High heels and delicate, fancy shoes are so often associated with women and femininity. Today, there are a lot of men out there who grow increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of throwing on a pair of heels. But did you know that high-heeled shoes were originally designed for and worn by men?
Here’s a little history of high-heeled shoes and how they were flaunted by men of a higher class in Europe.
The first record of shoes being made with heels dates back to 15th century Persia, where male soldiers wore them in order to keep their feet in riding stirrups and maintain better balance on horseback.
Then, as people started migrating from Persia to Europe, heeled shoes slowly made their way into upper-class men’s attire and fashion.
Interestingly, many women in Europe who tried to sport high-heeled shoes were judged and ridiculed, as it was considered laughable for a woman to go around wearing a man’s military shoe.
However, by the 17th century, both high-class men and women could be seen wearing high heels.
They started off being made quite short and blocky, but they grew higher as time went on.
In 17th century France, high heels on men was an especially respectable fashion, and royals and aristocrats were praised for wearing lavish red heels as they were a symbol of privilege and sophistication.
Towards the end of the 17th century, more women began wearing heels, and they started slowly making their way out of men’s wardrobes. They suddenly took on a more feminine association, and men didn’t like people around them thinking they wore heels to appear taller than they were.