Platform Purchasing and the Evolution of the Heel

Okay, so who remembers prom in the late ’90s? Our hair was curled into totally unnatural “up-dos;” we wore sashes around our necks to match our dresses (Indian-wedding-like) and strappy, strappy shoes with a thick, tall heel and NO PLATFORM. OH… THE PAIN OF NO PLATFORM! Just like everything else (i.e. laptops, hair removal, the cell phone), the heel seems to be continuously evolving.

Yum, these are PHENOMENAL

Yum, these are PHENOMENAL

I wanted to take a second to give props to the shoe designers who, in the last 10 years, have realized the importance of adding a platform to our shoes to make them more comfortable while also allowing us to wear taller, sex-pot heels.  Some of these designer brands are: Louboutin, Prada, Dior, Gucci, Brian Atwood, and the queen… YSL.  Also, you absolutely don’t have to dip in the designer pot for heels to die for (as always, the big designers just drove the trend). Some great, moderately priced platform heel brands are: L.A.M.B, Dolce Vita, Ash, Pour La Victoire, Jessica Simpson, Carlos Santana, and yes… Forever 21’s accessory line “For Love 21.”

I know platforms have been around forever and every hippie had them, but why are we only recently adding them to our designer heels? Jimmy Choo just started doing it two years ago. The same is true with Manolo Blahnik and Giuseppe Zanotti. I don’t care how beautiful the shoe or the fact that Pigmies sewed the delicate leather by hand using nothing but wasp stingers and 24 karat thread, why spend the money to be uncomfortable the second you put them on?

Brian Atwood platform “Electra” booties

Brian Atwood platform “Electra” booties

An example of an “oh so hot, but painful” Giuseppe Zanotti shoe… sans platform

An example of an “oh-so-hot, but painful” Giuseppe Zanotti shoe…sans platform

I actually have some personal rules I follow when heel shopping. By no means feel the need to adopt these rules, but they make me more “comfortable in my purchase.”  If I go over these rules in my head, I’m way less likely to make an impulse purchase just based on how hot they are. Um, we know how deadly it can be to act on impulse JUST based on how hot something or someone is….

1)    If it’s a heel over three inches, I won’t consider it if it has no platform.
2)    If it’s a 5 inch heel, then I need to have a 1 ½ inch platform.
3)    If it’s over 3 inches it better have a back on it (did I mention I hate clogs).
4)    I have a thin heel and wider front so there are certain brands I won’t even consider because I know they weren’t designed for my foot shape.
5)    If it’s a peep-toe bootie or pump, chances are I’ll take a ½ size down because my foot is pushed forward by the heel’s arch.

A great example of a comfortable, work appropriate, platform pump—Stuart Weitzman “stilts” platform pump

A great example of a comfortable, work-appropriate, platform pump: Stuart Weitzman “stilts” platform pump

So I went to an event this weekend and wore one of my highest heels (almost 6 inches I think). Ruthie Davis (sushi platforms) that were black patent Mary Janes with neon green soles.  You know what? They were comfortable because Ruthie Davis makes a hell of a platform.

Ruthie Davis (sushi platforms)

Do you have “heel rules”? Do you have comfortable brands you swear by (ie. you could put them on and jog a 5k)? I would love to hear about them. And as always, keep counting!


  1. Ann Marie says

    Oh you know I heart high heels and platforms! When you’re married to a man that’s a foot and a half taller you must have heels. I would were my heels to the park if I could. When ballet flats came out it took me forever to conform. I even wore my 4 inch heels to work 9 months pregnant. I don’t have any heel rules, other than the taller the better, but I could jog in plenty of my sassy pumps. Great blog Chelsea!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *