Platform Shoe / Platform Shoes Definition
Platform shoes are shoes, boots, or sandals with thick soles, often made of cork, plastic, rubber, or wood (wooden-soled platform shoes are technically also clogs), generally worn strictly for fashion, and/or added height. They have been worn in various cultures since ancient times.
Platform shoes enjoyed some popularity in the United States in the 1930s, 1940s, and very early 1950s, but not nearly to the extent of their popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, when the biggest, and most prolonged, platform shoe fad in U.S. history occurred, beginning sometime between 1969 and 1973, and lasting until sometime between 1987 and 1990.
The most popular style of the time was a simple quarter-strap sandal with light tan water buffalo-hide straps (which darkened with age), on a beige suede-wrapped cork wedge-heel platform sole. These were originally introduced under the brand name, "Kork-Ease," but the extreme popularity (perhaps fueled by their light weight and soft leather) supported many imitators. Remarkably, even including all of the knock-offs, and given that they are said to have never been formally designed there was very little variation in style, and most of that variation was limited to differences in height.
As the fad progressed, manufacturers like Candie's stretched the envelope of what was considered too outrageous to wear, while others, like Famolare and Cherokee of California, introduced "comfort" platforms, designed to combine the added height of platforms with the support and comfort of sneakers, or even orthopedic shoes, and by the time the fad finally fizzled in the late 1980s, girls and women of all ages were wearing them. It may also be a by-product of this fad that Scandinavian clogs, which were considered rather outrageous themselves in the early 1970s, had become "classic" by the 1980s.
Platform shoes began to resurface in the late 1990s, and had firmly reestablished themselves in the fashions of the early 21st century, with a much higher threshold of what was considered outrageous: mothers of 2003 and 2004 typically think nothing of buying their preschool-age daughters platform sandals that parents of 1973 would not have wanted their high-school-age daughters wearing, and the Walt Disney Company has licensed Mickey Mouse cutouts and "Disney Princess" images on footwear that, thirty years ago, would have been considered totally inappropriate for the company's "wholesome" image.