. It wasn’t until the 1950s that they decided to mix up the materials and make the heel out of steel. These are the heels we know today.
Did you know just how high heels were invented?