\" \" Chris Waits/ CC BY 2.0 The red high heels of French King Louis XIV, as depicted in a 1701 oil painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud, Musée du Louvre, Paris. Although women wearing sexy stilettos seems like a given, it may surprise you to learn that the original wearers of high heels were men. What's clear, however, is that high heels weren't a European invention. The majority of powerful and privileged men wore heels during the 17th century and into the early 18th century. \"Since the 17th century, Western culture has shown extreme sensitivity to men in heels,\" Semmelhack observes, \"especially if it's deemed that the heels are being used to increase height.\"