High heels are usually associated with feminine beauty and luxury, but this was not always the case. In fact, the history of this fashionable form of footwear is filled with surprises.
For starters, did you know that high heels were originally designed for men? The first ones appeared in 10th-century Persia, where army horsemen wore them to fasten their feet into stirrups. Although functional, they also looked sharp, so the trend soon spread. Twelfth-century temple artwork in India depicts female dancers wearing raised shoes. In Medieval Europe, both men and women wore elevated shoes made of wood. Women of noble birth at that time also wore platform shoes called chopines. __1__ The higher the chopines, the higher the status of the wearer.
The modern version of high heels, thin bars lifting only the back of the feet, was brought from Persia to Europe in the early 17th century. High-heeled shoes became a symbol of authority and status for men. __2__ A fashion trend was born and quickly spread across Europe, first among men and then women. The height of the heels was even standardized and indicative of one’s class: 0.5 inches for commoners, 1-2 inches for nobles and knights, and 2.5 inches only for royalty.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock 照片：Shutterstock提供
Men’s and women’s high heels started to differ as well, with women wearing smaller shoes with thinner heels and men preferring tall and leather boots. In the 18th century, men started to regard high-heeled shoes with thin heels as impractical. __3__ The popularity of high heels dramatically dropped during the French Revolution (1789-1799) as no one wanted to be seen as royalty.
__4__ In modern times, high heels are associated with professionalism, elegance and confidence among women, while the style has tapered off among men. But who knows? Maybe men’s high heels will catch on again some time.
What Did You Learn?
(A) Eventually, men abandoned high heels, and the shoes fell into the women’s domain.
(B) These shoes not only helped women avoid mud on the street but also symbolized their status.
(C) Interest in high heels revived in the 19th century, and the style has been worn by women since then.
(D) For instance, French King Louis XIV was fond of wearing red high heels, which represented his power.
答案：1. (B) 2. (D) 3. (A) 4. (C)
Words in Use
1. luxury n. 奢華，奢侈（不可數）；奢侈品（可數）
The rich man’s daughter has lived in luxury since she was born.
A television set was a luxury for my grandfather when he was young.
2. functional a. 實用的
The treadmill is not only functional but also decorative.
3. depict vt. 刻劃，描繪
This painting depicts the painter’s care-free childhood in the countryside.
4. elevated a. 提高的，抬高的
Tom tripped over the elevated sidewalk and fell.
5. authority n. 權威、權力（不可數）
We need to find people in authority to deal with this issue.
1. be associated with... 和…聯想在一起；和…有關聯
George’s scar on his arm is associated with a car accident he was in when he was little.
2. for starters 首先
Mix eggs and sugar for starters, and then add milk.
3. taper off 逐漸變小，逐步減弱
The little boy’s interest in toy bears tapered off as he found toy cars more interesting.
4. catch on 成為流行、趨勢
Board games have caught on among young people recently.
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