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A Dagger Of A Shoe

Aug 18, 2007
Any shoe named after a dagger is bound to be trouble. Designed in the 1950's with a taper thin heel and glossy exterior, the stiletto is the shoe dreams and disasters are made of. The stiletto dagger was a weapon made for stabbing, not cutting and used by notorious criminals for its ability to conceal and leave deep wounds. The shoe is no less notorious for its ability to seduce and had been worn by notorious women in film for decades. When you see a woman in a movie wearing stiletto shoes, you know she's up to no good.

A History of Height

The invention of the stiletto is credited to Roger Vivier, a French shoe designer who experimented with lavish designs for women's shoes. Vivier was looking for a shoe to add height to a woman but not be large or unseemly. He wanted a shoe that was tall but feminine like the actresses and models he outfitted regularly. He made a heel out of a long thin piece of metal that was strong enough to support weight dispersion. Deciding it looked like the famous dagger he called his shoe the stiletto. The shoe came out in the 1950's and was a hit with women who wanted to add height to their stride. The shoe fell out of popularity in late 1960's as the women's movement began to challenge stereotypical ideas about gender and roles.

The Tower of Power

The stiletto would not be undone by the women's liberation movement. It went underground for a while and become a standard of the world of fetish entertainment. But in the mid 1980s when women were busting through the glass ceiling and taking over the boardroom the shoe made a surprising comeback. Style for business women was largely dark suits with big shoulder pads. The black, thin narrow shows went perfectly to show a woman's confidence and the slender heel balanced out the jacket to a tee. Stilettos were back in style and set to stay that way for a long time to come as women became both more confident in their power and their wardrobe.

Platform of Pain

With all the empowerment that comes from the strength of the stiletto, there is a price to be paid for it. A price paid in pain. Even women very comfortable in high heel shoes admit that stilettos are a painful shoe wto ear. To balance the weight of the body on the thin heel the spine and lower back take a lot of pressure. The shoe isn't wide enough to maintain any real center of balance so the calves have to do all the work and the toes area of the shoe is generally narrow to match the taper of the heel often squishing to foot and potential causing both muscle and nerve damage. Your first walk in a stiletto is something you'll never forget. Continued use of a stiletto is something your body will always remember.

The Stiletto is as much a story as it is a shoe. An elegant throwback to an age old idea of beauty and a powerful vision of modern women, the footwear named after a dagger will always be a killer of a shoe.
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