TORONTO (REUTERS).- Centuries before Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama were sized up over their shoes women’s feet had been a platform for showing off their economic and political status. A new exhibit of more than 60 pairs of rare platform and high heel shoes shows how extreme and impractical footwear became a fashionable symbol of social standing in the 16th and 17th centuries. “This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see these truly incredible pedestals that women walked on,” said Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum. The exhibit, “On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels”, includes footwear on loan from 11 international museums. It will be open until September 20. “The shoes themselves, because they were hidden under women’s skirts, were not even visible at the time.