A tall order for even the most fashionable of gentlemen: High heels for men are on the rise
By Daisy Dumas
It’s the last bastion of women’s outerwear that hasn’t been appropriated by the more fashionable men out there – until now.
High heels are, apparently, de rigueur for men.
To the possible chagrin of some more traditional males, those with a fashionable eye and an eccentric sensibility are taking the women’s power dressing weapon of choice and making it their own.
And the resulting looks are far from the Priscilla Queen of the Desert-esque drag styles that are so often associated with men in heels.
Luke Nero, a promoter at Mr Black club in LA, told the New York Times: ‘I went to a loft party yesterday, and there was a guy in normal shorts, normal tank and really hot red pumps. That’s it! Everyone was like, “Oh my God, I love those shoes!”‘
At the club, Coy Barton, 24, and Mark Cramer, 25, paired their black heels with relatively conservative trousers and shirts.
Mr Barton said to the paper: ‘I’m in Steve Madden, he’s in Chinese Laundry… These were $115. Mine were, like, $170.’
It’s not the first time the fashion has rolled around – the Seventies saw many a platform shoe with chunky high heel attached adorn the feet of men – a style immortalised by the likes of John Travolta’s Tony Manero in Saturday night Fever.
Louis XIV, in his inimitable ostentatious bent, is said to have worn four-inch heels made by Nicholas Lestage in the 1660s, his exquisite designs hailed a ‘miracle’ at the time.
While it is no secret that the vertically challenged are prone to the odd heel boost – perhaps most famously (and continuing in the French vein) à la Nicolas Sarkozy and, of course, Tom Cruise – these heels are altogether more brazen.
Sean Wagner, 23, from LA told the paper: ‘I never leave the house with less than eight inches on my feet… It helps you see over the cattle.’
He chooses to have many of his shoes especially made, but there is a brisk trade in designer heels for men, too.
Tara Nash-King of chicandseek.com, a site that sells on never- or very gently-used second-hand designer labels, specialising in shoes and handbags, told MailOnline that she has a market for Louboutin shoes for male clients – running to size 10.
Indeed, according to the Times, Gregory Alexander, 26, spends thousands on high-end designer shoes, wearing them to clubs such as Mr Black.
‘I love the height… It helps when you’re in a club. I’ve bought Louis Vuitton. I’ve bought Gucci,’ he said. ‘But a lot of designers don’t go high enough for me. I found a company in Arizona that will do 15-inch heels for $3,000.’
He has a pair of Yves Saint Laurent’s $1,395 Imperiale platform stiletto ankle boots, telling the paper they were ‘a Valentine’s present to myself. I had them engrave a card for me, too.’
‘It’s a power thing. You’re higher than everybody else. You walk a different way. It makes your legs look better’
Elsewhere, the unorthodox entertainer Dexter Haygood continues to wow X-Factor audiences with his anachronistic singing style – and vertiginous Seventies platform shoes.
While much of it is, of course, associated with show-boating, the trend also has its roots in a general boredom with the choices on offer for men.
Mr Barton said: ‘I literally look at girls and think, you have so many options. You have jumpers, you have skirts, you have dresses, you have pants, you have shorts. Boys have pants and shorts. Or suits and a shirt.’
But in the end, the reasons for choosing a heel over a flat boils down to a lot more than style and comfort.
‘It’s a power thing. You’re higher than everybody else. You make more sound. You walk a different way. It makes your legs look better,’ said Mr Alexander.
Which is what women – and a certain type of man including Louis XIV and Mr Haygood – have known for centuries.
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