Shoe History: Greek Cothornos Heels & Platforms

Dec 18, 2013

Here’s an interesting Foot Fact–the very first shoe to use a heel or platform was the ancient Greek “Cothornos” (also kothornos).  It came from Greek theatre and was said to have been introduced by the Greek dramatist Aeschylus around 450 B.C.E. to help distinguish actors by height. Remember, this was before fancy microphones and PA systems, so actors used many methods to add drama between characters and plot. The higher the platform Cothornos, the more distinguished the actor, and thus the tradition likely began where height via shoes was viewed as a status symbol. The ancient Cothornos platforms were as high as six inches.

Interestingly, at one point in history, only upper class people were allowed to wear large heeled shoes and platform shoes while the peasants were relegated to low (lowly) shoes. The added height allowed upper class people to “look down their noses” at the lower class people. A “well-heeled woman” also came out of status and height as women with high heels were only upper class socialites at one point in history in some cultures.

*(Source: William Rossi, D.P.M.)

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