Modern high heels were brought to Europe by emissaries of Shāh Abbās I of Persia in the early 17th century. Men wore them to imply their upper-class status; only someone who did not have to work could afford, both financially and practically, to wear such extravagant shoes. Royalty such as King Louis XIV wore heels to impart status. As the shoes caught on, and other members of society began donning high heels, elite members ordered their heels to be made even higher to distinguish themselves from lower classes. Authorities even began regulating the length of a high heel's point according to social rank. Klaus Carl includes these lengths in his book Shoes: "½ inch for commoners, 1 inch for the bourgeois, 1 and ½ inches for knights, 2 inches for nobles, and 2 and ½ inches for princes."” As women took to appropriating this style, the heels’ width changed in another fundamental way. Men wore thick heels, while women wore skinny ones. Then, when Enlightenment ideals such as science, nature, and logic took hold of many European societies, men gradually stopped wearing heels. After the French Revolution in the late 1780s, heels, femininity, and superficiality all became intertwined. In this way, heels became much more associated with a woman's supposed sense of impracticality and extravagance.
In general, women tend to have 15% lower body mass than men, this means shoes must have a deeper groove that can provide greater flexibility, which, translates to a smooth and natural toe-off motion through the running patterns of the foot. Seasoned runners agree that a little less foam in the overall cushioning of a running shoe goes a long way for female runners.
High heels have a long history, dating as far back as the tenth century. The Persian cavalry, for example, wore a kind of boot with heels in order to ensure their feet stayed in the stirrups. Furthermore, research indicates that heels kept arrow-shooting riders, who stood up on galloping horses, safely on the horse. This trend has translated into the popular 21st-century cowboy boot. Owning horses was expensive and time-consuming, so to wear heels implied the wearer had significant wealth. This practical and effective use of the heel has set the standard for most horse-back riding shoes throughout history and even into the present day. Later, in the 12th century in India, heels become visible again. The image of a statue from the Ramappa Temple proves this, showing an Indian woman's foot clad in a raised shoe. Then, during the Medieval period, both men and women wore platform shoes in order to raise themselves out of the trash and excrement filled streets. In 1430, chopines were 30 inches (76 cm) high, at times. Venetian law then limited the height to three inches—but this regulation was widely ignored. A 17th-century law in Massachusetts announced that women would be subjected to the same treatment as witches if they lured men into marriage via the use of high-heeled shoes.
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In the UK in 2016 temporary receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home unpaid after she refused to follow the dress code of firm Portico. Thorp launched an online petition calling for the UK government to "make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work". Two parliamentary committees in January 2017 decided that Portico had broken the law; by this time the company had already changed its terms of employment. The petition was rejected by the government in April 2017 as they stated that existing legislation was "adequate". Existing legislation allows women to be required to wear high heels, but only if it is considered a job requirement and men in the same job are required to dress to an "equivalent level of smartness".
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I'm in my running shoes a lot: I've set out to run a marathon in 30 different countries, raising money for local organizations in each one. Running race after race, I look for comfort and reliability in a shoe. I want to be sure every day that I'm getting the same fit as I did the week before, and that my feet are happy after 18 months of travel and running.