High heels have become an iconic symbol of fashion in modern times. The taller, the better – for many women, there is no such thing as too high a heel. But, where did high heels come from? This iconic symbol of fashion has a surprisingly long and storied history that spans thousands of years, from ancient Greece to modern-day. In this article, we will take a look at the history of high heels and their evolution through time.
The Birth of High Heels:
High heels date back to the ninth century AD when Persian men first started wearing elevated shoes. These shoes were designed to help horse riders maintain a stable position when riding – they had a particular shape, with a high heel and a slightly pointed toe. It is believed that these heels were designed to prevent the rider from slipping out of the stirrups, especially when shooting arrows.
From Persia to Europe:
The Persians didn’t keep their high-heeled shoe design secret for long. Soon enough, the trend made its way to Europe, where women started adopting it to show off their wealth and status. In the 16th century, Italian women took the idea a step further, adding platform soles beneath the high heels. These were the precursors of the modern platform heel and allowed women to reach even greater heights.
The French Revolution and Beyond:
During the French Revolution, high heels fell out of favor. The revolutionaries viewed them as a symbol of the aristocracy and therefore abolished them. However, heels quickly regained their popularity. In the mid-eighteenth century, French shoemaker Nicholas Lestage created the first “modern” high heel, with a closed-in heel and an ankle strap. His design allowed women to dance more comfortably and confidently, further fueling the trend.
The Age of Industrialization:
The Industrial Revolution brought forth mass-production techniques and advances in manufacturing. The mass-production of high heels made them accessible to more people and further entrenched their status as a symbol of prestige and style among women. In the 20th century, high heels became a fashion staple worldwide, thanks to Hollywood leading ladies, like Marilyn Monroe, who popularized the look of high heels.
Modern-Day High Heels:
Today, high heels come in various shapes, colors, and sizes, ranging from the subtle low-heel kitten to the sky-scraping stiletto. With the rise of the internet and online shopping, high heels have become even more accessible, and fashion trends now develop at lightning speed. However, they are not without controversy. Some critics argue that heels are detrimental to women’s health, damaging their feet, causing back pain, and other issues. Nonetheless, high heels continue to push the boundaries of fashion, with innovative designers such as Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo creating stunning new looks every season.
In conclusion, high heels have come a long way since their inception in ancient Persia. They have gone through wars, revolutions, and industrialization, becoming an iconic symbol of femininity, power, and status for women around the world. Today, high heels are more popular than ever before, with designers continuously pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of design, materials, and height. Whether you love them or loathe them, one thing is certain – high heels are more than just a fashion statement; they are a symbol of women’s empowerment and freedom to express themselves.