From the Met – early 18th c. These are men’s shoes, although it’s difficult to tell
Maddalena asks: Is it true that the king used to wear red heels to distinguish from the other well-dressed noblemen?
To my knowledge, the red heels, at least in France, were worn by noblemen who had been accepted at court and were in favor with the king. It was one of Louie’s ways of keeping tabs on everyone, and making it “public” knowledge who was in and who was out. The Fashion Historian blog has a great article on this – read it here.
Then I began to wonder if the red heel rule extended to women. In my research of women’s footwear I have never seen a red heel applied, until this image:
You can see on the tiny feet of the ladies pictured that the heels of their shoes are colored differently than the rest of the shoe, and the lady on the right wears red heels. Now, this is a satirical print, and it’s entirely possible that the artist or the colorist (for they were likely two different people) took liberties. Does anyone know if court ladies wore red heels?
*EDIT: Some of you will notice that this post formerly contained a bit about heel shapes of the 1770s, and how the new American Duchess 18th century shoes were going to feature this heel instead of the more iconic Louie heel. However, due to a sudden negotiation on the price of custom heel molds, we WILL be going with the Louie heels for the first release of American Duchess shoes, NOT the 1770s shape. More on that to come!*
I will leave you with some lovely photos of shoes from the 1770s and 80s: