Stepping Out: 100 Years Of High Heels
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As a woman, I love the esthetics of wearing high heels, but I have undoubtedly experienced the pain from wearing them. So much so that I have had to have surgery on my feet from the nerve damage I have done over the years. I idolize any girl, woman or even man who can wear a pair of heels (regularly) and live happily to tell about it! I love wearing heels but my feet don’t! I was curious as to the history of the high heel … like where it initially stemmed from and why they were created them in the first place and the theories are interesting.
There seems to be uncertainty of when heels were first developed but research seems to show that high heels can be traced back to ancient Egypt. In the middle of the second millennium BC, Egyptians began to frequently uses sandals. Retention was obtained generally by the Egyptians by a T or V thong passing through the sole. Egyptian butchers also wore heeled shoes for practical purposes, that is, in order to keep their feet clean of any blood while slaughtering animals.
Things changed again and during the European renaissance, the high heel became a status symbol worn by both male and females. It differentiated social statuses. Catherine de Medici a Franco/Italian noblewomen pioneered the use of heels as a fashion statement. Catherine de Medici is believed to have worn them to impress the French court when she wed the Duke of Orleans, the future king. It is believed to be the first instance when heels were worn however, this reference may be apocryphal, as the development of heels did not begin to come about until the late 1580s, based on iconographic evidence and extant pieces. Two hundred years later King Louis XIV of France decreed that only nobility could wear heels. Seventeenth-century portraits of King Louis XIV depict the various intricate heels worn by the king and they were often decorated with miniature battle scenes.
During the 16th century, European royalty started wearing high-heeled shoes to make them look taller or larger than life. By 1580, men wore them, and a person with authority or wealth was often referred to as “well-heeled”. Since the French Revolution (1789-1799) the trend wearing high heels was ended to avoid any associating with the old aristocracy and its opulence. Since people wished to avoid the appearance of wealth, heels were largely eliminated from the common market for both men and women and replace by casual fashion and shoe wear. From the beginning of the Baroque the heel came back to shoes.
It is sometimes suggested that raised heels were a response to the problem of the rider’s foot slipping forward in stirrups while riding horses. The “rider’s heel”, approximately 1 1⁄2 inches (3.8 cm) high, appeared in Europe around 1600. The leading edge was canted forward to help grip the stirrup, and the trailing edge was canted forward to prevent the elongated heel from catching on underbrush or rock while backing up, such as in on-foot combat. These features are evident today in riding boots, notably cowboy boots.
So, let’s take a (well-heeled) walk down memory lane and peep at the peep-toes, pumps, platforms, and other shoes that have kept us in step for the past century via Mode.com.
What was your favorite shoe style? Share you feedback in the comment section below.
Sources: Wikipedia, Micar And Mode.Com
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