The entire shoe was elevated in the style called the chopine that originated in Turkey in about 1400.These shoes were effectively miniature stilts that were flat on the bottom and made of cork and covered with leather or fabric.France's King Louis XIV (1638-1715) was only 5 ft 3 in (1.6 m) tall until he donned specially-made high-heeled shoes with curved heels constructed of cork and covered with red-dyed leather, with the red color symbolizing nobility.On special occasions, his 5 in (12.7 cm) high heels were ornamented with hand-painted scenes of his military victories.After World War II, the high heel regained its popularity primarily because of the growth in consumer spending and the variety and availability of designs produced.Stiletto heels, named for the narrow-bladed knives, soared into fashion in the 1950s.
A plastic tip was attached to the metal end, but these tips often fell off causing floors to be gouged and carpets to be ripped.
Today, curved heels preserve his legacy and are known as Louis or French heels.
Other heel-wearers used their footwear to boast of their wealth; the heels were so high that servants had to break them in, so to wear high heels also proved one could afford servants for this task.
Until high heels were invented, shoe soles for the left and right feet were identical and were called straights; shoes were formed on a single mold, called a last, for both feet.
Shoes were bought not as a pair but as two single shoes of matching size and style.
Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) is credited with wearing the first true high heels and with taking the style to France in 1533 when she married the Duc d' Orleans, who was to become France's King Henry II.