It’s the same argument every Fashion Week, every runway show: “Sure, it’s beautiful. But who would actually wear that?” Wearing high fashion is about as much the point as hanging the Mona Lisa in your rec room or hoisting a Rodin into your five-story walk-up. Such is the case here, too. Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe opens at the Brooklyn Museum today. As the exhibition’s title suggests, these are some ankle-sprainers, right here. See Christian Louboutin’s nearly unwearable “Printz” (2013) and Winde Rienstra’s beguiling Jenga-game-of-shoe “Bamboo Heel” (2012). Maybe even more mystifying than the collection’s gravity-defying shockers is its historical footwear, like a pair of Italian peep-toe pumps from the Renaissance or Chinese slippers from the 19th century. Salvatore Ferragamo’s layered rainbow platform sandal looks like it was custom designed for a Spice Girl, which must have been radically fashion-forward when it was made in 1938. The show illustrates how shoes, for a variety of practical and frivolous reasons, have always been symbols of status and power, telling the stories of the audacious women who wear them.

Wednesdays-Sundays, 11 a.m. Starts: Sept. 10. Continues through Feb. 15, 2014