Male height was closely linked to ideals of masculinity in the 19th century and heels could be worm to increase stature if used discreetly. The 1830s guide to men’s fashion The Whole Art of Dress devotes a section to the challenges faced by men of shorter stature and advocates for heels provided that they are concealed under trousers, “…made very long, even to touching the ground, and strapped. Oh! What a transformation is here, my countrymen, in a diminutive man!” It would have been a shame to hide these boots under pants but their true beauty lies in the decorative nail work done on their shoe.


  • Title: European Boots
  • Date Created: 1820-1840
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 25.5 Width: 6.5 cm Height: 41.3 cm
  • Photographer: David Stevenson and Eva Tkaczuk
  • Rights: Copyright © 2017 Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada (photo: David Stevenson and Eva Tkaczuk)
  • External Link: http://www.batashoemuseum.ca/
  • Medium: Leather, silk, brass, silver
  • Bbibliographic references: Semmelhack, Elizabeth. Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels. Toronto: Bata Shoe Museum Foundation, 2015

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