In search of cool platform sneakers

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I still get dressed in hard pants most days, and put on lipstick whether I’m planning to see anyone or not, but there is one way in which I have succumbed sartorially to the pandemic’s relaxed dress code, and that is that I only ever want to wear sneakers now. I don’t see that changing as we head into spring, when I usually default to clogs, which right now don’t feel like a sound footwear choice because of my knee issues. But clogs add height and sneakers usually don’t, which is why I went looking for platforms. And I found quite a few I liked, starting with theis snappy Stella McCartney for Adidas pair.

You can’t go too far wrong with a classic pair of Converse Chuck Taylors.

I like white sneakers but think they make me look like I have clown feet—who knows why—but for those can wear them, I present this pair from Soludos.

These Vans Old Skools are near the top of my list, and I think I might go for them: they’re well-priced and the canvas will be good for warmer weather.

How fun is this zebra-striped pair?

The color explosion on these Pumas may be a bit much, but looking at them makes me happy.

I have wanted a pair of these Nikes forever, but they are always sold out in my size in the black. Maybe you’ll be luckier. Or you could go for them in this lovely light pink.

The touches of fuzzy leopard print here are fun.

These grey suede slip-ons from Vince are about as elegant as a platform sneaker gets.

People love their Supergas, and I think the Italian brand is nicely Euro-chic.

These, from Madewell, have a slightly lower platform, and I dig the desert hues.

These have a slightly preppy vibe.

OK, I can’t quite decide if these are ugly or not, but they look so easy to just throw on, and deeply comfortable too.

And finally: a lower-than-high-top sneaker from Adidas that is very Tomboy cool.

 

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33 Thoughts on In search of cool platform sneakers
    Sheila
    24 Mar 2021
    11:38am

    Okay, I might be overstepping here but you’ve mentioned your knee a few times. I just had ankle ligament reconstruction surgery and one thing I’ve learned is how it’s all connected. You might want to slide a more supportive insole into your sneakers to give you more support (might help knee a bit?). I’ve found the superfeet insoles for women to be good. Also I was told by the podiatrist “no more clogs” last fall and it broke my heart.

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      Viajera
      24 Mar 2021
      12:18pm

      Sheila! Since you already mentioned superfeet, and you have a podiatrist, I’ll just mention that my green superfeet fit perfectly into my Sven clogs, and thus I have found at-home foot happiness. Of course, one has to be careful about the insole slipping. But, the combo is just the greatest. Btw, why did your podiatrist rule out clogs? Was it out of worry about the clog falling off and causing you to stumble? I am nosy, as you can see. Anyhow, of course you should listen to your podiatrist and not some random schmoe on the intergooglie. Backless clogs are sort of hazardous. … … … … Otoh, it is no easy feat to find a really good shoe made out of rubber, especially a sandal for when it gets hot. In fact, I have not yet found a decent sandal that is hard enough on the bottom and has good arch support, and doesn’t cover much of my foot. Or that would fit my insole. I may try calzuros. Oofos are good quality but very squishy. I haven’t gotten around to trying those Teva or Chaco styles, because they look like the arch won’t be high enough. … … … Since no one asked, I will say, ime I think podiatrists are great for diagnosis, but you need a good shoe person to actually *solve* the foot problem. In addition to going to the podiatrist first, it might be good to go to a good running store or an REI and have them watch you walk in your socks. And, don’t forget to take out the original insole *before* you put in the new one. Guess how I found that out?

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        cw
        24 Mar 2021
        1:40pm

        Viajera, I have a pair of Chaco sandals in the Z/Cloud style. They are ugly and there is no getting around that, BUT they have a high arch support and are extremely comfortable. Also, I bought them one size larger than my normal shoe size because I read they run small (this was almost three years ago so the company may have rectified that problem).You also don’t have to “fasten” them––they are permanently “buckled” and you just slide the buckle one way or the other to tighten or loosen (which was another selling point for me). Sidenote: if you are looking for insoles you can have them made specifically for your feet at a good sports store that sells ski boots––they take an impression of your foot so there is no guess work.

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          Viajera
          24 Mar 2021
          3:51pm

          Thanks, cw!!! So, would you characterize the bottom of the Chacos as being more on the firm side, or on the cushy/squishy side? (I don’t find them to be that bad-looking, actually … ) … … … I am not a fan of the squishy shoe anymore, but I am open to hearing another side of the matter. I haven’t worn sneakers in ages, but with my superfeet I probably could. It has been a couple years and my feet lately feel almost normal again. So I am thankful. Anyhow, thanks again for the input!! It’s really helpful. I don’t really enjoy shopping, especially now, so it is great to hear people’s thoughts.

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            cw
            25 Mar 2021
            9:58am

            Good question, Viajera…I did a comparison try on with my Birks and Havianas. More cushy than Birks, less cushy than Havianas. The sole is flexible, but firm not like a flip-flop that you could twist into a pretzel. And they wear really well. I would definitely buy another pair when these wear out. Hope that helps!

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        Sheila Murphy
        24 Mar 2021
        4:19pm

        Thanks so much, Viajera! I’ll check those out. My podiatrist and orthopedic surgeon determined I had chronic ankle instability and I had surgery to correct this in January so for now I’m all about the sneakers b/c I can wear them with my ankle brace. The podiatrist said clogs don’t have enough of a heel cup for me. But I can dream of clogs in the future!

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          Viajera
          24 Mar 2021
          7:41pm

          I am visualizing a fast recovery, Sheila!! It sounds like it is going well! And, these arrrrre really cute sneakers here. Good for you!

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      Kim France
      24 Mar 2021
      12:43pm

      Yeah, Sheila, I’m pretty sure my clog days are behind me too.

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        Pamela Boyd
        22 May 2021
        2:24am

        I have expanded my sneaker collection to include wedge heeled syles. They are comfortable and take away the awkwardness of “lift” inserts.

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        Sharona
        24 Mar 2021
        7:21pm

        Viajera, there definitely is at least one Teva sandal with great support. Terra? Tirra? Something like that. I bought and returned, but the arch wasn’t the issue.

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          Viajera
          24 Mar 2021
          7:41pm

          Good to know, thank you!

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        Sheila
        24 Mar 2021
        4:22pm

        Tragic! But the search for cool sneakers continues!

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    Ashley
    25 Mar 2021
    8:35am

    I have problematic knees/ankles in addition to extremely narrow Kermit the Frog feet, and the sneakers I swear by are Ecco Soft 7s. They come in a million colors. As for sandals, I went on what I refer to as “Sandal Quest” two years ago and ordered ten pairs from Zappos and the winners were (gulp) Naturalizers. They’re actually really cute and I get compliments on them all the time. Great arch support.

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    lc
    24 Mar 2021
    8:39am

    I didn’t expect to like platform sneakers, but the heavier shoe balances out my proportions better than a little sneaker and the extra shock-absorption helps my knees.

    One big complaint: most platform sneaker styles have the traditional white soles, just much thicker. That big block of white might look cute on smaller feet, but makes my size 10’s look huge (and I can’t keep white clean, anyway.) I had to really look around to find dark soles. They still look a bit Frankenstein-y, but that’s kind of my jam.

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    EW
    24 Mar 2021
    2:54pm

    I have the Vince Warrens – very comfy right out of the box with no socks!
    Also have the Nike AF1 in pink – perfect for just about anything

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    Robbi
    24 Mar 2021
    12:15pm

    Yay, Kim, thank you for this post! I want to amp up my sneaker selection. You’ve presented several interesting options. At first, I scrolled right past that multi-colored Puma but then I looked at it a little closer, and I think I could make that patchwork-y thing work! Thank you for always being a step ahead (pun intended). Robbi

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    kimbersam
    24 Mar 2021
    12:35pm

    Warning: I have a pair of platform Supergas that bite my feet when I attempt to wear them. I know the fashion peeps love them, but OUCH!

    Also- the Stella/Adidas collabs are always fantastic!

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    Kelly
    24 Mar 2021
    12:39pm

    I hate sneakers.

    There, I said it. Boots in winter, flats or sandals in summer. I think sneakers make people look like giant toddlers.

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      Rae
      24 Mar 2021
      9:32pm

      What do you wear when exercising? Or do you just accept / enjoy your giant toddler-ness? And do you immediately change out of them once done exercising? I am forever trying NOT to keep my workout clothes on all day…

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    Betsy
    24 Mar 2021
    9:13am

    I have the Vince Warren platforms in three colors (black, grey suede, pink suede) and I LOVE them. So comfortable and love the lift – so much more flattering. I might try those Chuck Taylors next!

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    cw
    24 Mar 2021
    9:13am

    Even though the Madewell’s are a slightly lower platform I’m drawn to them because the sole of the shoe blends well with the body of the shoe. Like lc, I prefer a sneaker sole that is the same color as the sneaker. It’s a wardrobe quirk and one my daughter shares so maybe it’s genetic! Having said that I do have one exception in my sneaker wardrobe which is a white platform sneaker with a turquoise sole. And I’ve never worn them.

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    Heather
    24 Mar 2021
    10:04am

    I used to think sneakers made me look stumpy, but then I discovered the world of .5″-1.5″ half-inserts on Amazon (one I’ve bought is https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XPSKWB9/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1), and now I’m a total convert, especially for high-tops that might otherwise rub the wrong part of your foot-ankle. All the height, with none of the platform look, unless you want to double up and look even taller!

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      Robbi
      24 Mar 2021
      12:16pm

      Thanks Heather. Great tip!

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      y.k.
      24 Mar 2021
      9:20pm

      wow! i’ve never heard of this product. but i guess the taller inserts only work with high tops or similar shoes.
      anyway, i will order them for my vejas, i’m tempted by the 1.5″ b/c who wouldn’t want to be 1.5″ taller but then i would look like my foot is kind of erupting out of the shoe…

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        Heather
        25 Mar 2021
        9:32am

        Exactly — I put the big ones in all my high-tops and then it really depends on the shoe how high you can go with a regular sneaker… .5″ can go into pretty much everything, and sometimes you can get away with a whole inch, depending on the cut. But even just that half-inch does whatever heels do to change the proportion of your calves, and you can run around all day just like the sneaks are totally flat. Truly a miracle product, IMHO!

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    lrgnyc
    24 Mar 2021
    10:49am

    Also switch to sneakers this year. Anyone know about arch support in the seavees or madewell sneaker?

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      Mamavalveeta03
      24 Mar 2021
      12:36pm

      I have a pair of Madewell “sidewalk” sneakers and I looked – virtually no arch support in that style.

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        lrgnyc
        24 Mar 2021
        1:55pm

        Thanks, my knee problems require arch support (even with orthotics). but those zebra strips are cute and on sale so I may bite.

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    Rae
    24 Mar 2021
    9:34pm

    I really love those colorful Pumas! They would be really fun with a mostly monochromatic or denim outfit.

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      Ellie
      25 Mar 2021
      1:20pm

      Agreed! I have a very high tolerance for and abiding joy in color explosions, so those ones really spoke to me. Glad to have the years of Parisian all-black, all-neutral, all-the-time in the rear view mirror. I love being old :).

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    Gablesgirl
    24 Mar 2021
    8:23pm

    The leather Chuck Taylors I bought are so painful–ouch. I love anything from Soludos, they are super comfy and stylish in a Spanish way.

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      Genevieve
      25 Mar 2021
      1:21am

      I have had the platform Vans for 2 years now, in suede, and they took a little getting used to. They’re so comfy that you forget they’re platform. I have flat feet and wear them with no inserts. When I used to do a lot of walking pre-pandemic I’d maybe remember to stick a Superfeet in there. They are only the slightest bit heavy but not annoyingly so. Those who have the Vince Warren–how’s the heavy factor on those? Thanks for this post Kim; I was on the hunt for a new pair to replace my Vans SK8 zip high tops in leather. Vans SK8 zips are my JAM!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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