Manly high heels date back centuries, worn by horsemen as well as powerful rulers.
In the Near East, high-heeled shoes were used by soldiers on horseback, helping them hold position when they shot their bows. Persian diplomats brought the trend to European courts, giving men a "virile, masculine edge".
"As the wearing of heels filtered into the lower ranks of society, the aristocracy responded by dramatically increasing the height of their shoes - and the high heel was born." (photos)