They're a design classic. You've no doubt seen them yourselves, maybe you own a pair. Those quirky shoes where the sole seems to be curiously working its way up the heel. At first glance, this might seem like a shoe designer was just running out of ideas. But, there is actually an interesting and completely utilitarian reasoning behind the history of these odd-heeled shoes.
In 1963, Italian designer Gianni Mostile created a shoe designed specifically for use in the car. Every part of Mostile's new shoe was designed to aid the driver. The shoe starts with a minimal, moccasin-like design; as opposed to a larger, clunkier shoe that wouldn't fit well in the sometimes cramped area by the pedals. It is made of thin leather without a true sole so as to allow the driver to get a good feel of the pedals. Small, rubber studs were added to the bottom to give the shoe good traction to grip the pedals without slipping. Finally, the rubber studs were extended up the heel of the shoe to provide durability and comfort as the driver's foot sits upright with the heel on the ground.
These four design elements, all utilitarian in nature, dictated a beautiful design that has been copied and developed by several shoe manufacturers since and is still popular today. As with many great designs, a practical origin created a design that has become a classic.