The design of the high French heels from the late 1600s to around the 1720s placed body weight on the ball of the foot, and were decorated with lace or braided fabric (pictured). From the 1730s-1740s, wide heels with an upturned toe and a buckle fastening became popular. The 1750s and 1760s introduced a skinnier, higher heel. The 1790s continued this trend, but added combinations of color. Additionally, throughout all of these decades, there was no difference between the right and left shoe.
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In the UK in 2016 temporary receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home unpaid after she refused to follow the dress code of firm Portico. Thorp launched an online petition calling for the UK government to "make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work". Two parliamentary committees in January 2017 decided that Portico had broken the law; by this time the company had already changed its terms of employment. The petition was rejected by the government in April 2017 as they stated that existing legislation was "adequate". Existing legislation allows women to be required to wear high heels, but only if it is considered a job requirement and men in the same job are required to dress to an "equivalent level of smartness".
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Wearing high-heeled shoes is strongly associated with injury, including injury requiring hospital care. There is evidence that high-heel-wearers fall more often, especially with heels >2.5cm high, even if they were not wearing high heels at the time of the fall. Wearing high heels is also associated with musculoskeletal pain, specifically pain in the paraspinal muscles (muscles running up the back along the spine) and specifically with heel pain and plantar calluses (only women tested).
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