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High Heels a Manly Attribute Once, But Not Anymore

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by WGordon (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer who is currently employed at
Published September 8th 2013
In modern-day society high heels express glamour and girlishness. They are dainty and tender nothing close to being masculine. However, high heels used to be something different. They were one of the most essential accessory for a man in ancient times.
high heels, men, man
Courtesy of JCC

High heels are provocative and sexy, no man can say no to that. But even the most enthusiastic among ladies can't hide that the high heels are the most impractical shoes ever made. They tend to stuck everywhere. Women in high heels should not walk on grass, mud (I'm not sure that if you wear high heels you will have to get in a mud pit, but anyway... who knows?), ice or cobbled or paved streets. Can you imagine wearing those in a normal daily situation, like carpet cleaning? Not impossible but definitely inadvisable. Not for a man though.The high heels are impractical and they can also be a real torture. If you don't take my word for it then check this video. So if we sum it up, they are uncomfortable and can be worn only on a limited types of floors. Like they weren't made for walking.

And originally, they were not.

Grab the popcorn and prepare for a history lesson. First invented in ancient Iran, or then Persia, high heels were the best form of footwear for riding a horse for hundreds of years. Horsemanship was very important in battles and wars. A good fighting style could make the difference between life and death. A soldier used his heels to secure his stance, when he stood up in his saddle, so he could aim easier his bow and shoot the arrows more precisely. In 1599, Persia's ruler Shah Abbasthe first wanted to ally with Western Europe in order to defeat his great enemy The Ottoman Empire. Although he had one of the biggest forces the world has ever seen until then, he couldn't cope with the Ottoman Empire.

So in his try Shah Abbas sent his diplomats in a mission to Europe. What was really interesting for the European aristocrats were the heels the Persian soldiers wore. The heels added tough, masculine look to the aristocrats' style. Unfortunately for them the lower ranks of ordinary people also started wearing heels, which later led to increase of the height of the heels. This is how high heels were born. These were just as impractical as they are now, especially in the muddy streets of 17th century Paris or London but that was really their purpose. Impracticability along uncomfortable and luxurious styles were the main way to show a higher social rank on the streets at that time.
high heels, man, louis xiv
Louis XIV
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Even though many things have changed and men and high heels are not compatible anymore, this type of shoes' purpose is still to impress other people, even though they can cause agony and pain not only by being uncomfortable but with their price as well.
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