Shoes – Historical High Heels

American Duchess

American Duchess

In looking for a pair of 17th century style shoes, I came across the website “All About Shoes” which details historical facts about shoes through various eras.

“Throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, heels were an indicator of wealth and status for both men and women. In France, the wearing of heels even became a regulated expression of political privilege. In the 17th century court of King Louis XIV (reign 1643-1715), only those granted access to his court were allowed to wear red coloured heels.”  (I wonder if this is where Louboutin got the idea for his red-soled shoes!)

“Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, King Louis XV (reign 1715-1774) also left his mark on high heel history. Although men began abandoning high heels by the 1730s, heels remained important in women’s fashion. During the reign of Louis XV, fashionable heels for women were curved through the waist and splayed at the base to increase stability. The French favoured a delicate interpretation of this style, while the English preferred heels that were a bit stouter.

This combination of graceful shape and sturdy construction was revived and revamped in the 1860s. Although christened the “Louis heel,” the later heel featured a much more dramatic curve where the heel met the shoe.

Increasing criticism of frivolous extravagance heralded the end of the aristocratic age. With revolution in the air, the upper classes throughout Europe and North America began to embrace the more modest aesthetic of the rising middle class.

Men had abandoned high heels by the middle of the 18th century and, throughout the last decades of the century, women’s heels became increasing lower. Sturdy heels were replaced by more delicate and thin heels and, by the 1790s, heels usually rose no higher than a few centimetres. 

After the French Revolution, heels quickly went out of style. By the early 1800s, flats were the fashion. High heels would not be seen again in Western fashion for another fifty years.”  

Official Website HERE 

SITE EN FRANCAIS

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6 thoughts on “Shoes – Historical High Heels

  1. stuffinthemiddle says:

    There are many men, myself included, who still enjoy wearing heels from time to time. What we wear should not be labelled “men’s” or “women’s”.

  2. Great website. I’m glad you stumbled across it.

  3. colormusing says:

    The history of shoes has fascinated me for a long time, and I still can’t quite wrap my brain around the idea of men wearing high heels.

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