History of High Heels
By Hella Goode
High heels, considered a fashion essential for some, and a cute yet painful torture device by others. It is rumored that genius Leonardo DaVinci played a part in the development of the high heel, these controversial fashion pieces have adorned feet for purpose and for pleasure for centuries.
Ancient Egyptian butchers wore heeled shoes to keep from getting the dead animal gunk on the floor from their feet. Roman actors wore them to give more stage presence. The elite even began wearing heeled shoes that resembled today’s platform shoes called chopines that were easily up to 30 inches tall. These fashionistas of prior generations had to have help walking in these overshoes. Strangely this was almost the opposite of what the Chinese at the time considered beautiful. I am referring to foot binding, the practice of breaking the arch of a young girl’s feet and binding them so that they could not grow, fitting into shoes of today’s infant sizes.
Later Catherine de Medici wore them to out-stature her husband’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Even Louis XIV wore five inch heels as a status symbol. Napoleon, however was not a fan and banished them, reducing these above-it-all royals to the level of the commoners.
Today some argue that high heels are a clear example of how men and their foot fetishes dominate women’s fashion and make us suffer. Yet many women wear high heels by choice. Some of us who are vertically challenged need the extra inches. Some of us just want to feel sexy. We have a love/hate relationship with our heels, but have grown and evolved with them throughout civilization and are likely to keep them around at least a few centuries more.
(read more at randomhistory.com)