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Did You Know Men Were the First to Wear High-heel Shoes?

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Last Updated: September 16, 2020, 14:43 IST

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

High heels were originally made exclusively for men! Can you believe it?

High heels were originally made exclusively for men! Can you believe it? Nowadays, stilettoes and heels are broadly associated with female style and female sexuality. However, men used to wear heels long before women started wearing them. High-heeled shoes were first worn by Persian soldiers in 10th century to elevate their feet, giving them stability while shooting their bows and arrows. Since then, men heels symbolise high social stature, military power and fashionable taste.

Then the Persian riders also wore one-inch heel shoes to signify it as a symbol of wealth and power. Persian soldiers and migrant brought the shoe trend to Europe, which was considered as fashionable. Later, the European aristocrats adopted the new trend as a powerful military tactic to appear taller.

Louis XIV was famous as the king of heels. Under his reign, it was considered that the higher and redder the heel, the more powerful the wearer. However, he passed a law in 1670 that only the nobility should wear heel-shoes. The king used to wear shoes with red colour heels or soles. The members of his court are also allowed to wear red heels.

In those times, women craved to adopt masculine elements in their fashion sense like trimming hair shorts and wearing hats. So, women start wearing heels as a part of adopting men’s style in their clothing. Women heels were narrower, ornamental and higher than men’s heel-shoes.

In the 17th century, men started abandoning bright colour clothes, jewellery, exquisite fabrics to practical and sober clothing. They started to emphasized on practical and rationality over luxury and fashion which was known as the Great Male Renunciation. Since then, distinguishing between men and women through their appearance has been a dominant trend.

The intellectual movement has started to stereotype men as rational and practical, while women as sentimental and foolish. By 1740, men stopped wearing heel-shoes. The demand for sophistication, practical and to put on simple dresses have stopped the high heeled shoe fashion among men.


Heels came back in the mid-19th century, where men wear low heeled cowboy boots and platform shoes. Moreover, the era of men wearing high heels is long gone. Men on heels used to symbolize power, wealth and masculinity but it was pushed to the gender biases in today’s world.

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first published:September 16, 2020, 14:43 IST
last updated:September 16, 2020, 14:43 IST