High-heeled shoes are a beauty statement from the runways to the streets. You name it: pumps, wedges, kitten heels, stilettos… with a little lift of the arch you feel like you own the world. And while we thought we had seen it all in the world of heels, including 3D printed pumps, turns out, we hadn’t. We had yet to see Killer Heels.

The Killer Heels exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum displays a history of heels starting with 16th-century Italian chopines, made of silk and metal…

…Going all the way up to Prada’s 2012 patent leather, wedge sandal in full flame.

This display of swoon-worthy shoes is doing more than making a fashion statement. This style timeline is a way for us to take a look at the impact the high heel has had on culture and fashion. As the museum’s Curator of Exhibitions Lisa Small said, “What people adorn their bodies with is so bound up with personal identity and identity as constructed by the time in which they live.”

Or as Carrie Bradshaw put it, “I decided to rescue my ankles from a life of boredom by purchasing too many pairs of Jimmy Choo shoes.”

By taking the trendy shapes of each time period and then finding their innovative extremes, we can really see how far the boundaries can be pushed. Some of these look nearly unwearable!

At some point, heels became the standard in shoe status, no matter how much they can make our feet ache. Think about it: How often do you see a woman in flats on the red carpet? Heels can make you feel glamorous and confident, but only because at some point in history the public started seeing women in heels as glamorous and confident.

This exhibition sets out to explore that breaking point in addition to comparing heels with other artistic relics of various time periods. If you’re in the NYC area, you can catch the Killer Heels exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum now through February 15, 2015.

Would you wear any of these heel innovations? Let us know in the comments!

(h/t Fast Company)