The History Of The High Heel Shoe...

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Here is an interesting fact, 
Men were actually the first to wear High Heeled shoes. It was the 15th century and it demonstrated a level of nobility as only the wealthy could afford to wear such extravagant shoes. The higher the shoe the more noble the man.
At that time, women had been wearing Platform (solid heel) shoes, some as high as 60 centimetres.
Platforms actually predated High Heeled shoes for women, but because many women would fall over their platforms, and pregnant women would miscarry, they had to be legislated against.
Shoemakers wanted to give women height but they needed to make the shoes safer, so they carved out the front of the platform. This created a High Heel which was biomechanically more sound than Platforms.
 
The first ever recorded woman to wear a High Heeled shoe (not Platform) was Catherine de Medici in Europe in the 16th century. It is claimed she wore them for her wedding to appear taller as she was only around 150cm tall. 

Apparently after Catherine de Medici died, that was the end of High Heeled shoes for women in terms of fashion. Women started to wear lower heels.

Men of course liked the idea of towering above everyone else, no one more than Louis XIV. He would parade around with very tight fitting High Heeled shoes, very highly decorated. His badge of honour was a red heel, and he wouldn't allow anybody else in the French court to wear them.

Apparently Heels in the French court at Versailles were a very important status symbol and were restricted to the nobility. Wearing heels without permission would lose you your head, literally. 

Many years later the right to wear heels was extended to the general population, Yay!! and the styles pretty much remained chunky until after the end of World War II.

It took two world wars for us to have the technology to be able to make a stiletto heel.

The secret of the stiletto heel was a small piece of metal (a shank) which joined the inside of the shoes sufficiently that the heel and foot of the shoe could operate separately. It could actually bend and twist. Once a shoe designer managed to work that out, then heels became more like what we see today. In the past heels were more like arch supports. They sat much closer to the middle of the foot, whereas now they could sit right at the end of the shoe. 

And the rest is history....

 

 

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