History of Pumps/Court Shoes

One of the most popular female high heel shoes of modern time went through long and interesting journey through the ages of our history. Even though many people today know this cheap, easy to make and pleasant to wear shoe under the name of Pumps, they were originally created for much more different purpose, and were at one time so expensive and coveted that they became synonym for wealth, political position and power.

High Heel Shoes Origins

Elevated footwear made its first impact onto our lives in ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, where they slowly moved from top positions in Egypt ruling class, to the Greece middle class citizen (most famously actors in their open theaters) to the Rome where they were commonly used by many (while wealthy had their own models, heeled shoes were most commonly associated with female prostitute slaves who were legally showcased on the streets of their cities).

The true precursors the Pumps/Court Shoe came from the medieval fashion traditions of the wealthy class of rulers and politicians in Renaissance countries (Italy, France, Spain, England, and others). After extremely high heeled pattens and chopines, fashion soon settled on the more usable and walking friendly court shoes (at one point of history, pattens and chopines were so big that wearer had to use help of the servants to walk in them). As the popularity of high end court shoes rose and rose, they become ever more connected with the power and wealth. During the reign of French King Louis XIV, he demanded that no one may enter his court without wearing red colored high heels. Men of high class particulary loved to use court shoes during horseback riding, because of their excellent ability to be secured in the stirrup even in high speeds.

Memories of those days remain engraved into popular culture even after French Revolution brought down French ruling class and widespread fashion ban on high heeled shoes came into the effect. After few decades of focusing on flat soled shoes, female population of Europe resurrected Court Shoes and from that point on they became permanent item in the worldwide fashion. Because they are light and don’t require straps to secure the leg, they are very popular in both female and some parts of male population (even today, males wear “Opera shoes” or “Dancing shoes” that are made in Court Shoe design).