This book does reproduce some wondrous shoes by top designers. But its focus lies outside the kingdom of fashion, in the lowly outpost of social history, where shoes generally appear only as modest, utilitarian artifacts. Here, the two worlds are shown to be intimately connected. Drawing on historical sources, paintings and prints, this volume explores how and why shoes or boots with high heels came into common use throughout the last five centuries. The result? A book on shoes unlike any other. It considers the function of high heels in daily life, in the production of class and gender, and in the staging of erotic fantasy, illustrated through stunning shoes from the collection of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.