The Male Dominated History of the High Heel

It might be impossible to believe, but the high heels trend actually began with men. The idea of male high heels might seem foreign to some people, but it is perhaps the most historically correct trend in fashion in the last few centuries. High hill shoes for men today are purely functional, at least in most cases. This seems to have been the same all those years ago when men started wearing heels. Historians believe that high heels were once worn by warriors when riding horses to help them hold tight to their saddles. In the beginning, they were popular among the macho men and the warriors of the land. They however soon became the preserve of the rich people. Kings especially loved the prestige it gave them.

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First lady to wear heels

It was not until the 16th century that the first woman was actually recorded to have worn heels. Catherine de Medici, at about 150 centimeters tall, wanted to appear taller at her wedding. Women had at that time only been wearing platform shoes, some going as high as 60 centimeters. There was an issue with these platform shoes, though. Even though they were much older for women, they were very unsafe. Women would fall over them, and many pregnant women actually miscarried. A combination of commercial pressure and legislation against them slowly saw them dwindle.
In hindsight, Catherine De Medici started a revolution of sorts. Shoemakers realized that even though they could give women height, platform shoes were too dangerous. Catherine wearing heels showed them a different side. Therefore, they cut out the front part, giving the heels that stable feel while still serving the same purpose that platform shoes did. This was the birth of what is popular today as the high heels.

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It was not until 200 years later during King Louis XIV of Frances reign that heels really took off as a fashion statement. Curiously, though, it still was more popular among the men. Women mostly wore shorter heels, with men loving the idea of towering above everyone else. Nobody loved this more than the king himself, going as far as naming a shoe after himself. He had a characteristic red pair of heels, and nobody else in the court was allowed to wear them. They often were very tight and highly decorated.

Ordinary people

Today, any ordinary man can go online and look for size 13 men’s heels. During King Louis XIV’s reign, the ordinary men did not see much use for heels. Most of the normal people did not have much use for fashionable things. It was only the rich nobles that had the money and titles that would trouble themselves with heels, mostly in a bid to outdo each other. This had to be moderated though because any imitation of the royal family was outlawed. Eventually, the right to wear heels was extended to everyone else, but most were chunky platform heels until about the time of the Second World War when stilettoes were invented.


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