High heel dating
One visitor noted that they were “invented by husbands who hoped the cumbersome movement [that] entailed would make illicit liaisons difficult” (Mc Dowell 1989).Already we can see issues of domination and submission being associated with shoes much like the lotus shoes of China.
But there are also some depictions of both upper-class males and females wearing heels, probably for ceremonial purposes.Egyptian butchers also wore heels, to help them walk above the blood of dead beasts.In ancient Greece and Rome, platform sandals called kothorni, later known as buskins in the Renaissance, were shoes with high wood or cork soles that were popular particularly among actors who would wear shoes of different heights to indicated varying social status or importance of characters.Formal Invention of High Heels as Fashion The formal invention of high heels as fashion is typically attributed to the rather short-statured Catherine de Medici (1519-1589).At the age of 14, Catherine de Medici was engaged to the powerful Duke of Orleans, later the King of France.Pattens would attach to fragile and expensive shoes to keep them out of the mud and other street “debris” when walking outdoors (Swann 1984).
In the 1400s, chopines, or platform shoes, were created in Turkey and were popular throughout Europe until the mid-1600s.
Indeed, Chinese concubines and Turkish odalisques wore high shoes, prompting scholars to speculate if heels were used not only for aesthetic reasons but also to prevent women from escaping the harem (Kunzle 2004).
Shoes were beginning to be made in two pieces during the 1500s, with a flexible upper attached to a heavier, stiffer sole (Swann 1984).
Standing in heels, a woman presents herself already half-walking while at the same time reducing the length of her step, fostering the illusion of speed while suggesting the promise of an imminent fall.
The higher and more unstable the heel, the more clearly these contradictions are expressed (Kunzle 2004).
No other shoe, however, has gestured toward leisure, sexuality, and sophistication as much as the high-heeled shoe.