What are platform sandals?

Platform sandals

In recent years, it has become evident that fashion trends that were once popular at some point in history tend to become widely popular once again, whether it is clothing pieces such as mom jeans or footwear choices like jelly sandals. The platform sandal is one of the styles of footwear that have managed this impressive feat, and with good reason – they are great to wear for the summer without being too hard on the feet. They also come in a variety of designs, which gives the wearer different options. Read on for a more detailed look at this footwear style.

What are platform sandals? The platform sandal is a style of footwear that feature a raised heel as well as an extra layer between the outer and inner sole. The thick platform sole can be made of rubber, cork, wood, or plastic.

They have been around for quite a while, with evidence of their appearance dating back to the late 15th and early 16th century.  There are different ways you can wear platform sandals during the summer – pair them with a floral summer dress for a breezy look, match peep-toe varieties with a blazer and pumps look for the office, or opt to pair them with a midi skirt for a simple but elegant look. When selecting a pair of platform sandals, consider the height of the heel – you don’t want them to be too high to the point that they affect your comfort. Another factor to consider is stability. A pair that features secure straps will ensure that your feet are always in place. A well-cushioned footbed will ensure that you have a pleasant walking experience.

Platform sandals have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years due to the way they combine stylishness and comfort. Here are the various aspects of this style of footwear.

A brief history of the platform sandal

Platform sandals have been in existence in many cultures for centuries, with the most famous predecessor of the platform sandal being the Zoccoli that was first worn in Venice in the 15th century.

In Ancient Greece, platform shoes were popular among characters who took part in the Greek theater as they would elevate their heights. They were similarly used by London-dwelling courtesans. In the 18th century, platforms especially popular in Europe as they helped wearers avoid the filth of urban streets.

The buskins of ancient Rome may have served as an inspiration for platform sandals due to their thick soles that were meant to add height to the wearer. In ancient China, platforms featured thick soles and uppers made of layers of white cloth. The Manchu women that hailed from the Qing dynasty also wore platforms, with their designs featuring a separate heel that would later inspire European fashion trends.

The first modern version of the platforms was designed by Moshe Kimmel specifically for Marlene Dietrich, an actress. In the 1940s, this style of footwear had a higher arch, while in the 50s, they saw a decline in popularity.

The platform trend was then revived in the 70s when the disco era was in full fledge. Women wore both the sandal and closed-shoe versions of the footwear, while men preferred the latter.

Although they fizzled out in the late 1980s, Vivienne Westwood, the acclaimed UK fashion designer, helped to bring platform sandals back to the high-fashion spotlight in the early 1990s when many of the models walking the runway wore different variations of the sandal. By the late 1990s, platform sandals were popular again thanks to the Spice Girls who frequently wore them.

How to style platform sandals

Because they are very versatile, you have a lot of options when it comes to styling a platform sandal. Here are some tips that you may want to consider.

1. Dresses

When it comes to platforms and dresses, you can rarely go wrong with floral prints. Consider wearing a midi floral dress with a pair of open-toe platform sandals that feature an ankle strap. Alternatively, pair your platforms with a maxi dress that is flowy, and features a slit up the side to show off a bit of leg as well as the sandal.

2. Pants and jeans

Open-toe platform heels work superbly when paired with pantsuits or a jumpsuit that is matched with a blazer. This makes for a great look for a day at the office especially if your workplace does not mind sandals. Platform sandals can also be pair0ed with mom jeans as well as skinny jeans for a casual yet stylish look. Add a crop top to the look and you have the perfect balance of edgy and simple.

3. Shorts

Take your platform sandals out for a spin on a warm summer day by pairing them with your favorite pair of denim or silk shorts. For a light and flirty look, opt to go for a coral or pastel-colored top. To add a bit of fun and color to your outfit, go for platform sandals that are bold and colorful.

4. Skirts

For a throwback summer look, opt to pair your chunky platform sandals with a short skater skirt worn with a colorful top. To avoid overpowering your outfit, go for a simple color such as nude or black. If you are a bit on the conservative side, opt to pair your sandals with a flouncy pleated skirt for a simple but stylish look.

Factors to consider when selecting platform sandals

  • Heel – Platform sandals generally offer more comfort and stability when compared to footwear styles that lack support yet feature a thin heel. This is because of the increased thickness of the outsole that allows for more surface area to be in contact with the ground, consequently ensuring that you are more balanced in your feet. Furthermore, instead of solely elevating your heels and forcing you to walk with your feet in an awkward slanted position, the balls of your feet are elevated as well. That being said, you will probably want to avoid wearing platform sandals that feature towering heels as your feet are still slightly slanted in them. Otherwise, you might end up with foot cramps at the end of the day or even twist an ankle if you lose balance.
  • Stability – One of the most important determinants of how stable a pair of platform sandals will be (other than heel height) is the straps featured. When purchasing this style of sandal, consider going for one that features a back strap. This often-overlooked feature has the important role of keeping the back of your foot in place when walking and consequently the risk of losing balance. It is also important for the straps that are featured on the upper of the sandal to be adequately thick to ensure that your feet are well-secured to the sole.

Another key factor that impacts stability is the shape of the footbed. You want the dips and rises that are featured on the footbed to perfectly align with the contours of your foot so that your foot sits comfortably. A footbed that is too smooth will not provide the required structural support to ensure your stability.

  • Comfort – Comfort is determined by a combination of several factors, including the fit of the platform sandal.  No matter the stylishness of a sandal, if it is not compatible with the size of your feet, you are better off grabbing something else that is more size-appropriate. Platform sandals that are too big will affect your balance and potentially cause you to trip and even fall as you walk. On the other hand, if they turn out to be too small, you could end up with blisters and calluses on your feet as a result of tight straps rubbing into your skin. Always confirm the fit of a platform sandal on a sizing chart when shopping online and go over. The customer reviews posted by those who bought the same style of sandal for good measure.

Another factor to consider in terms of comfort is the cushioning provided. Consider choosing varieties of platform sandals that feature cork and EVA in the midsole to ensure that the impact of walking is adequately absorbed.

  • Durability – The durability of a platform sandal is typically determined by the material used as well as the construction of the footwear in general. Many platform sandals are made from synthetic materials such as patent leather, vinyl, and EVA. Although some varieties of synthetic are lightweight and water-resistant, the material tends is not the most durable, especially if the sandals are poorly constructed. Leather, on the other hand, is very durable in addition to being flexible and breathable. Additionally, when you successfully break in leather, it will mold to your foot shape and allow for a more comfortable wearing experience. However, water can damage leather and affect its durability, so you want to ensure that it never gets wet, or at least treat it to make it more water-resistant.

Final thoughts

Platform sandals have been in existence for centuries, and today, they are still as fashionable as ever. This versatile style of footwear allows you to pair it with a wide range of outfits, whether it is a flirty skirt or a work pantsuit. They offer a more comfortable alternative to stilettos for those who love a little elevation in their footwear and will serve you well as long as they are comfortable, durable, and stable.

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