Why did men stop wearing high heels? That’s the title of a BBC report that took me by surprise. Perhaps I’m merely forgetting that men once wore high heels. There were reasons to wear them and eventually there were reasons not to wear them:
A wave of interest in all things Persian passed through Western Europe. Persian style shoes were enthusiastically adopted by aristocrats, who sought to give their appearance a virile, masculine edge that, it suddenly seemed, only heeled shoes could supply.
Louis XIV wearing his trademark heels in a 1701 portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud
As the wearing of heels filtered into the lower ranks of society, the aristocracy responded by dramatically increasing the height of their shoes – and the high heel was born.