High heels are shoes that have a heel immediately above the ball or the toe causing the wearer to raise their heels off the ground. The purpose of a high heel is to make a woman’s leg appear longer and sleeker, convey confidence and power, and accentuate a sexier gait in women.

High heels are a staple in a woman’s wardrobe. They can make you look feminine, sexy, and confident. But are high heels unisex?

Yes, high heels are unisex. High heels are not just for women even though they have been considered a feminine product for centuries. The most common assumptions about high heels are that they were invented as a fashion statement and that they are only worn by women. However, this is not the case. In fact, high heels were originally invented for men and were worn by both genders until the late 1800s when women started wearing them exclusively.

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What Gender Were High Heels For?

High heels first appeared in ancient Persia as early as 1,200 B.C., when nobles wore them to display their wealth. Heels were employed by male warriors riding horses to keep their feet in the suspenders and provide them with extra leverage during combat.

During the rule of King Louis XIV, footwear choices were based on preference and class. He decreed that only people of the noble class could wear heels. High heels, however, had lost favor with men in Europe by the time of the French Revolution. They were viewed as being overly feminine.

On the other hand, the cowboy who was arguably identifiable and characterized by his attire was revered as the pinnacle of masculinity and male pride in the United States as the American West started to draw in new settlers. For stability, while riding for long distances, most cowboy boots have an inverted circular heel known as a Cuban heel. Despite this, heels were still typically thought of as women’s shoes outside of the cowboy context. The heel wasn’t brought back into menswear until the 1960s when an early version of Chelsea boots became fashionable.

The Chelsea boot has recently attracted a lot of attention as it has made a comeback in men’s wardrobes. However, as designers continue to mix male and femininity, the strict gendered boundaries surrounding clothing and accessories have loosened. For men, higher, flashier heels than a plain, black Chelsea boot are more popular than in past decades.

As clothing becomes less connected to one’s gender identification and sexuality, the declassification of heels as “woman’s shoes” also continues to take place. There is no reason why men shouldn’t have a great pair of heels to go along with their outfits when they walk the red carpet and appear on magazine covers.

Why Did High Heels Become Feminine?

The high heel was originally a masculine shoe; a status symbol for both men and women. In fact, wealthy men often wore them with breeches and hoses in the 16th century. But in the 17th century, as dress codes began to change (and women were allowed to wear lower hemlines), footwear followed suit. Suddenly, it was more acceptable for women to show off their ankles, which meant that men also had to start wearing equally stylish shoes if they wanted to compete with women’s fashion statements.

So instead of just wearing heels for practical reasons like being taller or having better posture, as well as showing off their wealth, high heels became feminized through their association with ladylike behavior such as poise and gracefulness.

High heels also changed the way people walked. Although they had been worn by both genders since ancient times, they became increasingly associated with femininity when men began wearing them too. This was partly because of the way they altered the wearer’s gait; women who wore them tended to walk more gracefully.

Because they have been worn by women historically for a very long time, high heels are seen as feminine, just like skirts and dresses. It could possibly be that they serve little purpose as shoes and are only cosmetic. In other words, they are not warm, they offer no protection to the feet, and they are difficult to walk and run in, especially on any surface that is not exactly flat. Therefore, the only justification for wearing them is how they appear, which is something that women are more expected to do than males.

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Can Men Wear High Heels?

You may be wondering if men can wear high heels. They absolutely can, if they’re willing to look for a pair that’s made for men, and feel comfortable in them. After all, it takes more than just an Achilles tendon to make someone a heel wearer.

In some ways, though, it’s harder for men to get into high heels than women because there are fewer options available and no cultural history or tradition of wearing stilettos. But with practice and confidence (and maybe a little therapy), even the most masculine man can become comfortable in heels without sacrificing his masculinity.

It’s important to note that there are plenty of different types of high heels available for men today. We’re not just talking about pumps here; men can buy platform shoes, boots, and even sandals with higher heels than they’d ever find in women’s sizes.

Reasons Why Men Might Choose to Wear High Heels

1. Feminine appearance

High heels make men look more feminine and therefore more attractive. A lot of men like this aspect of wearing heels because it can boost their confidence and self-image by making them feel more attractive in general (even if they aren’t necessarily attracted to other men). For some people with gender identity issues, these effects can be especially beneficial since they help make the wearer feel more masculine or feminine than they would otherwise be able to achieve without wearing high heels.

2. High heels can make you taller

If you’re looking to add a few inches to your height, heels will do the trick (provided that you’re wearing them correctly). Even if you’re 6’2″ tall, high heels can make you look like an NBA player. And if you’re only 5’4″, they’ll give the illusion that you’re just a little taller than average; not too bad for a guy.

3. Public attraction

They want to attract attention in public places (like bars or clubs). Since most people don’t expect men to be wearing high heels, a man might get extra attention when he shows up wearing them. You can also see this in drag queens who dress as women for entertainment purposes. They often wear high heels or platform shoes with their outfits because it makes them stand out among other men in the crowd and gives them an advantage over other performers who are less recognizable on stage because they’re shorter than everyone else.

4. They help with posture

High heels help correct posture by forcing us to stand up straight as they lift us off our feet slightly, making us stand taller and straighter than we would otherwise when we’re not wearing them. This is great for people who have naturally poor posture or who slouch a lot because it helps them develop better habits for good posture over time by encouraging them to stand up straighter on their own without needing to think about it all the time.

5. To feel more attractive and confident at work

Since high heels are associated with status, power, and beauty for women, many men want to feel more attractive and powerful as well by wearing them at work. Wearing high heels can also help men feel more confident about themselves when speaking in public or presenting at meetings because they feel taller which makes them appear more authoritative than other people in the room who aren’t wearing heels.

Are Heels Masculine?

The masculine-feminine distinction is an artificial one that has little to do with physical traits, and everything to do with social expectations. When we see a woman wearing heels, we automatically assume that she’s feminine and vice versa. But if you look at history, men were often the ones wearing heels before women started wearing them.

Heels can be worn by both men and women but they’re not ‘masculine’ as such because they don’t belong to one gender or another. Heels are traditionally considered feminine because they’re associated with dresses and other garments that women wear. But if you’re wearing a suit or even just slacks and a shirt, it’s not so much the shoes themselves but the outfit they’re paired with that makes them feminine or masculine.

For example, if you were wearing a miniskirt and a pair of high heels with it, it would look very feminine because of how tight-fitting the skirt is. But if you were wearing an oversized trench coat over top and then put on those same heels, it would look more masculine because of how loose-fitting everything else is around them.

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Conclusion 

In short, we’d say heels are unisex, simply for the fact that they’re widely accepted by both men and women. They were originally created for men, and have since been adopted by women during various periods of history. Clearly, the trend is moving towards more gender-inclusive fashion accessories.

Disclaimer: Content Research, Product Opinion & Publication Process

The articles, cosmetic tutorials, and beauty tips on SheBegan magazine are contributed by experienced fashion professionals, beauty & cosmetics experts. The team of our beauty and cosmetics professionals tests the products and then share the outcomes with proper citations and then after passing all the research & editorial checks; the content is sent live making sure there exists No Conflict of Interest. You can read about our authors, volunteers, team members and editorial board with our content review, product testing, tutorial guidance process here.

Author

Hi, I'm Praise and I will be taking you on a fashion journey. I am a full time writer, but I like to play dress-up by the side(winks). There are only a few things as beautiful as looking good and since we have established looking good is good business, I hope we can achieve that together.

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