Not only clothing is a reflection of the era, shoes are another important detail. More than one millennium has passed since its appearance, so it should not be surprising that during all this time, women's and men's pairs of shoes have changed a huge number of times. Today women of fashion love to complement their look with a chic pair of high-heeled shoes and can save up for it for months. And what is the origin story of the heel? When, where and why did it become part of the shoe?
Not many people know that the heel did not previously serve as an ornament for women's legs, but was used for convenience by the ancient Egyptians. Thanks to the shoes with heels, it was much easier for them to navigate the plow. But in Greece, footwear with heels was used by actors at performances in theaters to visually increase growth. The actors wore high-heeled shoes to portray the nobility on stage. In Greece, the heel was called koturn and it could be up to 10 centimeters high. And the very name "heel" is borrowed from the Turkic language, where it was pronounced as "kabluk". And in turn, it came to the Turkic language from Arabic. "Kab", as the Arabs called the heel. Only in 1509 can you find the first mention of a heel in Russian sources. Used heels in Russia by riders. Such shoes helped the foot not slip into the stirrup.
The heel became a fashionable trend in the Baroque era. And men wore shoes with heels. The inventor of this element of men's footwear was a French officer. But soon shoes with heels began to be actively popular with women. Venetian courtesans began to use it in their outfits, and then heels became popular with all other women. At that time, the heel was in the shape of a cylinder, and such shoes were called chopins. They were very uncomfortable and women could not move without the help of servants. These shoes had heels ranging from 15 to 42 centimeters high. They even tried to ban them by law, but nothing will stop fashionistas.
Women in Turkey also wore heels, but only for a different purpose. Shoes with heels were put on odalisques so that they would not run away from the harem.
In Japan, geta shoes were fashionable. It remains in demand today, although it originated in the second half of the eighth century. Geta protected the skirts of the kimono of Japanese beauties from dirt. The heel height depended on the weather.
In order to visually increase the height, heels began to be worn only in 1533. For this purpose, Catherine de Medici, who was not very tall, began to use heels for the first time. She wore heels for a wedding with Prince Herceg, thereby increasing her height by 5 centimeters. Later, heeled shoes became everyday for women at court. But not only the female sex wanted to increase their height, so some men also resorted to shoes with heels. Louis XV set a record for wearing heels. For him, a pair was made with a heel of 10 centimeters. The favorite of Louis XV, the Marquis de Pampadour, was also short and wore heels, actively spreading fashion to them among women. Although there are suggestions that in order to appear taller, Louis XIV began to wear heels.
Now some small interesting historical facts are presented to your attention:
- Some women of fashion went so far as to wear heels so high that they could only walk on them with chopsticks or someone else's help. Therefore, the emperors were forced to pass laws that limited the height of the heels.
- The heels made the difference between right and left boots. This division was necessary to make the shoes more stable and it only happened in the 17th century, before that flat-soled shoes were made one last.
- The height of heels for people of different classes was also legally determined. The highest heels were worn by the nobility.
- In the middle of the 17th century, the British Parliament, by its decree, equated women in heels with witches, and witches, as you know, were executed. Such witches in heels were accused of awakening instincts in men that forced poor men to marry against their will.
Only in the 18th century did men abandon heels and only women began to wear them. This attribute is still relevant to this day. Each century has improved the heel for the convenience of women, for each century its own fashion has spread. The next time you shop around for some pretty heeled shoes, remember how the heel evolved before being on your feet the way you're used to.