The Surprising History of High Heels

The women’s most loved footwear once belonged in the men’s closet. For years only men wore high heeled shoes to show their social status. In fact, way back in the history, the only women who wore high heels were courtesans. Hundreds of years men considered these shoes as a men’s footwear. So, how did high heels end up in the women’s closet? Find out in the video below!

Male aristocrats from Europe wore high heeled shoes to show their social status during the 1600s. The high heeled shoes signaled power. Courtesans were women who intimately interacted with the most powerful men at that time. That’s why these women started to wear high heels. They used the heeled shoes to show their status to others. The high heels became a female accessory, so men stopped wearing them.

The Surprising History of High Heels
Photo Credit: Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

The earliest prototype for women’s platform heels were the chopines. These heeled shoes could be up to 24-inches tall. The chopines were made of wood and cork. Some styles were banded with metal. The chopines became a status symbol because only women who didn’t work could wear such impractical shoes.

The Surprising History of High Heels chopines
Photo Credit: The Bata Shoe Museum

High heels got practical in the 20th century.Unlike chopines, these high heels were shorter and flatter. Finally, every woman was able to wear them. Women started wearing shorter skirts and dresses, so shoe designers started to come up with more creative high heeled shoe styles.

The infamous stilettos were invented for Christian Dior‘s fashion collection in 1954. Funny enough, the chic name comes from the Italian word for a thin dagger.

The Surprising History of High Heels first stiletto high heels
Photo Credit: Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

Pornography and pin-up photography popularized high heels in the 21-st century. Nowadays high heels are part of almost every women’s closet. Wearing high heels doesn’t mean anything fancy today, but they have the power to elevate every look. Who knows, high heels may become appealing to both genders like they were in the past. We’ll see what the future will bring.

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