Saturday, May 25, 2019

High Heels Fit for a King

Style for men under the Stuarts included shoes and boots with high heels. From The Royal Collection Trust:
The high heel originated in the near east where it was worn for centuries as a form of riding footwear. Good horsemanship was essential to the fighting style of Persia (modern day Iran) - when the soldier stood up in his stirrups, the heel helped him to steady his stance so that he could shoot his bow and arrow more effectively. In 1599, Persia's ruler Shah Abbas I, keen to forge links with the courts of Western Europe to help him defeat the Ottoman Empire, sent the first Persian diplomatic mission to Europe, calling at the courts of Russia, Germany and Spain.

Following the Shah's diplomatic mission, there was a wave of interest in Persian culture from Western Europe. Persian style shoes were enthusiastically adopted by aristocrats, who sought to give their appearance a virile, masculine edge associated with the heeled shoes of the Persian cavalry.
In the first half of the 17th century, high heeled shoes for men took the form of heeled riding or Cavalier boots as worn by Charles I. As the wearing of heels filtered into the lower ranks of society, the aristocracy responded by dramatically increasing the height of their shoes. High heels were impractical for undertaking manual labour or walking long distances, and therefore announced the privileged status of the wearer. (Read more.)

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