The special relationship between a woman and her shoes is one that continues to mystify both men and others who do not possess the same passion for stylish footwear. High-heeled shoes are a particular favorite as they create the illusion of height and length in the legs, both of which are things that contribute to the modern concept of physical beauty. What many of us do not know is that the notion of high-heeled shoes was actually derived from platform heels. They were worn as early as 3500 B.C. in ancient Egypt by both men and women who belonged to affluent families. It is also interesting to note that high-heeled shoes were worn not only for their aesthetic quality but also for functional reasons. For instance, butchers would wear high-heeled shoes to prevent their feet from touching the blood of dead animals on the floor.
In the Middle Ages, platform shoes called chopines were first made in Turkey and they featured spectacularly high heels that measured anywhere from seven to thirty inches high. As a result, women needed the aid of a cane or another person to be able to walk properly. Despite the extreme discomfort of wearing this sky-high footwear, women endured it, as they were symbols of high status. High-heels officially became a fashion statement during the 1500s when Catherine de Medici started wearing them to increase her petite stature.
Platform heels, on the other hand, are most well known as a staple of women’s (and occasionally, men’s) fashion in the 1970s. They went really well with wide leg pants and bell-bottoms, which were also fads of that era. Films like Saturday Night Fever and rock bands like Fleetwood Mac provided glamour to platform shoes and soon enough, both men and women of all walks of life began sporting them. In 2009, platform heels made a strong comeback and overshadowed traditional high-heeled shoes for a few years because of the much higher level of comfort that it provides.
While solid-heeled shoes look more elegant that platform-heeled shoes, the latter is far more forgiving to the feet. Part of their popularity lies in the combination of height and comfort, created because the platform at the front part of the shoe lessens the arc that the foot is forced to create. Petite and curvy women favor these shoes because they elongate the legs and thereby provide the illusion of a slimmer figure.
What platform heels lack in elegance, they more than make up for in versatility. They are much more flexible than standard high-heeled shoes in terms of the range of looks with which they match. They can be worn during the day and at night, with a chic dress or a blouse and jeans. It is easier to balance on platform-heeled shoes because the ball and heel of the foot are standing on a less steep angle. Consequently, these shoes make for better casual footwear, which can be worn while running errands and activities. They are ideal footwear for today’s woman – fashionable, proactive and on the go.
Ella Mason, an experienced freelance writer, wrote this article. Ella specialises in providing useful and engaging advice to small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @ellatmason