From the years 1599 to 1740, high heels were the biggest fashion craze for European dudes. From royalty to peasant, everyone was dying to get their hands on a pair of shoes with a stacked heel, a style that today is only thought of as a woman's shoe. So why was it that kings, citizens, and anyone else who was trying to stay steezy crave the shoes that, back then, symbolized masculinity, power, and baller status?
Turns out that the high heel was a necessity for Persian soldiers, who fought on horseback. They used the heel to hook their feet into their stirrups, which allowed for more effective bow and arrow aim.
In order to defeat their Ottoman nemeses, the Persians sought to form an alliance with Western Europe. In 1599, Persian diplomatic mission visited the courts of Russia, Germany, and Spain. All of a sudden, anything Persian was a must-have for the most wealthy fashionistos of Europe, including their shoes with stacked heels. Once the common folk got wind of this new trend and started rocking high heels of their own, the royalty upped the ante and dropped stacks to increase the heel stack.
And if you're thinking that high heels wouldn't perform well in the cobbled, muddy, shit-strewn streets of 17th century Europe, you are correct, and that is exactly why the aristocrats rocked them so hard. By showing that they didn't even have to walk far distances, the rich were developing a form of antiquated stunting.
The reason why women began wearing high heels was actually due to a trend of wearing masculine clothing. The most fashionable women had a manly air, executed by smoking pipes, cutting their hair short, adding a military tinge to their clothes, and wearing high heels. Eventually, the high heel craze died out with the dudes, but it stuck around with the women. So next time you see a lady wobbling in crazy heels that look like torture devices, have some empathy, offer a hand, and whisper a thanks that it's not 1613.