March 30, 2023

The history of high heels

By Victoria Cirigliano
The history of high heels

High heels are a fashion staple for many women today, but did you know that they have a rich and fascinating history? From ancient Egypt to modern-day runways, high heels have been worn by both men and women for centuries. Let us tell you a little bit more about them!

Ancient Times 

The first recorded instance of high heels dates back to ancient Egypt, where both men and women wore heeled sandals. These were typically made of leather and featured elevated soles that protected the feet from the hot sand. In ancient Greece, actors wore platform shoes with high heels to make them appear taller on stage. Meanwhile, wealthy citizens wore high heels as a status symbol.

A sign of wealth 

High heels experienced a resurgence in popularity during the Renaissance period in Europe. It was during this time that the first true high heel as we know it today was created. These shoes, known as “chopines”, featured extremely high platforms that were often decorated with jewels or embroidery. Chopines were popular among wealthy women in Italy and Spain.

chopines shoes
Chopines, Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Did you know? In the 16th century, high-heeled boots were worn by men to show off their high social status and wealth. These boots were often highly decorated with intricate embroidery and were designed to draw attention to the wearer's legs.

By the 18th century, high heels had become a symbol of femininity, and women's shoes began to feature thinner, more delicate heels. High heels continued to evolve throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, with new materials such as rubber and plastic being used to make shoes more practical and comfortable. 

Razor sharp shoes

Stilettos first came into fashion in the 1950s, during a time when women's fashion was becoming more glamorous and feminine. The term "stiletto" is derived from the Italian word for a thin blade or knife, and refers to the long, slender heels that characterize this type of shoe.

The stiletto heel was first introduced by Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo in the late 1940s, and quickly gained popularity among Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. By the 1950s, stilettos had become a symbol of glamour and sex appeal, and were often paired with form-fitting dresses and pencil skirts.

marilyn monroe pumps

Marilyn Monroe wearing Salvatore Ferragamo stilettos. 

The rise of the Go-Go boot

In the 1960s and 70s, high heel boots became a symbol of the women's liberation movement, with many women embracing them as a way to express their independence and confidence. The so-called “Go-Go boots" were often paired with miniskirts, mod dresses, and other brightly colored or patterned clothing. Go-go boots were also commonly worn by dancers and performers, especially those in the music industry.

gogo boots

Our Kirby boots are inspired by 1960s high-heeled boots. 

Today, high heels are a staple of women's fashion, and come in a wide range of styles and heights. Thankfully, shoe design has come a long way from the ancient Egyptians, and high heels can be extremely comfortable and come in tons of different styles. At Vicson we are incredibly proud of designing with comfort in mind. You can check out our heel collection here, on our website!