The History of Shoes - Heels

The shoes which stand for women’s fashion and exudes femininity today started as royal men’s style staple in 17’th century Europe. Heels are talked in 90’s pop culture as icons of feminism, in recent times as anti-feminist – with celebrities supporting #NoHeels and walking barefoot over the red carpet. The journey of heels has been exciting and like no other shoe style. From exclusion to inclusion between gender clothing – it has evolved in style, designs and materials. There have been people who influenced the style and popularity: from Louis XIV to Lady Gaga: it has provided room to express and experiment and in this age of democracy, while we enjoy our rights, let’s consider ourselves a bit lucky for we can treat ourselves with all sorts we like.

Only for ‘me’

When in 1673, King Louis XIV introduced shoes with red heels and red, order was passed to bar wearing of such styles by men outside of his noble circles. The striking, heavily decorated and artistic footwear quickly gained popularity amongst the royalty and became highly fashionable. The trick used in making high heeled shoe was a work of skilled craftsmen – which the nobles and riches would take service of. The color identified and separated the privileged from masses and was next, copied by aspirants. The fashion trickled down.

Types of Heels and their evolution since last century

Heels have evolved greatly in the last century but some styles continue to be iconic and have a permanent place in fashion cycles. At the start of the 20’th century, women wore pumps with elongated toes and thicker heels. Detailing came through bows at the toes – they got elongated and stylized. The 1950s, was when stilettos took off and white pumps worn by Joan Collins became a hit and even today, summer style boards have white heels as major style. Next came, Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and kitten heels became an instant hit. The ’70s were a star-studded affair with big studs and platforms making waves. Pumps and stilettos garnered Hollywood’s attention.


Towards the end of the millennia, as more women entered the workforce in positions of power – shoes meant business, lower heel height kitten heels again were in limelight. The 2000s saw the rise of Pop icons who made high heels, laced up stilettos and strappy heels the new normal and brought a revolution in acceptance of styles which would be in generally regarded avant-garde. Today, heels have found places in boots, thong sandals, sneakers and active shoe-styles. Currently, chunky soles and flatforms are marking their arrival from fashion weeks to streets. Block heels are a major trend that we see reviving as 2020 unfolds. With a lot of talk going around climate change and people being aware, a lot of focus is not getting into what exactly goes inside making fashion products – Wooden clogs, Raffia, Jute, Canvas and textiles, cruelty-free Leather and Suedes are fresh releases in terms of material from major brands across fashion weeks.


Heeled shoes are well-received styles in women’s fashion fold – they have stood for feminine movements, in juxtaposing ways. They have become symbols of expression and mannerisms of emerging feminist and fashion movements. Heels definitely continue to gather fans and followers and may look for more moments that make a mark in history of shoes.

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