© Copyright 2018 Kaitlin Seepersaud, Ryerson University.
When you look at the transformation of shoes, it ranges based on the different types and forms. For example, there are the flat shoes, known to be sandals and slippers, sneakers, which are used for everyday use or active wear, thus leading up to high heels, that can be worn for formal events and parties. The evolution of shoes has become part of pop culture, especially with high heel shoes, as people continue to wear them throughout their daily lives.
Shoes have been around for a long period of time. The history of high heel shoes dates back to 3500 B.C. They were and are still worn by both men and women but for men, they are considered as just heels. The first pair of high heels that became part of fashion was in 1533 when a young bride was not tall enough to match her royal husband. She struggled to get his attention so with the invention of high heels, it gave her the spotlight she desired and made her feel attractive. With this creation, it symbolized importance, beauty, exoticness, and authority. It gave people, particularly women, a sense of confidence and calmness when worn. Anyone who owned a pair would be classified as belonging to the upper class and had power over others, thus reflecting on the division of people in society.
If you look at the function of shoes, it was created to cover one’s feet from harsh objects on the ground and make it easier for people to walk. The reasons for high heel shoes are to provide support for the heel on one’s foot and to add height to a person’s structure in order to be seen. Within society today, the meaning of high heels have grown for women because they love the extra height and the powerful feeling it gives them while wearing it. However, it also alters the conception of an individual, portraying women as powerful figures and being idolized in fashion.
High heel shoes are classified as part of fashion because they contribute to a person’s appearance. There are different techniques and designs on creating these shoes and because it has become common for a woman to own a pair or more, people feel it’s necessary to build on the ideas that already exist. The popularity of high heel shoes has escalated and with the advance of technology, fashion designers are finding more creative ways to design these shoes in terms of shape, size, color, and comfort. Even though they are difficult to walk in for some and provide discomfort, people are still consumed with buying them in order to be included in the latest trends.
As a result, it depends on the occupation of an individual that people wear high heels for such as, office jobs, lawyers, doctors, businessmen and women, etc. People mainly wear high heel shoes for professionally related jobs because they reflect higher authority and importance but in the end, aren’t high heels just shoes? No one truly knows why society has made a statement about these shoes because they are only objects.
Elkins, James. How to Use Your Eyes. Routledge, 2009, https://www.academia.edu/5544904/How_to_Use_Your_Eyes.
Pitakwongroj, Chayanit, and Napat Nutchanart. “Origins of high heels.” History of High Heels, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, 2012, history-of-heels.weebly.com/origins-of-high-heels.html.
Seepersaud, Kaitlin. “Figure 1. High Heels” February 11, 2018. Personal Collection.
Seepersaud, Kaitlin. “Figure 2. High Heels” February 11, 2018. Personal Collection.
Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.