History Of Footwear: Heels

shoes

If the shoe fits, wear it.

A very popular quote in our society, though when often used it refers to someone admitting to a flaw or fault; It is not farfetch to how heels all started. Every women I would go to boldly say at some point in the live has bought, worn or come in contact with a pair of heels whether in the traditional or modern form. I am here to let you know this staple shoe like most fashion pieces did not start with today’s intended use in mind. The heel started as a male shoe and at that time did not have a variation between left or right foot.
Some say it’s of military origin but I have yet to find concrete facts to neither agree or disagree; but the story goes that  men used the shoe to hold stirrups. However, like I said that is still debatable.

But, what is true is that, the first pair of shoes we know of were called chopines. These particular starter heels were some type of platform wooden overshoe that lifted the the wearers feet above the muck on the streets. In the early 18th century, streets were not yet paved and that meant, mud, trash and some not so pleasant human waste. Yes, we did that! So, if you wanted to keep tidy especially shoes, something was needed to keep you above the waste.

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Most individuals who could afford it of course had two sets of shoes- an indoor shoe and an outdoor to avoid the  track the obvious into their homes.

As usual with fashion there seems to always be a need to differentiate social class/status. At the end of the 18th century heels roughly 3-4 inches high and towards the end of the century lower and chunkier heels gained popularity. We are experiencing the re-accurancy of the low & chunky heel today, they are amongst springs trendy pieces.

Even then typically those with the chunkier shoe, were those of the lower class and the smaller/thinnier heel showed that they were of such high status that they didn’t need to walk to far as they could either be carried or driven.

In early periods, nobles and/ or the wealthy class wore galoshes, a protective overshoe which often elevated them several inches above ground above both the muck of the streets and those of the lower working class. Japanese versions of these called “getas” are often protraited in films; ranging anywhere from 10 to 12 inches high. These often worn by nobles to raise themselves above common people.

Though are streets are cleaner but the heel continues to remain an object of class differentiate. While heels are accessible to every woman worldwide but though heels that are higher and thinner are typically created with the wearer of a higher class in mind. These wearers, rare walk far distances in heels; its either walking up to get in a car or getting out of one so, rarely do they feel the strain put on the feet by wearing a 6 inch stiletto.

As with any item in fashion, there is a practical application and very often a connect to social status. fashion is rarely just pretty prints and construction.

Love to hear your thoughts on heels, why you wear or don’t wear them? Did you learn something new?

Thanks for stopping by!


Peace, love and Great Coffee!

Nathalie

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