It is said that Catherine de Medici brought heels from Florence to Paris for her marriage because she was so short. The style was immediately adopted by ladies of the French court, and the fashion spread throughout Europe for both women and men.
Chopines are still worn in this time period for venturing in dirty streets. Evidence of this can be seen both in period paintings and in Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Women's shoes were rarely seen in this period, as they were covered by the long skirts. The shoes had relatively soft soles and heel, usually no more than two inches high. The soles were of cork, about one half inch in thickness. The toes of the slipper shoes were slightly rounded. Women's shoes had high tongues, and Elizabeth I had shoes with tongues of white silk to match her white clothes. It is also suspected that Elizabeth was proud of her tiny feet, and had her skirts shortened to just above the ankle to show off her delicate feet in gemmed high-heeled shoes.
Embroidered silk and brocades were favoured by well to do women. The embroidery could be of brightly coloured or gold thread.