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Stiletto Open Toe

The term “heels” is used generically and interchangeably to describe all shoes that have a heel lifting the foot from the ground. This can be a half-inch heel or it can be several inches. There are many different types of soles that lift the foot off the ground, such as wedges that can be two to five inches tall or chunky, and thick heels that can vary in height as well. These shoes differ from stilettos in that a stiletto has a specific heel that is typically three to six inches tall. A stiletto heel cannot be a wedge, or chunky; it is a thin spike. Stilettos are usually strappy sandals that show the top of the foot and the toes or they are closed like a pump, but with pointed toes.

High heels and stiletto shoes have fascinated both men and women for all of modern history, and date back thousands of years. Women feel more confident when wearing them as their legs are lengthened and their posture straightened. Men enjoy the pedestal effect that high heels give the female form, on display for all to admire. While shoes are primarily for protection, the high heel is nothing if not a decorative celebration of female beauty.

Woman to have well-shaped legs became more of an asset than ever before. Stockings and shoes were now very important, hemlines had risen. Black stockings which had been generally worn were replaced by flesh coloured ones in silk or cotton lisle. Silk stockings were expensive but considered worthwhile for town and evening wear. For the country and sportswear, ribbed and patterned woollen and cotton stockings were usually worn. Diamond patterns were very fashionable. In the summer, light coloured cotton ankle socks were popular.

Women in the 21st century have more shoe choices than ever before. From athletic wear to the 2006 “heelless” high heel from Manolo Blahnik, women can choose to wear what they want, even hybrid shoes such as “heeled” tennis shoes and flip flops. What is certain is that heels have not disappeared. Noted for its unique classes, Crunch, a nationwide gym, even offers a 45-minute “Stiletto Strength” classes that strengthen women’s legs and calves. Perhaps influenced in part by successful TV and film hits as Sex in the City and The Devil Wears Prada, some women are even going under the knife to shorten their toes or inject padding into the balls of their feet to allow their feet to fit more comfortably into a pair of stilettos (Sherr). While these may be oddities of fashion, they gesture toward an exciting array of fashion choices women have today.