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The Classic Pump

10 June 2014

The black pump (sometimes called “courts” in England) is definitely a modern day classic for any wardrobe.

With a medium height heel and a slightly pointed toe, I find myself reaching for my black pumps more than any other shoe.

Of course, I own lots and lots of black high heeled shoes, collected over the years. Many are just variations of the classic pump style (sling backs, mules, almond toe, patent, pony hair, ankle straps, block heel) and most were under the $100 mark.

But I have only owned ONE good quality, leather, classic-styled pump. They cost me around $130 (on sale) about 10 years ago, and they have finally worn out. I’ve been jamming them into too many pavement cracks and the leather on the heel point is all messed up.

So I finally bought myself some new, good quality, everyday heels.

Acne Lola Suede Pumps

They are Acne Lola Suede Pumps from Forward By Elyse Walker.

They have a classic 50’s style profile, featuring black suede uppers, 100% leather, made in Italy, 3.3 inch heel (8.4 cms). They feel beautiful and are just gorgeous to wear.

Now that I own them, I am a bit scared to wear them, in case I scuff up the heels – again!

But it did get me thinking about the history of the pump shoe. So of course, I went online to read WORDS, as opposed to just looking at pictures of shoes.

The origin of high heels (pumps) can be traced back to the 15th Century, where they were called pompes. These pompes were initially flat and worn by men, but soon heels were added for practical reasons – horse riders didn’t want their feet slipping in the horse stirrups.

High heels for men? For practical reason? Horse riding? How deliciously ironic!

High heels slowly became popular with the rich and famous, upper class… and they were worn by both men and women. It’s been documented that the famously short French Queen, Catherine d’Medici requested her shoe maker to add two inches to her wedding shoes when she married King Henry II in 1533. I hear you sister!

And apparently, the Queen Marie Antoinette was also such a fan of high heels that she was wearing a pair when she had her head chopped off during the French revolution. That is serious commitment to fashion.

Fast forward to 1953, the shoe designer for Christian Dior, Roger Viver, created the first ever stiletto high heel and they became all the rage in 50s fashion.

And in the 90s, shoe designers like Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin became fashion celebrities in their own right, by transforming the high heeled shoe into a “super accessory” and an art form.

I don’t think the high heel shoe will ever go out of fashion. But, the biggest question is… I wonder if high heels will ever come back into fashion for men??