Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know About High Heels: Platforms, Wedges, and Pumps
This article is for all women who have no idea what a kitten heel is! It is also for those women who have been secretly wondering what the difference between a platform shoe and a wedge shoe is. If your knowledge of the most fashionable styles for your feet is a bit fuzzy, then jump right in and read on for everything you could ever possibly have wanted to know about women’s high heels, beginning, of course, with the definition: high heels are shoes where the heel of the foot is taller than the toe.
High Heel History: From the Conception to the Contemporary
Interestingly enough, that classic women’s shoe known as the high heel originated not because of beauty and fashion but because of dirt and filth. In ancient Egypt, butchers wore heels so that their feet would be lifted above the blood on the ground, and, similarly, pattens (tall wooden soles) were worn in Europe during the Middle Ages to allow people to walk above the disgusting city streets which were littered with urine and feces.
From the 15th through the 17th centuries, heels called chopines were popularized throughout Europe. These heels could be over 30 inches tall, sometimes requiring women to use canes and servants to walk! Some theorize that chopines were invented by men to keep women immobile and submissive. But, in 1533, Queen Catherine D’Medici of France commissioned a shoe-maker to create for her a pair of shoes not unlike modern platform wedges. And thus, that fashionable footwear known today as the high heel began.
Party it Up in Platform High Heels
Now, there were those troublesome words again! Platforms and wedges. What is the difference? First, let’s pick apart the platform. Platform high heels are heels with a thick sole. Women’s platform high heels are often seen as more comfortable than general high heels, because the lifted sole decreases the angle of your foot when it sits within the shoe, decreasing the stress on your toes and calves. For example, Jessica Simpson’s Gobow shoe has a 5 inch heel accompanied by a 1 ¼ inch platform on the sole. The sexy slingback also features leather straps and a sassy zipper across the front, perfect for a girls’ night out!
What about Wedges? Get the Low-Down.
While some platform high heels have stiletto heels, wedges do not. The definition of a women’s wedge shoe is a shoe whose high heel occupies the entire space under the arch and heel portions of the foot. Some wedge shoes feature a platform under the sole as well, so a shoe featuring both a wedge and a platform is possible as well! Wedges are versatile shoes that can easily be either dressed up or dressed down. Take, for example, the BCBG Airone open-toe wedge, which features a 3 ¼ inch wedge, a thick, adjustable ankle strap, and a t-strap. Wear this trendy shoe with shorts and a tunic on a hot summer’s day for a casual look, or pair it with a cute summer dress for a more classic, dressy appearance.
Pull Out the Pumps for a Classy, Traditional Look
One essential in every woman’s closet is a pair of versatile black pumps, but what, exactly, is a women’s pump shoe? Though they can differ in stylistic detail, pumps are most often defined as closed-toe and closed-heel shoes without buckles or laces but with a stiletto heel. Modern-style pumps have been popular for women since the 1940’s, but, like all shoe styles, the trends can be tweaked over time. Take Fergie’s Marvel pump. Featuring textured plum-colored leather and sexy teardrop cutouts at the sides, as well as a tantalizing 4 ½ inch heel, Fergie’s Marvel pump combines the classic pointed-toe and women’s pump shoe style with a bit of some modern flair to create a stylish, sexy shoe.
High Heels from Platforms to Wedges to Pumps, Oh My!
Even though women’s high heeled shoes originated out of a necessity to walk high above excessively filthy streets, today, at least one pair of high heels can be found in every woman’s closet. Because of their popularity and differing styles, it is important to know the difference between the numerous types of high heels so that you are well-prepared to pick out the perfect shoes for you!