As a fashion object and symbol, the high-heeled shoe is weighted with meaning. It’s also weighted with the wearer’s entire body weight. The stiletto might be one of the only designs that is physically painful but has somehow persisted for centuries.
High-heeled shoes were originally worn by men. As early as the 10th century, many horseback-riding cultures wore heels on their boots and on their shoes, because heels help you stay in the stirrups (which is why cowboy boots have heels).
A fascinating article. The only thing I'd add is that although high heels are no longer fashionable for men, men's dress shoes all have heels (typically about 1").