Throughout history of clothes making, many civilizationstried to control the development of clothes trough social norms, laws and fashion. As an integral part of modern human attire, shoes went through turbulent periods of time where their usage was sometimes strictly controlled by law or religion, and sometimes free to advance unhindered by any obstacles. One of the most controversial and central pieces of footwear that went through such phases was without a doubt high-heeled shoes, whose popularity rise and fell several times between the times ancient Egyptian pharaohs walked the Earth until today when high-heeled shoes represent one of the most important ambassadors of femininity.
After millennia’s of walking barefoot, footwear slowly started spreading across the earliest civilizations of mankind sometimes around 3500 B.C. when Egyptian higher class started wearing simple leather shoes held together with the lacing that was arranged in the symbol of life called ankh. That tradition slowly spread across the later European civilization of Greece and Rome, where high heeled footwear slowly stared spreading from the high classes, actors (who wore high heeled Buskins with soles made from cork) down to the lower classes and eventually even slaves. In the Roman republic, slavery was legal and female prostitutes could be easily identified on the streets by the high heeled shoes they were wearing.
In middle ages, tradition of wearing high heeled shoes lived on trough pattens, wooden soles that were attached to the more carefully made leather or canvas shoes. In the beginning they played the task of protecting high class wearer of soiling his shoes or expensive clothes with mud and dirt in public areas, but soon pattens became so popular that the newly arrived fashion item called chopines arrived from Turkey into Italy, where it became integral part of high class female and male attire. The rest of the Europe hopped on in the high heel craze in 1533, when Catherine de' Medici, Italian bride of Henry II of France, came to Paris brining the Italian fashion with her.
As years went on, high shoes became definite status symbol of the European high class, but all of that came to the end after the end of the French Revolution when high-heeled shoes become almost banned because of their association with wealth. During almost entire 19th century, both males and females carried flat shoes and sandals, until the very end of 19th century when females finally started introducing high heels into their daily life. However, even that change of fashion was not permanent. Between First World War and end of 21st century, high heels came in and fell out from fashion several times. The most famous design of high heeled shoes came during 1950s with Stiletto heels, which revolutionized fashion in several waves of its popularity (1950s, 1980s and post-2000).
It is obvious that incredible appeal of high heels woman footwear will forever remain the part of our culture. They are part of a fashion, but also very popular sexual prop which emphasize female buttocks and breasts, showcases stockings which are often viewed as another erotic part of woman’s clothing.