The Return of the Dreaded Platform Shoes

When my daughter was in middle school, all of the 8th grade students did a project called “Dancing Through the Decades” in which they learned about the history and culture of each decade of the 1900’s. This took place in their history, art, literature and P.E. classes. Each class was assigned a decade and had to learn all they could of that decade that they shared with the rest of the school via a dance recital. Courtney’s class had the 70’s and learned to dance “The Hustle”. Of course, they also had to look the part, each wearing costumes from that era. So off to the second hand stores we went, where we found a very ugly polyester dress and a pair of black platform shoes. Courtney loved these shoes, and long after this assignment was over, she was still wearing them.
But I shuddered at the memories of the 70’s. While I did like, and wear, platform shoes during that time, the 70’s was not my favorite decade. I have much fonder memories of the 50’s and 60’s.

I did like platform shoes as they made my short 5’4″ frame appear much taller. But as a webpage called “Bad Fads” states, platform shoes were often “referred to as ‘the Elevated Orthopedic Nightmare'”. Platform shoes became popular in the early 70’s, for both men and women. The shoes came in many different styles from slide on mules to ankle wrapped straps. Some had vivid colors and patterns, with finishes of suede, patent leather and glitter. My favorites were a brown suede mule with 2 inch platforms and 4 inch heels. Due to many injuries to ankles and toes, they went out style until a brief comeback in the 1990’s.

To my dismay, I’ve discovered that platform shoes are making a big return today, being advertised to high school girls as the perfect shoe for the spring prom season. The platforms on these shoes are even higher than the ones we wore 30 years ago, with current platforms as high as five inches tall! I would love to see anyone walk in these, let alone dance. But as they say, ‘everything old is new again’… I guess that means broken toes and sprained ankles, too.

Jan 25, 2004
I wrote this article for an online magazine a few years ago…



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