Thursday, February 9, 2017

HIstory of High Heels and 6 Fun Facts

Pumps, High Heeled Shoe, Stack-Heel Shoe  Today out of the blue, I remember something I read about one of the french kings who make high heels popular so he'd be higher.  I've often wondered how true that statement is.

As we know, popular information may not be correct or even true.  There is a grain of truth to this in that men were the ones who wore high heels originally.

Apparently, high heels signaled wealth and nobility.  The higher the heel, the more wealth the wearer ha and the higher his or her ranking.

One of the earliest styles of women's high heels comes from the 15th century.  It was named the chopine which is a platform type shoe.  It looks like a shoe on two pieces of fancy wood and cold be up to 18 inches tall.  There is speculation these shoes might have originated within the ranks of the working girls of Venice while others speculate they were invented to help Catherine De Medici seem taller since she was quite short.   Eventually, the wealthy of Italy and the Ottoman Empire adopted these.  It didn't matter if you couldn't walk in them because if you were rich, you rode everywhere. Eventually the right believed the higher the platform, the longer the dress could be worn and all this extra material cost money so only the wealthy could do this. The shoes were not comfortable.

Men's and women's shoes were basically the same until the 1660's when men's shoes became more practical while women's became more decorated. Most heels at this point were blocky with very pointed heels and tied with ribbons.  These shoes are heavily embroidered and quite fancy.

At one point in history, around the 1840's, the heel decreased until it disappeared. Shoes resembled the modern day ballet slippers with ribbons and square toed. By 1850's the heel reappeared and continued to be worn.  It wasn't till the 1940's and 50's that technology reached a point where stilettos became stable and the choice for most women.

Fun Facts
1.  It is believed Egyptian butchers wore heels to keep their feet free from blood.

2. Middle Eastern Riders wore heels to keep their feet in their stirrups.

3. Ancient Greeks and Roman actors wore high heels when performing.

4. High heels were an added shoe accessory in the Middle Ages.

5.  6 inch heels were worn by the upper classes during the 17th century in Europe.  It required the wearer be held up by a servant on each side.

6.  During the 16th and 17th centuries, heels of shoes were always red.

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