The Fascinating History of High Heels


Women owe a serious debt to the person who came up with the idea of high heels. This simple addition to shoes has added inches to the height of countless women, added dollops of appeal to their gait, and made men swoon over sensuous calves. You don’t have to be a leggy dame to wear heels; anyone can wear them. There are heeled boots for every occasion. Check out the designs on our site, and you’ll understand what we’re talking about.

But let us not digress from this very interesting subject of how heels actually came to be. If there is indeed a single person who deserves credit for inventing heels, then his or her name is lost in the mists of time. But what we do know is that ladies of the night in Venice and a personality no less than Louis XIV played a role in popularizing heels.

High heels naturally accentuate feminine grace. Royalty was not immune to the charms of these shoes. A document from 1595 tells us about how Queen Elizabeth I loved her high heels. It mentions her wardrobe as having “a payre of spanish leather shoes with high heels and arches.” This is the first documented evidence of high heels in Europe.

The Egyptians; however, beat the Europeans to high heels by a good two thousand years. Murals that date back to 3500 BC depict Egyptian upper class folks wearing high heels. These heels served to distinguish this lot from the serfs. They were also worn for religious ceremonies.

The Greeks used platform heels; these were called “Kothorni”, and they used heels made from cork. The Romans too used high heels.

In Turkey, during the 1400s, there emerged a style of heeled boots that laid the foundation for modern high heels. These boots were known as Chopines and had heels that were sometimes more than two feet high. Impractical, no doubt. But these boots nudged heeled footwear for women away from practicality and toward aesthetics. In the 18th century, the Pompadour Heel, named after the mistress of Louis XV were the rage in Europe.

Brass bases, introduced in late 19th century were the next big innovation that allowed ladies to reduce the width of the heels without compromising on its strength. Roughly around this period, the modern American classic, the pump shoe was created.

The classic French court shoes enjoyed a great revival when Roger Vivier, a designer with Christian Dior, invented the stiletto heels.

Heeled boots, along with thigh boots, have helped define the image of the liberated woman. Marilyn Monroe was just one diva in a long line who have exuded oomph in heels.

Hope you enjoyed this short tryst with the history of heels. If you like heeled boots, we can make them for you. There’s a world of difference between mass-produced boots and the ones we make. Our master cordwainers treat each order with respect and craft boots with love and dedication. And the effort shows in the comfort and elegance that our boots offer.  

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