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High Heels For Men: Vive La Revolution!

Updated on April 13, 2013

Interesting Semi Relevant Historical Fact

Although Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were married in 1770 when Louis XVI was fifteen years old, the marriage was not consummated until 1773 when he was 18 years old, and due to "clumsiness and ignorance" it was another four years before the couple were able to successfully conceive, not due to any physiological trouble, but due to the fact that neither of them knew what they were doing. A visit from Marie Antoinette's brother in 1977 where he explained the ways of the birds and the bees to the unfortunate couple, resulted in their first child being born in 1978, and three more following thereafter.

Ever wondered how it came to be that women cornered high heels for themselves and left men out in a sea of flat shoes with only the occasional fancy riding boot to tide them over? Americans and British will be pleased to know that this is another thing that they can blame the French for, but they're also going to have to give them credit for the existence of the high heel at all.

High heels first came into existence around the year 1500 where they were invented for the rather practical cause of ensuring that rider's heels did not slip out of their stirrups when they were bounding along at a gallop. This very practical use

The style caught on amongst French male aristocracy, who would often ride, and quite liked the feeling of being elevated above their normal stature. Slowly but surely heels became higher and higher, and it is said that by the time the end of the sixteenth century rolled around, men's shoes quite often sported heel heights of between three and four inches.

These high heels were all the rage in the French court, and the height of one's heel soon came to be associated with one's status and power. The expression "well heeled" is said to have originated from this period in history. If France's monarchy had remained stable it is quite possible that today both men and women would wander the streets of the world's cities in fabulous high heeled creations.

Unfortunately for Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and a large portion of French Aristocracy, the French Revolution occurred in 1789, and put paid to the pretty ways of the French Court. It was not at all a good idea to be seen as being in any way aristocratic, and high heels quickly fell out of fashion. As charming as they were, they were not worth risking one's neck for.

Today most 'men's' high heels are to be found in riding boots, or the occasional cuban high heel, whilst 'women's' styles are much more plentiful and versatile running the gamut from stiletto, to wedge, to blade, and everything in between.

Of course, there is absolutely no law that states that men can't wear styles categorized in the women's category, and given the beauty and gorgeous design of many 'women's' high heeled shoes, why wouldn't they? Cowboy boots can only get a guy so far, and once he steps in off the range, why, there's no reason why he shouldn't step into some stilettos for the evening.

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      bman 5 years ago

      It's a shame when society judges anyone, male or female, based on their clothing and shoes. But it's not surprising since some of us still judge people based on race, ethnic background, sexual preference, etc. It's time to accept everyone without prejudice, down to and including their choice of shoes. If men want to wear stilettoes or cowboy boots with very high heels, then they should simply be accepted. It's the person's individual decision. They're accepting the good and bad sides of this decision. So let them do it and stop judging them. I really can't wear women's shoes, but I totally enjoy wearing cowboy boots with 6 inch heels, both at home and out in public. It is accepted by most people so maybe there's hope yet.

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      Jerry 8 years ago

      I take my freedom to wear heels, but only to a limit unfortunately. I won't buy mens shoes anymore. Go as high as can, yesterday I wore 3" shoes to work. They are styled like cowboy boots, but they're not boots. I have much higher shoes and boots at home, but I wouldn't be comfortable to wear them out. Things can change if we change them. Remember the '70s anyone? I wish I would had taken advantage of high heel styles then. In the mean time, wear the highest that you dare to, and don't by mens shoes again!

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      Rich 8 years ago

      I so agree, men should have the freedom to wear the shoes and clothes that they feel comfortable in. I know if it were up to me, I would wear heels much of the time. Nothing would be better than a date with the wife wearing matching black high heel boots.

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      Steve 9 years ago

      Men wearing high heels can look really stylish. Lots of guys would really like to wear heels and other syles of clothes that society rules are for women only. Conventional mens clothes are so boring and we are forced by society, telling us what is acccepatable or not, to wear shirts, trousers and flat shoes for our entire life - how boring is that! Whereas women can wear absolutly anything they want (including mens clothes)and nobody thinks they are weird or calls them names! It really is unfair to men - why shouldn't we be able to wear heels, skirts and anything else.

    • Histiletto profile image

      Histiletto 9 years ago

      Society needs this reminder. The idea of men and women wearing high heels together has a ring of fairness and equality that just seems right. Should either not want to wear high heels, they should also have that choice.

      History may have liberated the French revolutionaries, but they helped to construe society's attitude towards the needs men have in the right to choose for themselves the things they desired for their personal adornment, like the wearing of high heels. This social confinement has made people think of men in the wrong light should they act upon their desire that has been deemed unavailable for their use. This misunderstanding has also provided the ground work for other social prejudices for people to think their life has an alternative nature, when actually they are just wanting to be who they are.

    • profile image

      billyb 10 years ago

      Hope

      Another great post as usual and yes after a day in my real cowboy boots from riding my horses or my Harley I would love noting better than to slip on a pair of stilettos for an evening out with my wife who is wearing her heels.

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