Men used to love high heel - Part I – chodole

Men used to love high heel - Part I

Posted by Thanh Mai on

Yes ! Men used to love high heel, and it is not a scientific novel, but a fact. Heels were made popular for purely functional reasons, but thanks to the British empire, it became a scandalous thing to be in that fashion. Heels became entangled to be attached with aristocracy and prostitution. 

Don't believe me? Here take a ride with me back to the past and learn some history. 


15th and 16th centuries: Persian cavalries and European expansion

The tale begins on the dusty terrain of 15th century Persia, on the backs of the fabled Median horses that carried the Persian cavalry. Heels would help riders stay secure in the stirrups when they stood up to shoot their bow. At the end of the 16th century, Persia’s Shah Abbas I had the largest and most feared cavalry in the world. He wasitching to topple the legendary Ottoman Empire, and took his army to Western Europe in order to form an alliance.

It was this journey that resulted in the pollination of the style across the northeastern hemisphere. The European elite who owned horses adopted the shoes, which became a symbol of wealth due to the impracticality of the design (also the logic behind foot binding in China) -- poorer folk simply couldn't afford the extravagance. Heels also made men taller, which was seen as a sign of dominance. Have you ever seen Tom Cruise with high heel shoes? 


17th and 18th centuries: The original red bottoms

While the Persian cavalry was marching towards Europe, Italian courtesans (the highest class of prostitute) in Venice were wearing “chopines” that were 10 - 18 inches tall. While they allowed courtesans to tower over their competition, heels were also part of the way they "fit in" with their male clients (they also smoked pipes, read books, and wore men's clothing). Some of the heels were so high that the woman would enlist servants to support them as they walked about town.

Louis XIV took the heel to a new height -- and to mainstream attention -- in the 1700s when had the bottoms of his heeled shoes red (suck on that, Christian Louboutin). The monarch from the House of Bourbon liked them so much that he only allowed members of his court to wear the red-soled shoes. Almost immediately, imposters began painting their heels which, if caught, was treated as a serious offense.


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