The Strange History of Heels

The Strange History of Heels

Dec 27 , 2020

Erandika Collaborator

Tags - History of Heels


What if I tell you that the recorded history of heels covers almost a 1,000 years?


10th Century

Yes, in the 10th century, members of the Persian cavalry, especially arrow shooters, used to wear heels when riding horses, as it helped them stay within the stirrups.

This then became a part of the clothing worn by horse riders in general, followed to this day to a certain extent with cowboy shoes.

And given that having horses at the time, especially in Persia, was quite expensive, wearing heels became a sign of wealth among men.

Also, given how extravagant and impractical wearing heels at the time was, wearing heels implied a level of wealth where the wearer did not have to work.

Things got so out of hand that the length of the heels had to be regulated: not because of health concerns but to assign the lengths on the basis of social status


12th Century

By the 12th century, heels had reached India, and, once again, worn by richer people.


Later Medieval Period

During the late medieval period, heels were worn by both men and women to rise above the trash filled streets.

These heels could be as tall as 30 inches.


17th Century

By the 17th century, heels had become a fashion statement for women with a negative connotation.

Women, who were accused of wearing heels to lure men were given the same punishment as witches. (You get the idea).


Enlightenment Period

Later, during the enlightenment period, men stopped wearing heels as European societies embraced sciences and logic.

And gradually, by the French revolution, somehow, heels became a sign of femininity.


19th Century

The 1st half of the 1800s is possibly the only period when heels went out of fashion.

However, heels made a strong comeback in the 2nd half, coinciding with the invention of the sewing machine.

This allowed mass production of the items of fashion at the time and hence, helped the spread of heels further.


20th Century

Afterwards, the trend continued through the 1900s, where the 2 world wars actually spread the heels fashion as the interaction across societies increased.

Here, once again heels became a sign of femininity, as most of the imagery depicting glamorous women included heels.

In fact, things went a step further and heels became a sign of sexuality.


21st Century

This trend has continued to the present day where mostly only women wear heels.

However, the general landscape has turned heels into, something even, semi-formal.

As a result, now the variety and options within heels considers more than just the looks that come with it, extending to trying to accommodate health concerns and how to keep them in sight.


To learn more, get in touch with us today.


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