It is far easier for a woman to enhance her looks than for a man. If she wants to show her eyes off, there are eyeshadows and mascara. Lipstick can make her lips look more appealing, and blusher will make her look healthier. If a woman has a nasty pimple there are concealers, and if she wants to make her legs look longer she dons a pair of high heels. Way back in history, it was quite normal for men to wear makeup and shoes that were not flat, but somewhere along the way, it became frowned upon.
It does cause less of a fuss these days with stars like Justin Bieber, Rob Lowe, Jared Leto, and Zac Efron all admitting to using makeup. Then there are the men that go to the extremes, and rather than use just a small amount to make them feel better, extroverts like Eddy Izzard wear just as much makeup as a woman would. Of course, there is nothing wrong with men wearing makeup or high heels, but since the 18th century until a few years ago, generally, they were the domain of women.
The shoes that are considered to be high heels for men are different to the women’s high heels like these that are available. Often, women’s high heels are the slender stilettos, and even if they are more of a block high heel, they often have several inches of height to them.
High heels for men tend to be known as a Cuban heel. This is the same shape as the original heel of the shoe but is often a couple of inches high. With many famous men now wearing shoes with some height, it is fast becoming a fashion trend for the men’s shoe industry.
Whether the wearer is male or female though, if they are a bit on the short side, high heels can make them appear taller, which can boost their confidence.
High Heels Were Invented For Men
As far back as the 10th century, there were some cultures where the men wore quite high heels when riding horses. This was because it gave stability to their feet in the stirrups, this being the reason for cowboy boots having heels. When the Persian cavalry wore high heels, the fashion spread to Europe. As it was generally the horse owners that wore them, high heels became associated with the wealthy. By the 17th century, upper-class women had started wearing them when riding as well. Soon after this, they became a fashion item worn by both men and women. Even a painting of the King of France from that time shows him wearing bright red high-heeled shoes.
After a while, differences started to appear between high heels for men and high heels for women. The men’s heels became broad and sturdy whereas women’s heels grew slenderer and tapered, giving rise eventually to the stiletto. Just as they had been the first to wear them, men were also the first to stop wearing them and they became a shoe just for women. Towards the end of the 18th century, they fell out of favour for women as well. It is thought the French Revolution was instrumental in this, as they were seen as just another frivolous thing the gentry spent their money on.
The Re-emergence Of High Heels
The camera had a lot to do with the re-emergence of high heels. When models started posing for photographs, long slim heels to make their legs look their best became very popular, and certainly, in most pin-up pictures, the model would be wearing high heels. Eventually, they made their way out of photography into the shops, but then came the challenge of making them comfortable to wear.
High heels can give rise to pain in your feet, particularly if you have to stand in them for a long time. Over the years, many different shoe designers have tried to get around this problem, but there has not been anyone that has been 100% successful. They will make your feet ache after a while, but when worn as a fashion accessory for an event of some sort, high heels can make an outfit look classier.
There are some heels that are not quite so high that are wearable all day, but a 2-inch heel does not have the same aesthetic appeal of a 4 or 5-inch stiletto. There are also some shoes which have a large platform on the sole of the shoe too, and this can make the heel appear larger than it really is.
Next time you are out buying high heel shoes, spare a thought for the poor men that can only buy shoes with thicker heels. Although, to be honest, walking in stilettos is an art all of its own, and one that many men would probably not be able to manage.