Exploring The History Of Men Wearing Heels

Are heels meant for men or women? Does it even matter? Discover the history of high heels and how they are deeply rooted in our past.

The fashion industry has changed a lot over the years, and so have people’s views on gender-specific clothing and footwear.

Did you know that this isn’t just a modern trend? It’s been around for centuries. Men have been wearing skirts and heels since ancient times. Interested? Keep reading to learn more.

READ ALSO: Eau De Amour: 7 Must-Try Fragrances For Men In 2024

King Louis XIV

King Louis XIV/Photo via Wikimedia Commons

According to the Times of India, heels first appeared in 10th-century Persia. 

Male soldiers wore heels to keep their feet steady in the loops on a saddle and get better control in fights. Heels came to symbolize power and military strength and also became a sign of wealth, as only the rich could afford horses. 

This symbolism appeared in France in the 1600s during the reign of King Louis XIV. He used footwear to show both class and favoritism. 

In 1670, he decreed that only nobles could wear heels, and only his favorite courtiers could wear red heels, his chosen color.

Cowboy Boots

According to the BBC, American men began wearing low-heeled cowboy boots, and some stylish men even wore platform shoes. Cowboy boots became essential for staying balanced while riding long distances on horseback.

Beatle Boots

During the Beatles’ heyday, they popularized a style of boots known as “Beatle Boots,” which were an early version of Chelsea boots, among men. 

Following their lead, rock-and-roll bands like Kiss and artists like David Bowie embraced even more extravagant variations of these boots.

David Bowie

Luxuo reported that David Bowie wore bold platforms, stilettos, and high heels—footwear typically seen as women’s fashion at that time. 

Communities like drag queens and ballroom culture had already accepted men wearing heels and feminine outfits. Bowie’s style brought gender-defying fashion into the mainstream.

Platform Heels

Platform heels are back in style, with brands like Rick Owens and Marc Jacobs offering a variety of designs. 

Thom Browne Spring/Summer 2018/Photo via Thom Browne’s official website

Designers are mixing men’s and women’s fashion, blurring the lines between genders. High heels, more extravagant than a simple black Chelsea boot, are now more common for men.

Stepping Forward

Just as clothing is becoming less linked to gender identity and sexuality, the idea of heels as exclusively for women is changing. 

Men are now seen wearing skirts on red carpets and magazine covers, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t rock a nice pair of heels too.

Embracing these shifts in fashion is about embracing individuality and celebrating diversity. 

As the world progresses, so should our openness to new ideas and expressions. So, if you’re comfortable with who you are, a couple of heels shouldn’t hurt.

Banner photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Shop for LIFESTYLE ASIA’S magazines through these platforms.
Download LIFESTYLE ASIA’s digital magazines from:
Subscribe via [email protected]