“The high heel was worn for centuries throughout the near East as a form of riding footwear,” according to Elizabeth Semmelhack of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Good horsemanship was also essential to the fighting styles of Persia, the historical name for modern day Iran. “When the soldier stood up in a stirrups the heel helped him to secure his stance so that he could shoot his bow and arrow more effectively,” says Semmelhack. At the end of the 16th Century, it is Persia’s Shah Abbas I who had the largest cavalry in the world. He was keen to forge links with rulers in Western Europe to help him defeat the enemy Ottoman Empire.
Image captionSo in 1599, Abbas sent first Persian diplomatic mission to Europe it called on the courts of Russia, Germany and Spain. A wave of interest in all things Persian also passed through Western Europe. Persian style shoes were enthusiastically adopted by the aristocrats, who sought to give their appearance a virile, masculine edge, it suddenly seems heeled shoes supplied.Image caption of he wearing of heels filtered into the lower ranks of society, so aristocracy responded by dramatically increasing the height of their shoes and the high heel was born. In muddy, rutted streets of 17th Century Europe, the new shoes had no utility value whatsoever as that was the whole point. One of the best ways a person’s status can be conveyed is through impracticality, as stated by Semmelhack, adding upper classes used impractical uncomfortable and luxurious clothing to announce also the privileged status. “They are not in fields working so do not have to walk far.”When it comes to history’s most notable shoe collectors, the Imelda Marcos of his day was arguably Louis XIV of France. For a great king, rather so diminutively proportioned at only 5ft 4in (1.63m) he supplemented his stature by a further 4in (10cm) with heels, often elaborately decorated by depictions of battle scenes. The heels and soles were always red the dye was expensive and carried a martial overtone. The fashion also soon spread overseas. During Charles II of England’s coronation portrait of 1661 features him wearing a pair of enormous red, French style heels although he was over 6ft or (1.85m) to begin with. In the 1670s, Louis XIV issued an edict that only members of his court were allowed to wear red heels. In theory, all anyone in French society had to do to check whether someone was in favour with the king was by glancing downwards. The popular saying if you want to know what a person constitues look at their shoes because shoes tell a lot about people. However, in practice, unauthorised, imitation heels available made it possible for people to copy the fashion style by all classes.Although Europeans were first attracted to heels because the Persian connection gave them macho air a craze in women’s fashion for adopting elements of men’s dress meant their use also soon spread to women and children. “In the 1630s women started cutting their hair, adding epaulettes to outfits,” says Semmelhack. “They would smoke pipes, they would wear hats that was very masculine. And this is why women adopted heels. It was in an effort to masculinise their outfits.” From that time, Europe’s upper classes followed a unisex shoe fashion until the end of the 17th Century, when things began to change again.”You start seeing a change in the heel at this point,” says Helen Persson, a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. “Men started to have a squarer, more robust, lower stacky heel, while women’s heels became more slender and curvaceous.”The toes of women’s shoes were often tapered so that when the tips appeared from her skirts, wearer’s feet appeared to be small and dainty. Fast forward a few more years and the intellectual movement that came to be known as the Enlightenment brought with it a new respect for the rational and useful and an emphasis on education rather than privilege. Men’s fashion shifted towards more practical clothing. In England, aristocrats began to wear simplified clothes that were linked to their work managing country estates. It was the beginning of what has been called the Great Male Renunciation, which would see men abandon wearing of jewellery, bright colours and ostentatious fabrics in favour of a dark, more sober, and homogeneous look. Men’s clothing no longer operated so clearly as a signifier of social class, while these boundaries were being blurred, the differences also between the gender sexes became more androgenous and more pronounced. So continued in conversations like men are from Mars and women from Venus. In the real life living history of Kinky Boots men reclaim the high heels especially by creating new fashion high heel boots to adapt to save in restoring good success of a company struggling about fold up.“There begins also discussion about how men, regardless of station, of birth, if educated could become citizens,” says Semmelhack. “The women, in contrast, were seen as emotional, sentimental and uneducatable. Female desirability begins to be constructed in terms of irrational fashion and the high heel once separated from its original function of horseback riding becomes the primary example of impractical dress.” High heels were seen as foolish or effeminate. By 1740 men had stopped wearing them altogether. It was in 50 years before they disappeared from women’s feet too, falling out of favour after the French Revolution. By the time heels came back into fashion, in the mid-19th Century, photography was transforming the way fashions and the female self-image were constructed.Pornographers were among the first to embrace the new technology, by taking pictures of naked women used for dirty postcards, positioning models in poses that resembled classical nudes, but let them wear modern-day high heels. So Semmelhack, the author of ‘Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe,’ believes association with pornography led to high heels being seen as an erotic adornment for women. Image caption of The 1960s saw also return of low heeled cowboy boots for men and some dandies strutted their stuff in platform shoes in 1970s. So the era of men walking around on their toes seems to be behind us. Can society ever return to era of guys squeezing their big hairy feet into 4inch, shiny, brightly coloured high heels?”Absolutely,” says Semmelhack. There is no reason, she believes, why the high heel cannot continue to be ascribed new meanings although may wait for the true gender equality first. “If signifier of actual power, then men will be as willing to wear it as women.”
Exodus 3:5Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
From Thematic Bible
Shoes »John 10:10
Luke 15:22“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;
Song of Songs 7:1“How beautiful are your feet in sandals,prince’s daughter! The curves of your hips are like jewels, The work of the hands of an artist.
Shoes » The jews » Never wore, in mourning
2 Samuel 15:30 And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head went up weeping as they went.
Isaiah 20:2-3 at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go and loosen the sackcloth from your hips and take your shoes off your feet ” And he did so, going naked and barefoot. And the LORD said, “Even as My servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot three years as a sign and token against Egypt and Cush,
Jeremiah 2:25 “Keep your feet from being unshod And your throat from thirst; But you said, ‘It is hopeless! No! For I have loved strangers, And after them I will walk.’
Isaiah 47:2 “Take the millstones and grind meal Remove your veil, strip off the skirt, Uncover leg, cross the rivers.
Psalm 108 “Moab is My washbowl; Over Edom I shall throw My shoe; Over Philistia I will shout aloud.”
Joshua 5:15 The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Exodus 3:5 Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
Shoes » Worn out by a long journey
Joshua 9:13“These wineskins which we filled were new, and behold, they are torn; and these our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey.”
Joshua 9:5 and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbled.
Acts 12 And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”
Song of Songs 7:1 “How beautiful are your feet in sandals, prince’s daughter! The curves of your hips are like jewels, The work of the hands of an artist.
Shoes » Customs connected with » A man who refused to marry a deceased brother’s wife disgrace pulling off his shoes
Deuteronomy 25:9-10 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, ‘Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ “In Israel his name shall be called, ‘The house of him whose sandal is removed.’
Shoes » Called sandals
Acts 12:8 And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. He said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”
Shoes » Often given as bribes
Amos 8:6 So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?”
Deuteronomy 33:25 Soles will be iron and bronze, And according to your days, so will your leisurely walk be.
Deuteronomy 29:5“I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot.
Shoes » Illustrative » Of the preparation of the gospel
Ezekiel 16:10 “I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk.
Shoes » Early use
Genesis 14:23 I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’
Shoes » The jews » Put on, before beginning a journey
Exodus 12:11 ‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste–it is the LORD’S Passover.
Matthew 3:1B“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Isaiah 3:18 In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments,
1 Kings 2:5 “Now you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed; he also shed the blood of war in peace. And he put the blood of war on his belt about his waist, and on his sandals on his feet.
Shoes » Customs connected with »The right of redemption resigned by a man’s giving one of his shoes to the next of kin
Ruth 4:7-8 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. So the closest relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” Removed his sandal.
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