published Monday, February 28th, 2011

Platform shoes: New style sweeps women's fashion

  • photo
    Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press A model wears a pair of platform high heels from Gianni Bini. Also pictured are a selection of platform heels from Michael Kors (top left), Jessica Simpson (top right), and Chinese Laundry's Glitter Blush (bottom left) and their patent wedge (bottom right). Shoes provided by Dillard's.

Stephanie Risi didn’t think twice about purchasing a pair of 5-inch platform shoes last week at Dillard’s department store. The 51-year-old said the shoes make her feel sexy.

“I think women of all ages look sexy in these shoes,” she said. “They make your legs look longer and leaner, and men love them.”

Platform shoes, also a fad in the 1970s, date back hundreds of years, according to the website Impractical high heels, known as chopines, were worn by upper-class women in Italy and Spain during the late Renaissance era, the website reported. Some shoes were said to be nearly 20 inches high.

It can be a challenge to walk in today’s platform shoes, Risi said.

“Though I could run in platforms when I was younger, today I don’t walk far in them,” she said. “I don’t wear them all the time — mostly to church. And you don’t have to wear them outside. You can wear them inside. They look sexy with lingerie.”

Dillard’s shoe department sales manager Luciene Dopwell said platforms have been popular for the last year. She credited celebrities such as Jessica Simpson for introducing the trend.

“Today’s platform shoes have padding in front that makes the taller heel seem shorter, so it is easier to walk in them,” Dopwell said. “The heel gives the shoe more balance.”

Whether it’s a wedge heel or a tapered stiletto, high-rise shoe styles are selling well, she said.

“I’ve seen women of all ages buy these shoes,” Dopwell said. “If you feel good in them, it doesn’t matter what age you are.”

Former shoe boutique owner Lori Walker Boyd said she’s been a fan of platforms since she first wore them back in the 1970s.

“I love them because they give me additional height. I am 5-feet, 4-inches, but I love to feel tall. Also, they elongate the leg, making it look more slender.”

Both Boyd and Risi said the shoes are more comfortable than they appear.

“You have extra material to pad your foot,” Boyd said. “And in many cases the platform is a wedge, which gives you the extra stability between the ball of the foot and the heel.”

Risi said she looks for styles with straps to secure her feet in the shoes.

The downside to platform shoes is that they can damage your feet, Dr. Aaron Solomon, an area podiatrist, said in a previous interview.

“Any shoe with a high heel, platform or stilettos are not good for the feet,” Solomon said. “They may look good on a woman’s leg, especially since they define the calf muscle, but they’re bad for your feet. The flatter the shoe, the less stress on the feet.”

Solomon said a high heel puts extreme pressure on the front of the foot, which aggravates existing deformities such as bunions and hammer toes. Additionally, the shoes also can cause problems such as neuropraxia, or the bruising of nerves.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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jpo3136 said...

Women are such poor judges of what makes them look good. Basic health and hygiene are often more than enough. These monster shoes don't cut it. Insane diets, makeup that sucks their faces dry, idiotic cosmetic surgery: all unnecessary. These shoes aren't much different.

The only thing that's going to slim them up is diet and exercise. Military standards for female weight are reasonable. Between five and six feet in height, women who are healthy should weigh in between a hundred and 180 pounds, depending on age and height specifics. Insane weight loss and disguise plans, like these shoes, aren't a reasonable substitute for basic health.

I saw some woman getting in a car the other day in one of these chunky wedge heel things, pictured above. All I could think was, How is that idiot going to drive? It looked like it would sprain an ankle to operate a car.

Just nuts. Go jogging. Go swimming. Get some sun. Do some kind of activity other than being cooped up in the death box of a cubicle or air conditioned home 24 hours a day.

While it's nice when women dress up and look nice, some of this stuff is just nuts. Health looks better than theatrical costume shoes. Being smart and nice is way sexier.

February 28, 2011 at 10:41 a.m.
AbbyJones said...

When one thinks of comfortable shoes, one certainly would not generate an image of tall platform shoes though these shoes were never known for their comfort nor stability, they provide more balance than stilettos. Sure it makes women look more sexy, but as men, we can never know why they would subject themselves to such discomfort. Abby -

February 9, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.
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