For her wedding to Brooklyn Beckham, Nicola Peltz wore an elegant Valentino gown and a pair of enormous Versace platform shoes. We are talking serious stompers, here. If I say the words “Elton” and “John”, you get an idea of the scale of this headline-grabbing, special occasion footwear.
All of which is fine if you’re a multi-millionaire starlet with a limousine/helicopter/private jet waiting to whizz you to the next event. (Or a pop star sitting at a piano...) But who else would risk life and limb shuffling around on a pair of sky-high, clod-hoppers?
While 2022 feels like the 1970s in many respects, I will not be wearing platform shoes with my flared jeans this summer. Experience tells me that this is a one-way ticket to the physiotherapist’s clinic, with more money going on treatment than on the ankle-twisting footwear itself. “The higher the platform, the more dangerous they become,” concurs Emma McConnachie, spokesperson for the Royal College of Podiatry.
“The big risk is sprained and broken ankles, but platforms also prevent the foot from flexing and moving naturally and they are heavy on the feet.”
There are other types of footwear that can quite literally elevate a look and not leave you in A&E. Much better to opt for a simple wedge or flatform sandal with adjustable straps to hold your foot in place. “Your foot shouldn’t be slipping and sliding about in sandals,” continues McConnachie, “they should be able to stay on your feet without you needing to claw your toes to keep them on.”
Which is why my sandal of choice is a low-rise style with a stompy sole, the kind of shoe that brings a little attitude to an outfit and is versatile enough to wear with wafty summer dresses, wide-leg linen trousers and rolled-up jeans. “What has changed is that the sole has become chunkier and more comfortable to allow for the rugged impact of the streets,” says Tim Little, creative director at Grenson. “It’s such a versatile design it works in the city and on summer holiday – and even crosses over into winter with a pair of chunky socks.”
As a comfy shoe lover, I will always lean in to a sporty-looking style, but flatform sandals are not entirely risk-free. “Some thickness on a sole is good for cushioning, but you do need footwear to be able to bend at the right point or have a rocker shape to help your big toe joint propel you forward,” advises McConnachie.
The podiatrist recommends holding the shoe at the toe and heel and gently bending to check before buying. It should flex at the ball of your foot. If the sole looks like a brick and feels like a brick... For extra malleability, I’d recommend sandals with grooves in the sole, like the Grenson’s I’m wearing. And I have it on good authority that Jo Whiley packed a pair of these for this year’s Glastonbury. Yes, you can rock out in a pair of comfortable flatforms. How groovy is that?
Three fabulous flatform tips
“When it comes to the footbed, some shaping to it is a big plus,” advises McConnachie. “Ideally the sandal would have Velcro or buckle straps across the foot to help ensure a good fit. A strap around the ankle to keep your foot in place would be a plus.”
Colour me comfy
For versatility, I always prefer tan or white leather summer sandals – but it’s fun to rev things up with a colourful tread or sole. Try Camper, Teva and Birkenstock for snazzy flatform sandals you can walk in. Roll up your jeans or wear with cargo pants.
Go big or go home
Play off the larger proportions by teaming chunky sandals with a flared skirt, slouchy jeans and wide-leg trousers.
Go for a looser fitting silhouette to stop your feet looking gigantic – skinny jeans are a definite no-no!
Four of the best chunky sandals
Complete the look
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