Though it may seem hard to believe today, high-heeled shoes were first worn by men. Horseback-riding cultures in 10th century Mongolia wore heels because they helped keep the feet in the stirrups, which explains why cowboy boots still have heels. It also helped the rider secure their stance to be able to shoot a bow and arrow more efficiently. The Persian army wore one-inch heels when courting European aristocrats to help the Persians defeat the Ottoman Empire, spreading the trend to Europe. They came to be associated with the upper class because they showed that the person wearing them maintained and owned horses. Upper class women started wearing high heels, eventually becoming a form of upper and middle-class fashion in the 17th century. As the trend made its way to the lower classes, the aristocracy decided to dramatically increase the height of the shoe on both men and women, effectively inventing the high heel.
High heels were still not associated with gender at this point; Louis XIV wore heels to exemplify his masculinity. He was said to have a vast shoe collection, partly to supplement his short stature. His heels were often decorated with elaborate battle scenes carved on them. Heels were still quite manly at this point; in fact, women initially adopted them to look more masculine. Heels slowly began to become gendered in how they were designed. Men’s heels were more broad and sturdy and women’s were more narrow and decorative. By the 18th century, men decided they were impractical and they began to be known as a lady’s shoe. The French Revolution of 1789 saw the aristocracy and the fancy heeled shoes they wore go out of style, and men’s heels have yet to make a comeback.
It can be difficult to find high heels to wear if you are a man. You will probably have to look in the women’s sections to find them, but there are also online stores that cater specifically to men who want to wear high heels. It can also be difficult to walk in high heels if you haven’t done so before. Wedged high heels are the best shoes to start with because they are one solid platform from the high heel to the toe and the weight is spread out more evenly to help in balancing. From there, you can move on to stilettos or pumps, which have narrow heels that are more difficult to walk in.