Men’s high heels are increasingly selling in South Korea in recent years, according to market figures.
The thing is, it’s unlikely you’ll know if a man wears them.
Apparently, 43,000 pairs of such heels were sold last year, a leap from 36,000 pairs purchased in 2014, MBC News reported.
Unlike women’s, men’s high heels are designed to discreetly increase height. From afar, they look just like regular leather shoes.
A pair sold at one shoe store, for instance, has a 4-cm exterior heel but hides a 2-cm insert.
For those who may not know, high heels were originally worn by men, dating back to 10th century Persia.
Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, told Today that it was then more about function than fashion — Persian men wore heels while on horseback so that their feet fit better in the stirrups.
Interestingly, while South Korean men are splurging on high heels, women are buying shoes with lower heels in the name of comfort. Some stores reportedly saw a 50% drop in sales of heels taller than 7 cm.
A shop owner told MBC News that women now prefer heels 4-5 cm in height, while men are going for around 5-6 cm.
South Korean women’s dwindling interest on high heels is also apparent in the decrease of available designs.
One company had 46 designs in 2009 but now offers only 14.
Photos (Screenshots) via MBC News