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A heel is the projection at the back of a shoe which rests below the heel bone. The shoe heel is used to improve the balance of the shoe, increase the height of the wearer, alter posture or other decorative purposes. Sometimes raised, the high heel is common to a form of shoe often worn by women, but sometimes by men too. See also stiletto heel.
Although high heeled shoes are depicted in ancient Egyptian murals on tombs and temples, the earliest recorded instance of men or women wearing an elevated shoe comes from ancient Persian riders. It has been commonly stated that the first instance of the wear of high heels involved the 1533 marriage between Catherine de’ Medici with the Duke of Orleans. She wore heels made in Florence for her wedding, and as a result, Italian high heels became the norm for ladies of the Duke’s court in France.