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The history of platform shoes, my favorite pairs, and why I like them

The history of platform shoes, my favorite pairs, and why I like them

Platform shoes have an obvious thick sole and have become known in many cultures. It has become an iconic item in wardrobes and closets throughout history. So, before I share my favorite pairs and why I like them, let’s learn the history and how they originated over the last 2000 years.

Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, raising the height of important characters in Greek theatre. Actors would wear leather sandals with cork platforms called the Cothurnus in 220 B.C. They would remain as tall as six inches, the Cothurnus’ height dictates how important the actor’s character was. The more central the protagonist, the taller the shoe, and the easier he would be to see. 

The Middle East and the Middle Ages

Then, in the Middle East, people would decorate wooden stilts with shells and ivory and worn in public bathhouses to protect their feet against heated and wet floors in the 1300s. When people walked in them, the platforms would make a clapping sound. So, they would refer to this pair as kabkabs.

During the Middle Ages, on the other hand, nobility and peasantry alike wore elevated platform shoes they call pattens. They would wear these outdoors to keep them elevated from all the muck and dirt on the street.

French Nobility

In the 1400s, pattens eventually became more elaborate. In 1547, Queen of France Catherine de Medici wore chopines to give her 4’11” frame a boost and became a tool to enforce her power. This, then, started the trend among the French nobility. She was really short and knew she needed to do her best to captivate attention and make herself noticeable in the French court. She would even wear the most extraordinary and opulent dress one could imagine, filled with embroidered jewels and intricate designs. 

Peking Opera

When the Peking Opera became popularized in the 1700s, male actors would wear silk platform boots. As in the case of Greek thespians, the higher the sole, the more important the player, and the less likely they would have to perform acrobatic flips that lower players’ characters had to do.

As Fashion-Forward Statement Pieces

Then, the 1930s came along and Salvatore Ferragamo took it as a fashion-forward statement with the rainbow-colored cork sandal heels.

Of course, the 1970s came with disco — both men and women indulged in high-heeled platform sandals and shoes.

Vivienne Westwood made the platform shoe come back in the 1990s. And, yes – it did make supermodel Naomi Campbell trip on the runway.

Then, the Spice Girls popularized the leather platform shoes even more – in their own ways.

The Doc Martens appeared within the grunge community, further cementing the relationship between the brand to teenage rebels and music among the younger audience. 

See Also

My favorite pairs of platform shoes:

Similar to the Queen of France Catherine de Medici (not her scheming and plotting – no), I wanted to be taller and captivate the attention of people around me. It’s a little bit narcissistic. But, it’s true. Platform shoes give me this sort of confidence that makes me feel me.

Converse Run Star Motion

I have been looking for a pair of Converse Run Star Motion in stores. However, I couldn’t find it. Thankfully, my boyfriend found a pair on ZPT PH. So, of course, when I received them, I felt happily overwhelmed. And, it’s insane. The shoes were bulky and it was perfect for me. I liked the way it made me feel tall. Converse gave this pair a streetwear look. Plus, I can get tons of outfits with these. 

Dr. Martens 1461 Bex Smooth Leather Platform Oxford

Although I wanted a pair of Dr. Martens Audrick Nappa Lux Leather Platform Boot, Dr. Martens 1461 Bex Smooth Leather Platform Oxfords became the best choice due to their versatility. I can wear it to work, I can wear it to events, and I can wear it for a day outside. Of course, because of their versatility, I can style them however I want. I can dress it up or dress it down. And, it’s just perfect for me.

Unbranded Platform Mary Janes

The Mary Janes became a famous part of flappers’ ensembles in 1920. However, it became popular in the late 1990s and 2000s within punk rock, psychobilly, and goth subcultures. However, the 2020s came around and made them more feminine and stylish with platform versions. And, this is a pair I bought from an online marketplace that I no longer support. They’re a perfect pair for fancier events that require a fancier pair. 

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