Platform shoes are shoes with thick or very thick soles. They provide a lift, as if you’re standing on a platform. When platforms are heeled, the heel is raised significantly more than the ball of the foot, causing the foot to arch. Flatforms, on the other hand, are platformed shoes with a completely even lift. The foot does not arch like it does with a platformed heel.

Platformed footwear has been around for centuries across many different cultures. But I think of them as disco ‘70s shoes. Any type of shoe can be platformed these days. From boots, sneakers, loafers, pumps and oxfords, to mules, Mary Janes, clogs, slides, and sandals. Take your pick.

Aeyde Bibi Clogs
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Seychelles Alley Cat
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Platformed heels and flatforms waft in an out of fashion. They are having their fashion moment now because of the strong influence of ‘90s fashion. The appearance of a platformed shoe is chunkier than a shoe without a platform, which is something you either like or not. Of course, platformed footwear can be subtle, moderate or extreme. 

Platforms have their advantages. When they are extreme, they make a dramatic statement. When the fit, heel heights, and silhouette details are right for your feet, they can feel substantial, comfortable, and supportive. They are fab for Team Chunky Footwear. They add height to your outfit. Platformed footwear can also be a way of wearing a higher heel in a more comfortable way. If you want to add height to your outfit without arching your feet in heels, a flatform is one way to go.

Platforms also have their disadvantages. They can be hard to walk in, heavy, uncomfortable, and too high in the heels. They might be overly chunky for your sartorial preferences. And sometimes, the soles of flatforms are made of a material that does not adequately flex as you stride, which can make walking odd, unnatural, and a little treacherous.

Personally, I bat for Team Dainty Footwear so platformed footwear doesn’t feature strongly in my style. That said, I’ve had my fair share of Dr. Martens over the decades, which I wore with joy. I currently have a pair of cream lug-soled combat boots that are a couple of years old, and I love them. They are very comfortable and weatherproof. I also have two pairs of weatherproof oxfords, which I’ve been wearing a lot this Spring. I’m not sure they qualify as platformed shoes, but they are the thickest heeled shoes I have.

Over to you. What do you think of the platform and flatform trends? Do you wear them?