Swearing off stilettos? Flatforms offer height, comfort

Nikia Jefferson
Tribune Content Agency

When it comes to wearing high heels, the struggle is real. Regardless of who designed them or how much you paid for them, after wearing heels for an extended amount of time, comfort levels decrease significantly and you start to question why you continue to buy them. This is exactly why I am an avid fan of the ongoing trend in footwear, the flatform. For those of us who are vertically challenged, any opportunity to add a little height without compromising on comfort is a winner. And the flatform does exactly that.

The origin

The term “flatform” is a combination of the words “flat” and “platform.” Although flatform is the buzzier term to use when describing this style of shoe, many are more familiar with their original name, creepers.

Creepers date back to the mid-1940s, when British soldiers rocked them in London nightclubs after returning home from World War II. At the end of that decade, U.K. footwear brand, George Cox, would be the first to introduce the style to the fashion world. However, it wasn’t until nearly 20 years later that creepers gained some notable traction. Thanks to musician Malcolm McLaren and designer Vivienne Westwood, they became a fashion staple for those immersed in the worlds of punk and Goth. The shoes continued to be associated with that culture until Prada decided to send platform brogues down the runway for their Spring 2011 show. Their refined, menswear-inspired design had broad appeal, but it was the Stella McCartney version (from Spring 2014) that catapulted flatforms into the mainstream.

McCartney’s faux leather brogues with wooden and rugged rubber heels may still be at the top of every fashionista’s must-have list, but for those looking for something a little more budget-friendly, there are a ton of options available now.

They’re everywhere

Yes, the trend may have started with platform brogues and oxfords, but you can also find sneakers and sandals with super thick soles. Since summer has officially arrived, flatform sandals are a dime a dozen these days. And since we are in the middle of designer sale season, you can find sandals by Marni, Stella McCartney and Isabel Marant at a serious discount. For even better prices, look to Sole Society, Vince and two of my favorite U.K. retailers, ASOS and Office.

Sneakers and brogues are practically season-less, especially in neutral colors. Brands that are currently carrying affordable platform sneakers are H&M, Keds and Superga. For brogues, Opening Ceremony is at the top of the list (and also on sale). Following close behind are River Island, Shelly’s London and, once again, Vince.

Besides the fact that almost every retailer is carrying some form of flatform, are you noticing a pattern here? Unsurprisingly, majority of the brands that are doing flatforms affordably well are U.K.-based. With it being the birthplace of creepers, it only makes sense.

Now, if you’re struggling to figure out how to wear flatforms, just know that they work well with almost any outfit that shows a little bit of ankle (e.g., cropped jeans or trousers, shorts, skirts and dresses). And to avoid breaking your ankles or walking around like Frankenstein’s monster, stick to shoes that have a soft leather upper and a flexible sole. Trust me, no trend is worth that level of awkwardness.