Platform Heels – History

Lot of people do think that platform shoes were popular only in the 70’s.

However: Here is a little outline of where platform shoes came about. You might be surprised that back in 1600 platform heel was popular. The platform shoe of the 1400s to 1600s was called the chopine, “an overshoe”. This design basically protected the feet from the mud and the dirt. The material used for the heel of these platforms were cork or wood (which were very thick and heavy) with a velvet coat.

These platform soles became a symbol of wealth and social standing for Venetian women back in 1660s. What might shock you is that the platform sole would reach up to 30 inches high and made it almost impossible for these women to walk in their shoes, so they needed assistance to walk anywhere which made this shoes impractical.

It is important to note that these platforms had a flat insole (interior bottom of the shoe). What this means is that the platforms of 1660s had no support for the feet. If a woman had a high arch, then she would have suffered a lot from wearing a shoe that had a flat insole.

It is amazing how shoes evolved since 1660s and how advanced the shoe industry has become. We should consider ourselves lucky to be living in this day and age.

In the late 1930s the platform shoes came back in style with a more feminine look than the chopines. Also the new platform designs were more practical and mostly were make with cork and not wood.

The major designer of platform shoes back in 1930s were Salvatore Farragamo (Italian designer 1898-1960), Andre Perugia, and David Evins.

Each contributed unique styles to the platform shoe sensation of the 30s.

Thanks to these designers the insole of the shoe started to have the form of the foot and looked much more advanced than the chopines.

No other date in our history can represent platform shoes better than the 1970s. This was when platform shoes were fashionable. Everybody wore platform shoes including Pop artists.

Remember Gene Simmons in the rock band “KISS”? People wore platforms to supermarkets, to work, to disco’s and almost everywhere. I remember even my father had a pair of platform shoes he wore to work. We have a picture of it and it is kind of cool.
Remember the movie Saturday Night Fever?? When I ask people who are from that genre what do they remember from the 70s, one of the first things they remember is the platform shoes.

If you look at the pictures of the platform shoes from 70s you will see how beautiful and how advanced the platforms were made.

They were made in beautiful colors and all kinds of designs. I have couple of pairs of platform shoes and boots that look just like the platforms of the 70s.

The platforms were once again back in the 1990s. This time there was a different approach to the platforms. They were more refined and less bulky and no “psychedelic” colors as it was back in the 70s.

The difference between the platform shoes in the 70s vs. the 90s was that in the 90s mostly young people wore platform shoes. Young people like high school kids and college students, me included. I remember when I was buying platform shoes (which was all there was for a woman in their 20s) my mom would say what are these bulky shoes you are buying.

Another words it was the young generation that wanted to wear these platforms and had fun with it and be “hip”. The platform design also changed in the 90s.

The heels weren’t the same as they were in the 70s. Of course there were really high (8inches) platforms with funky designs but they were considered fetish shoes and you wouldn’t see anybody wearing those on the street. (note: I will have a separate blog for fetish shoes) I bought few pairs which had wooden sole and have leather straps or upper.

2 Responses to “Platform Heels – History”

  1. Regy Says:

    About platforms my idea is that a thin one like a up to 1/2″ platform is Ok. for easer wearing purposes if you have a tiny foot for a fine 4 1/2″ heel, but increasing the platform height is not good for me, it gives the idea that she looks like an ill person with a shorter leg or something else.
    Nothing is more teasing than to see a pretty gal walking in wobbling steps with her archs completely bent, and with her insteps showing an ultra sexy curve ahead, forced to little steps by her ultra high heels. Take care, that a little foot with a 4 1/2″ heel is as sexy and beautiful than a long foot with a 6″ heel.

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