The invention of the high-heeled shoe as a fashion statement is attributed to Catherine de Medici in the 16th century. However, elevated shoes had been worn as early as 3500 B.C. by Egyptian nobles and butchers.
Ancient Egyptian murals depict royals and butchers wearing an early form of the platform shoe. Platform shoes were commonly used throughout Europe as an oversole that attached to a flat shoe. The high heel emerged in the 1500s as a two-part sole with a flexible upper sole and an attached heel. The shoe was first popular with both male and female riders. Catherine de Medici adopted the high-heeled shoe as a way to increase her short stature. The heel quickly spread as a fashion statement among the wealthy.