There’s no denying that platform shoes are back in style, what with the myriad of options available. And really, what’s not to love? They add just the right amount of heft to delicate skirts, flowing dresses, and tailored suits alike. “After years spent inside in comfort-focused clothing and footwear, consumers are ready to go all out in their forms of dress but are not parting completely with some added comfort,” Amelia Ansink, Senior Strategist of Accessories at trend forecasting agency Fashion Snoops, tells Byrdie. “Platforms speak to this happy medium. They’re distinctly more comfortable than other heels like stilettos but still pack a powerful punch.”
They’re also practical, as they offer more support than stilettos, which aren’t good for your feet (or sense of balance, to say the least). “Platforms can be better in certain instances than thin heels because they give a greater surface area to spread out body weight,” says New York City–based podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, DPM.
Standout platform silhouettes run the gamut in terms of style, Ansink says, from metallic “distinctly Studio 54–esque” pumps to edgy loafers; sculptural Mary Janes; and sleek, ’90s-inspired boots—all of which you can find in this roundup of the best platform shoes to buy and wear throughout the year.
Stuart Weitzman Skyhigh Patent Ankle-Strap Platform Pumps
Add flair to your cocktail and going-out attire with these shiny stompers. They’re a staggering 5.75 inches tall and include 2.25-inch platforms. So, in terms of pressure on your feet, they should feel as if you’re wearing 3.5-inch heels with no platforms. Appealing to the Mary Jane shoe trend, they feature low ankle straps for added support. We love that you can wear them with everything from sweet minidresses to sultry slips.
Price at time of publish: $575
Size Range: EU35–42 | Heel Height: 5.75 inches | Platform Height: 2.25 inches
Mango Block Heel Shoe
If you’re not looking to make such a steep investment into a pair of platforms, worry not; Mango makes a similar style for a fraction of the price and a slightly lower heel height. The brand’s Block Heel style features four-inch heels and platforms with an undisclosed height (though we’d bet they’re roughly one and a half inches). They also feature square toes and ankle straps to keep your feet in place. Wear them with your favorite LBDs from the start of the year through the holiday season.
Price at time of publish: $100
Size Range: 5–10 | Heel Height: 4 inches | Platform Height: Not listed
Bottega Veneta Mostra Leather Mary Jane Platform Pumps
Bottega Veneta brought the Mary Jane pump to a new level in its Fall/Winter 2022 collection with these Mostra Leather Pumps. We love them not only for their exaggerated take on the traditional style but for their sculptural, curved heels. They make a statement, which is why we think they could be worth the splurge.
Price at time of publish: $1,600
Size Range: IT35–42 | Heel Height: 6.3–6.7 inches | Platform Height: 2.4 inches
Proenza Schouler Forma Leather Platform Mule Sandals
Proenza Schouler mastered platform mule sandals with its Forma style. The open-toe shoes are made from supple leather and feature thick, five-inch block heels. Wear them with a pair of barrel or cigarette trousers and a T-shirt or a breezy midi dress.
Price at time of publish: $750
Size Range: EU35–41 | Heel Height: 5.3 inches | Platform Height: Not listed
Aeyde Bibi Clogs
What is a platform shoes roundup without a pair of clogs? Laurel Pantin, who is the editor-at-large of the Austin-based luxury boutique ByGeorge recently included these in her newsletter, Earl Earl.
Price at time of publish: $375
Size Range: EU35–42 | Heel Height: 2.25 inches | Platform Height: 0.75 inches
Simon Miller High Raid Boots
Digital creator and fashion influencer Angela Fink says these ’90s-style Simon Miller leather boots are her absolute best pair of platform shoes. She loves them for their comfort, tall but manageable height of 4.5 inches, and softly rounded shape that doesn’t smash toes.
Price at time of publish: $670
Size Range: 5–15 | Heel Height: 4.5 inches | Platform Height: 2.25 inches
Swedish Hasbeens Merci Sandals
If you thought you’d retired your Swedish Hasbeens a decade ago or longer, then think again. This is a perfect opportunity for their resurgence, especially if you’re looking for open-toe shoes with the reinforcement of ankle straps. Wear yours with breezy dresses in the summer and with jeans in the fall. As the weather cools, you can pull a Sarah Jessica Parker and add a pair of socks.
Price at time of publish: $300
Size Range: 7–11 | Heel Height: 3.5 inches | Platform Height: 1.25 inches
Castañer Chiara 80 Canvas Wedge Espadrilles
Castañer’s espadrilles have been worn by so many stylish women throughout history, including Grace Kelly, Penélope Cruz, and Laura Harrier. The Chiara, specifically, is among the brand’s tallest platform shoes, made from durable canvas and set on woven three-inch wedges. Be sure to knot the ankle ties in a bow when you wear them with breezy summer dresses and skirts.
Price at time of publish: $145
Size Range: IT35–41 | Heel Height: 3 inches | Platform Height: 1 inch
Best Fisherman Sandals
Tory Burch Fisherman Platform Espadrille
These platform fisherman sandals are perhaps the most practical and responsible option on this list. They’re essentially flatforms, which means they have very thick soles that are equally thick at the front and back so the feet are almost flat inside and have the most space to distribute your body weight. We love them down to the jute and leather materials, which are perfect to round out your simple jeans and white T-shirt look in the spring.
Price at time of publish: $189 on sale
Size Range: 5–11 | Heel/Platform Height: 1.7 inches
Reformation Agathea Chunky Loafer
Reformation reimagined your standard penny loafers with small but sturdy lug sole platforms, in various colors and prints. (The leopard is Gigi Hadid’s favorite.) Aside from the aesthetic features, these shoes are made with Recouro-Regenerated leather (or a mix of recycled leather scraps, natural latex, and plant materials) as a part of the brand’s ethos.
Price at time of publish: $268
Size Range: 5–11 | Heel/Platform Height: 1.4 inches
Mango Heeled Sandal with Strass Strap
If you identify more with Carrie Bradshaw than you do with SJP, then these are the shoes for you. The towering metallic and bedazzled platform pumps are perfect for your more festive affairs.
Price at time of publish: $120
Size Range: 5–10 | Heel Height: 4.72 inches | Platform Height: Not listed
Best Patent Leather
Larroudé Olivia Platform Pump
Larroudé took your sweet Mary Janes and made them a little bit punk. We love this style in the white patent leather for a striking contrast against the black four-inch lug sole. For comfort, the brand promises that its signature insoles with memory foam cushions will minimize fatigue.
Price at time of publish: $315
Size Range: 5–11 | Heel Height: 4 inches | Platform Height: 2 inches
Mach & Mach Double Bow Crystal-Embellished Satin Platform Pumps
Tbilisi-based brand Mach & Mach has become a smash hit over its audacious crystal-embellished pointed stilettos. And now, the brand is giving its Cinderella aesthetic an edge by offering a platform iteration. Show them off with your best minidress.
Price at time of publish: $1,235
Size Range: IT35–42 | Heel Height: 5.5 inches | Platform Height: 2 inches
Best Mary Janes
Charles & Keith Patent Platform Mary Jane Pumps
Charles & Keith nailed these affordable Mary Jane platforms. For comparison, they’re slightly taller than Larroudé’s super-shiny lug sole option but feature angular square toes, glossy block heels, and silver hardware for a fraction of the price.
Price at time of publish: $60
Size Range: 4–11 | Heel Height: 4.3 inches | Platform Height: Not listed
Best Double-Strap Mary Jane
Nodaleto Bulla Babies Patent Leather Pumps
As we’ve seen the return of ballet flats and Mary Janes, there’s also been a rise in platform Mary Jane variations, Ansink points out. Example: Nodaleto’s Bulla Babies platform pumps, which the brand describes as “an anthem to childhood and adolescence.” They have two straps and rest on curved, 3.5-inch block heels and an inch-high platform. They’re perfect for everything from jeans to dresses.
Stuart Weitzman’s Skyhigh Ankle-Strap Platform Pumps, which come in several patent leather colors from black and nude to red and white, are the perfect party platforms. Style-wise, they appear as a more versatile version of Versace’s TikTok-famous Medusa Aevitas pumps, which are over six inches tall and retail for double the price. For a similar style that costs a fraction of the price ($100), there’s Mango’s Block Heel Shoes, offered exclusively in glossy black and nude, which will go with everything from mini skirt suits to straight-leg trousers.
Meet the Expert
- Amelia Ansink is a senior strategist of accessories at the trend forecasting agency Fashion Snoops.
- Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, is a New York City–based podiatrist.
- Angela Fink is a digital creator and fashion influencer.
- Elizabeth Semmelhack is the Director and Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada.
What to Look for in a Pair of Platform Shoes
Timelessness vs. trendiness
“Any kind of sandal platform feels the most timeless, in my opinion, as this style seems to always find its way into collections, regardless of the season, thanks to its versatility,” Ansink says. On the other side of the spectrum, though, platform wedges have only recently come back in style, she points out. “Wedges seem to rotate in and out of trend cycles quicker than more established footwear like platforms, so I predict these shoes [will] have short-lived relevance [this time around too].”
Fink recommends creating a budget, factoring in the above. “If you will wear this item for seasons to come, raise your budget. If this feels like a brief moment for you, then lower your budget,” she says.
Although platforms are better for your feet than a narrow pair of stilettos, Sutera says these shoes can still have their drawbacks—in other words, not all platforms are created equal. In looking for a pair, consider the true heel height, which is the distance between the heel and the toe rather than the floor and the heel. For the most accurate heel height, place the shoe on a flat surface or tabletop, then measure from the back and bottom of the heel to the point where the heel block connects to the front shoe seam.
In addition, make sure the shoes don’t feel too stiff, as a lack of flexibility at the ball of the foot could cause extreme discomfort. The best pairs will have a supple leather lining or a patented foam cushion for shock absorption, like those offered by Larroudé.
Where did platforms originate?
According to Elizabeth Semmelhack, Director and Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum, platform shoes go at least as far back as Ancient Greece. “Aphrodite was sometimes depicted wearing them. They were also worn by the Roman women, and platforms remained in fashion until the late 16th century in both the Iberian and Italian peninsulas,” she says, highlighting that some platforms in Venice reached as high as 22 inches. Since then, however, they’ve fallen in and out of favor over decades. They became unpopular in the early 17th century and only came back into fashion in the 1930s. Then, they remained popular until the late 1940s and came back in style in the 1970s, were somewhat popular in the 1990s, and were once again popular in the mid-2000s—hence the mélange of aesthetics that have reappeared today.
How do you style a pair of platform shoes?
Platforms can be styled in many different ways depending on the exact shoe style and your wardrobe, and the platform shoe you choose should be something that you can easily mix into your wardrobe. “Don’t get pulled by a trend or a sale,” says Fink. “Stay true to yourself and your style.” So if you’re big on jeans, T-shirts, and low-heeled shoes, go for Reformation’s Agathea Chunky Loafer or Tory Burch’s Fisherman Platform Espadrille. On the other hand, if you’re looking to beef up your partywear, go for Mach & Mach’s Double Bow Crystal-Embellished Satin Platform Pumps or something similar.
Why Trust Byrdie
Hayley Prokos, Byrdie’s Associate Fashion Commerce Editor, wrote this article. She researched the best platform shoes of the season and interviewed a mix of fashion and foot experts to explore subtopics such as the aesthetic design, physical comfort, potential health hazards, and longstanding history of platform shoes.