Best Platform Shoes Reviewed & Rated
They say history often repeats itself and platform shoes are no exception. Gaining popularity in the 1970s, these thick-soled shoes were all the rage at the discotheque, with partygoers using them to attract attention to themselves on the dance floor. Glam rock icons, such as David Bowie, further popularized the platform style and widened their appeal to those outside the disco culture. Trending in 2018, platforms can give a breath of fresh air to a closet littered with strappy heels and slide sandals.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 100 hrs of research
Low-Top for Easy On/Off
Lace-Up for Snugness
- Puma Basket Platform
- Chinese Laundry Teaser
- Michael Kors Warren Slide
- Jessica Simpson Waleo
- Birkenstock Papillio
- Naturalizer Pressley
- G by Guess Seany
- Steve Madden Gills
- Jessica Simpson Bansi
- Nine West Carnation
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Puma Basket Platform
Low-Top for Easy On/Off
Lace-Up for Snugness
From a global sports brand which successfully fuses athletics, lifestyle, and fashion, we have the Puma Basket Platform. It is a design classic, now with added height thanks to the creeper sole. The upper is metallic, contrasted with white branding and waxed laces. With the iconic lateral Puma Formstrip and feminine flair, these sneakers are all about attitude and making strong fashion statements.Read more
The platform sole of the Puma Basket Platform adds height to anyone who might wish for those couple of extra inches. However, aside from boosting your height, the chunky sole is also quite durable and wears well over time. The Puma Basket Platform comes with a lace closure in the front, which offers adjustability for a snug fit. Not too tight to constrict, but also not too loose so that you accidentally lose your shoe if you’re in a hurry!
Despite bearing the name of one of the most popular athletic brands in the world, the Puma Basket Platform is reasonably priced. It is sporty, stylish, will be a comfortable addition to your everyday style, and it won’t break your bank. A good deal!
2. Chinese Laundry Teaser
Open Toe Design
If your jaw dropped to the floor upon seeing these for the first time, don’t worry - ours did, too. Chinese Laundry is a fashion-forward footwear brand specializing in stylish daytime looks as well as dressy, innovative evening collections. The Chinese Laundry Teaser is an eye-popping sandal with overlapping straps over the toes, a high-gloss finish and an ankle strap with a buckle closure. It is sultry, it is smoldering, and you are sure to wow absolutely everyone in these stunning sandals.Read more
The benefit of the buckle closure on the ankle strap of the Chinese Laundry Teaser is that it enables you to adjust the fit according to your preference. Depending on the size of the ankle, you can go as tight or as loose as you’d like, without any problems!
Thanks to its sensual silhouette, the two-inch platform, and the 5.75-inch heel, the Chinese Laundry Teaser will make your legs look long and slender. There is a reason these heels have been consistently worn by Miss USA contestants, and now you can too look like a fashion model in them! Chinese Laundry, as a company, aims to deliver style and fashion at an affordable price, and their Teaser sandal is exactly that. You don’t have to re-evaluate your entire budget to get your hands on these striking sandals and trust us, they will be worth every cent.
3. Michael Kors Warren Slide
Makes Noise when Walking
Along with platform footwear, the slide sandal is also a hit this season, in all its open-toed backless glory. So why not combine the two? From a footwear label which offers chic and comfortable shoes that are always on trend, we present to you the Michael Kors Slide Sandal. This foot apparel comes with a 1.5-inch platform, a strap with a gold-tone MK logo-engraved accent and a corked footbed.Read more
Cork is used for insoles because of its elasticity, and ability to control climate and comfort. Cork footbeds are amazing absorbers of perspiration and are especially useful for diabetics, who should avoid stepping on plastic or synthetic materials for medical reasons.
It is a platform, sure, but because of the fact that the platform is combined with the heel, the Michael Kors Slide Sandal is actually a wedge. A wedge allows for even distribution of weight, making the step more secure, and taking that extra pressure off the front of your foot. Well, we are not surprised that the Michael Kors Slide Sandal is high in cost. With that logo on its strap, it is to be expected. Nevertheless, this sandal is comfortable, will keep your feet cool in warm weather and add a touch of summery sophistication to any outfit. Might just be worth the money!
4. Jessica Simpson Waleo
Sole Wears Out Easily
Jessica Simpson is famous for her fun, flirty style, and with her accessories label, she aims to bring this same style to her customers. The Jessica Simpson Waleo is truly a beautiful pump. It is clean, alluring, with a toe design between rounded and pointy, and a sky-high heel. The platform under the ball of the foot measures approximately 1.5 inches, while the heel itself is 4.75 inches. This footwear isn’t a show-stopper; you are sure to make quite an entrance in it!Read more
The upper of the Jessica Simpson Waleo is constructed out of genuine leather, which means that it is not only durable but that it also conforms to the shape of your foot. Thanks to this natural material, the comfort level of this pump is out of this world.
Speaking of comfort, it is good to know that the Jessica Simpson Waleo also features a lightly padded insole. This means that no matter how much you walk in these beauties, you won’t feel any pain or discomfort. Given the brand name stamped on the footbed of the Jessica Simpson Waleo and the high-quality genuine materials it is made of, the price of this pump is surprisingly low. Cost-wise, it sits in the mid-range, and if you’re into staggering heights and simple and trendy designs, this foot apparel is perfect for you.
5. Birkenstock Papillio
Soft, Suede Lining
Contours to Foot
You must have heard about Birkenstock, a German footwear manufacturer that has been selling their unique brand of sandals for over 240 years now. They owe their longevity to the exceptional quality of their footwear, as well as comfort that is hard to compete against. The Birkenstock Papillio is part of the Arizona collection, taken to new heights with the addition of a lightweight EVA platform midsole. The Birko-Flor upper and the suede lining round out this simple, practical and yet cute sandal.Read more
The upper of the Birkenstock Papillio is made of Birko-Flor, an easy-to-care-for PVC which has been linked with a soft, breathable layer of fleece on the inside. This material is gentle on the skin and comfortable, while also durable at the same time.
EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) is a high quality, very light, elastic material that provides shock absorption. It smoothes out irregularities in the floor and ensures that your every step is supported and lightly cushioned. Coming from a footwear label with such renown, centuries-old name, it is understandable that the Birkenstock Papillio is expensive. However, for this price, you’re getting a sandal constructed solely with your comfort in mind, made out of highest quality materials. If you’re looking for something functional and long-lasting, this is the foot apparel to go for.
6. Naturalizer Pressley
Naturalizer is a label which promises fresh, unpretentious designs that will be a smooth fit with your wardrobe, your life, and your own unique style. The Naturalizer Pressley is an effortless combination of elegance and comfort, a kind of chic that will suit both casual and formal occasions. It is outfitted with N5 Contour technology, has a three-inch heel and three-quarters of an inch platform. Practical and yet unbelievably comfortable!Read more
This type of contour technology is unique to the Naturalizer brand. It includes extra cushioning for shock absorption, breathable lining, a heel to toe balance for a stable heel strike, flexible soles and lightweight materials which ensure comfort without the added weight.
The straps of the Naturalizer Pressley are not there only to add a bit of a zing to the footwear’s appearance. They are carefully spaced out across the forefoot to offer you maximum support and stability as you walk. After we have listed all these dizzying benefits of the Naturalizer Pressley, you might be a bit weary of hearing about its price. Please don’t be! This sandal is comfortably in the mid-range, far from expensive, and we honestly don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t buy it.
7. G by Guess Seany
Block Heel for Stability
Adjustable Buckle for Snug Fit
G by Guess is a branch of the Guess label geared towards young, hip and trendy youths with an eye for the freshest looks and hottest styles. The G by Guess Seany sandal is elevated thanks to the approximately 1.5 inches platform and five-inch block heel, chunky and laid-back in design. Its upper is made of synthetic leather with a caged vamp and a slingback strap with a buckle closure.Read more
Key points which make the G by Guess Seany comfortable and easy to move around in are its faux wooden block heel, which prevents your foot from wobbling, the caged vamp, which secures the foot in the shoe and doesn’t let it slide forward as you walk, and its lightly padded footbed.
The G by Guess Seany is the perfect everyday summer shoe - it is simple, without any glitter or embellishments, and its relaxed design will complement every casual outfit you might have planned for hot weather. Compared to other shoes on our list, the G by Guess Seany is neither expensive nor too cheap. At first sight, it might not be anything special, but it is comfortable and won’t kill your feet while you go about your day. It goes well with jeans, shorts, skirts, and dresses, and you’re going to love them!
8. Steve Madden Gills
Rounded Toe Box
Stiff at First Wear
Steve Madden, the person, founded Steve Madden, the company, in 1990 in Brooklyn, when he started constructing trend-advancing footwear one at a time. Today, this label is known for its ‘dressy sneaker’, and the Steven Madden Gills is exactly that. It is an elevated slip-on sneaker with a 1.25-inch platform and a variety of luxurious surfaces for that trendy refined look.Read more
The goring panels in the upper of the Steve Madden Gills allow you to put it on quickly and take it off just as easily. A true life-saver if you’re always on the go and don’t have a minute to spare to fiddle with laces or unreliable zippers. The round toe, padded collar and lightly cushioned footbed all contribute to the comfort of the Steve Madden Gills. No matter where you go and what you do, trust this sneaker to keep away the pain and blisters while making you look fashionable at the same time.
Depending on the color and the choice of materials for the upper, the Steve Madden Gills can vary anywhere between low- to mid-range in cost. It is undoubtedly unique with its blend of casual and fancy, and decently comfortable - overall, a good value for the price!
9. Jessica Simpson Bansi
Buckle Closure for Snug Fit
Roomy Toe Box
It is safe to say we have yet to find heels which radiate more elegance and sophistication than the Jessica Simpson Bansi. This open toe T-strap vamp sandal is absolutely stunning with its design, a perfect blend of sexy, flirty and yet classy at the same time. The heel measures up to five inches, but thanks to the 1.25-inch platform under the ball of the foot, walking in these is a breeze.Read more
The T-strap of the Jessica Simpson Bansi allows you to modify the fit of the footwear, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally ordering half a size up or down. What’s more, the T-strap helps hold your foot in place, and doesn’t let it slide forward in the shoe.
We guarantee that there are very few high heels out there which are more comfortable than the Jessica Simpson Bansi. In large part thanks to the platform heel, in this sandal you will be able to walk, dance and prance around as much as you want, without worrying about any cramps or pain! For foot apparel that looks like a million dollars, the Jessica Simpson Bansi is unexpectedly inexpensive. Its middle price puts it in the same range as most of the other footwear on our list, and you can get yourself a pair of these captivating sandals without emptying your wallet.
10. Nine West Carnation
Adjustable Ankle Strap
Nine West is all about the runway - this footwear company pinpoints the must-have looks of the season and then translates what is fun, feminine and interesting to its window shops. The Nine West Carnation is a two-piece sandal featuring a two-inch platform and a five-inch heel. It comes with an ankle strap and a padded footbed and is an exquisite blend of style and comfort.Read more
Because the platform under the ball of the foot is two-inches and the heel height is five-inches - when wearing these staggeringly high heels, you’ll actually feel like you’re on mere three-inch heels. They’re chunky and stable and won’t give you any pain as you go about your day.
The padded footbed of the Nine West Carnation brings comfort and reduces any tension in your foot, while the ankle straps have an adjustable buckle, allowing you to tighten the fit or loosen it however much you want! We will be the first to admit that the Nine West Carnation is pricey. Perhaps even too pricey. It is from a well-known footwear brand, as well as comfortable and casually sexy in appearance, but there might be other shoes out there with a similar style and comfort level at a more reasonable price.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Platforms are defined as shoes with a sole anywhere between 1-4 inch in thickness, though it could also be more. This is a pretty broad definition, which means that there are many different types of platform soles. Each has its perks and drawbacks, and we thought it would be important to compile an overview of the most common platform soles and their characteristics.
Flat Platforms: As their name says, flat platforms are… flat. Usually found on sandals and sneakers, they are uniform in their thickness from toe to heel, and as a result quite comfortable to walk in.
However, bear in mind that walking for longer periods of time in completely flat soles, including flat platforms, can result in conditions such as plantar fasciitis and flatfoot if the insole of the shoe doesn’t have adequate arch support or cushioning.
Platform Heels: Probably the most common type of platforms. Platform heels vary in style and can be sandals, pumps, slingbacks etc. (more on that in the next section), but they also vary in the type of the heel itself. The general rule is that platform heels are comfortable to wear and cause minimal to no pain because of the raised ball of the foot area, which means there is less pressure on the front of the foot. Some types of platform heels are:
Wedges: The shoe which doesn’t have a discernible heel, the wedge is widely thought of as the most comfortable type of high heeled shoes. In it, your foot touches a lot of surface area, which allows for the strain to be taken off the ball of your foot, and they also command a wider footprint, meaning that your arch is well supported.
Chunky Heels: By ‘chunky heels’, we mean platform heels which have the well-known lift underneath the front, but which also have a boxy, chunky heel in the back. The thickness of the heel allows for a steady step, preventing wobbling and possible stumbling.
Stiletto Heels: The fact that platform stilettos have that added height under the toe area makes them far more comfortable than conventional stilettos.
However, it remains that the heel is thin down to a point, which doesn’t provide enough security as you walk. You need skill to be able to safely walk in these high heels, so make sure you practice at home.
Platform shoes come in all shapes and sizes, as you saw from our list. There is a platform shoe out there for every occasion – from the most mundane of tasks, such as picking up kids from soccer practice to the most glamorous of events, as a red carpet would be. With this in mind, we have strived to collect a wide selection of platform shoes, ones that would meet your needs, whatever they are. Here are types of platform shoes:
Sandal: The go-to type of footwear in spring and summer, sandals have always been a favorite. Their design allows the foot to mostly be exposed, which lets it breathe and keeps it cool and dry in hot weather. Furthermore, some foot conditions, such as ingrown toenails or athlete’s foot heal quicker if the foot isn’t restricted in a tight, damp environment. Different versions of sandals include:
Birkenstock: We felt like the Birkenstock deserved its own category in this section, as it is the original comfort shoe. This sandal isn’t particularly trendy or stylish, but it has been orthopedically designed for maximum comfort and support and will last much longer than a mere season or two. Regardless of its simple, utilitarian appearance, the Birkenstock has been a customer-favorite for literal centuries, and its platform version adds even more stability and shock-absorption while you walk if that’s possible.
Slide Sandal: As we have previously mentioned, slide sandals are also making a comeback this season. These types of sandals are backless and open-toed, similar to a mule. Their upper can cover almost the entire foot from ankle to toe, or they can have only one or two narrow straps. Usually, the straps are located across the toes and the lower half of the foot to hold the shoe to the foot. Their name, ‘slide sandals,’ stems from the fact that this shoe is easy to slide into at a moment’s notice. Thick soles add a bit of weight, but also more sophistication to the classic, rubber beach slide sandal.
Casual Heel: Platform soles are great for relaxed, everyday type of footwear because their heels can be blocky, chunky, and even uniformed, like in a wedge, for that easy-going, leisure vibe. Platform sandals with these kinds of heels are ideal for strolls around beach towns, for a coffee shop date with friends, and even for children playdates at the park. They go well with jeans and shorts and skirts and keep your feet effortlessly stylish while providing good ventilation to boot.
Fancy Heel: There is more than one type of a ‘fancy heel platform sandal’ on our list. These are not designed for casual wear but rather aimed at those who attend formal events, who enjoy a glitzy night out at the club and who wish to impress with their footwear. Usually, these types of sandals come with a stiletto heel in the back, and a high platform in the front for that added comfort. Their straps can have a unique pattern, and more often than not they come with a glossy finish – extra polished!
Sneaker: The ultimate casual shoe. What’s great about the sneaker is that it is so versatile – originally conceived as a sports shoe, now sneakers can be found in everyone’s wardrobe. There are sneakers for the gym, for long distance walking, fancier sneakers for chic casual outfits, sneakers for making a statement, and even sneakers for semi-formal events, paired with ball gowns or suits. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sneakers also come in a platform version. We think the platform soles bring a certain panache to the classic design of the sneaker, putting a twist on it and elevating its style. These shoes are not suitable for running, that’s for sure, but they are undeniably trendy.
Pump: Pumps are the closed-toed, sleek and simple shoes that fit many a woman’s need. They can be work-appropriate, fit for an office party, a birthday celebration, and especially for more glamorous, formal events, such as weddings and galas. Granted, platform pumps may not be the best for the workplace or any situation where it is advisable to look more business-like, but they do draw attention and look nothing short of stunning, even in their more basic, nude forms.
When we think about some of the hottest and most luxurious brands in the fashion industry, ones like Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Jimmy Choo might come to mind. A product is a promise made, but a brand is a promise kept; generation after generation. A brand and its label are a statement of quality, craftsmanship, and service found in each of its products.
When assessing the products on our list for “brand,” we took into account the quality of its products, its attention to detail and style, its reputation within the fashion industry, its commitment to customer service and its perceived luxuriousness and exclusiveness, to create an overall score for brand equity. Brand equity can loosely be defined as the pricing power a brand has in the marketplace due to each of the aforementioned factors.
So, while a product that scores high on this list may be gorgeous and exclusive, you can also bet it will much pricier, as well. After all, if everyone could afford it, it wouldn’t be exclusive or luxurious, would it? Be prepared to look amazing, but feel the pain at the bank, if a product scores high on this metric!
We all know how hard it can be sometimes to find the perfect pair of shoes that we not only love, but that also fit snugly and comfortably. With so many styles, brands, colors and models, how can one compare hundreds of supposed “size 6s”?
To assess for trueness-to-size, we considered the opinions of thousands of wearers from across the globe to find out the answer to the ultimate question: do these 6s fit like a 6? While some things can give you a hint as to whether they will fit true, small or large; like brand name, shoe type and year of make; we believe that the opinion of buyers cannot be wrong. If they say the shoe doesn’t fit the way it’s supposed to, then you won’t find it in our 10-best list.
You will find that a pair of shoes or boots or sandals that score high on this metric tend to experience a trueness-to-size that was verified by our large community of sampled buyers. Just don’t forget to take into account the factors above to also make sure your favorite pair will fit you perfectly.
The outsole, or more simply, the sole of the shoe, makes direct contact with the ground and therefore supports the entire foot and body when in motion. A poorly-constructed outsole will lead to discomfort, slipping and foot or other bodily injury. For this reason, many manufacturers use materials that are water-, weather-, heat-, and impact-resistant.
Depending on the type of footwear, one will often see outsoles made from natural or synthetic materials, such as PVC, EVA, rubber, and leather. Each of these has their advantages, depending on the shoe’s purpose; however, as a general rule, they each are resistant to the aforementioned factors. They are also flexible enough to support a proper foot cycle when in motion, but they are not so flexible that they feel like a pair of socks.
A sole made of the materials above tends to score higher on our product evaluations, as they are not only comfortable but also support other criteria, such as “support” and “durability.”
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Did you know? Platform heels are actually better for your Achilles Tendon, as they don't usually have the angle from the heel to toe that non-platform high heels do (especially over 3 inch heel height). This keeps the tendon stretched properly, and prevents it from tightening up.
While they may seem intimidating, walking in platform heels or sandals isn't as hard as you may think. While higher up from the ground, they can be quite well balanced, and just require a bit of practice around the house to master!
When picking out your new platform heels, go for something that allows a 'toe-off' movement in your walk. Usually these kinds of platforms have and angled up toe on the sole.
Other Factors to Consider
As you can see, platform shoes are diverse in their style, ranging from sandals to stilettos. Whatever your need or occasion, there is a pair out there waiting for you. If you are still not sure which pair you want, check out our list of criteria below that we used to evaluate and rank all the shoes on our list. We also have a handy FAQ to look through that can better guide you and assist in picking out that perfect pair of platforms. See you on the dance floor!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are platform shoes still in season?
We feel obligated to say that you shouldn’t restrict yourself to what’s in season, or what is currently trendy. If you’re in love with the platform shoe and want to wear it, by all means, go for it, regardless of the fashion craze at the moment! However, that being said, you will be pleased to know that the platform shoe is particularly in this 2018 spring/summer season. They have come back in style, with blocky heels and floral patterns to bring some freshness and much-needed funkiness to the runways!
q: Can platform shoes harm my health?
In theory, yes. The main feature of the platform shoe is its height. If it is a sandal or a pump, or even a tall wedge, there is always the risk of stumbling and falling, possibly even spraining an ankle in the process. So do be careful how you walk in these! Additionally, wearing heels of any kind, platform heels included, can lead to a condition called flatfoot. This occurs because you’re not actually using much of the muscles in your foot as you walk in high heels, resulting in the falling of your arches. To prevent this, try not to walk in platform heels for long periods of time.
q: What are hidden platform shoes?
Hidden platform shoes are ones where the platform isn’t immediately visible. They come in the form of high heels, where the material of the upper extends all the way down to the sole, covering up the platform and essentially making it seem like it is ‘inside’ the shoe as opposed to a very thick outsole. Another version of the hidden platform shoes are ones which have flat soles but are stacked inside, such as sneakers. These are mostly aimed towards men who wish to add some inches to their height without making it overtly obvious that they are wearing platform shoes.
q: Who created platform shoes?
Ah, right down to the history questions. As we mentioned before, platform shoes have been around since the ancient times, so in that regard, it is quite hard to tell who was the first person who invented them. However, a man named Moshe (Morris) Kimel is the one who made the first modern design of the platform shoe in the early 1930s. It was created specifically for the actress Marlene Dietrich, and very soon became incredibly popular among the Hollywood elite.