Glorya and Ladislav Stycer: How the rise of the high heel rekindled and reenergized the shoe trend

What do a 747, a taxi, a jet engine and a high-heeled shoe have in common? For die-hard heels aficionados, it’s the style with which you wear them that is a major upgrade.

In fact, as the couple featured in the latest installment of Our Town opt for sky-high platform pumps, the “the higher the better” approach to shoes has been making a comeback for some time now.

These heel heights are a subtle nod to the ambitiously sky-high shoe fads of the late ’80s and early ’90s, when Nike began rolling out the first “running shoe” – a platform shoe that looks very much like a tennis shoe but stilts to fill the gap between your feet and the ground, sort of like an ankle boot. Even more extreme were K-Swiss’ ultralight Leatherman sneakers – the kind of you-can-’em-all you-can-’em shoes that sold for as much as $600 per pair.

Perhaps because running, surfing and skateboarding have morphed into wellness activities, perhaps because Citi Bike operates in cities around the country, perhaps because the rise of athleisure has allowed us to pare down, perhaps we simply feel frisky and ready to go out, and not unbound by human limitations, we’re apparently taking a cue from our ancestors and re-embracing platforms.

We were first introduced to platforms via a pair of prototype totes the name “Pivotal,” to be fleshed out as the Jil Sander for Paco Rabanne collection. A similarly profiled high heel shoe, however, peaked high-heeled heels in the 1990s, when Kanye West wore a pair of Puma Miu Miu platform shoes with his red leather Apres-ski apparel-created-by-“Kourtney,” number 15-23. That pair was such a hit that Nike later produced a shoe offering a slightly less vertiginous version of the boxy, patterned Puma sneakers with the moniker “Kim Kardashian in Passion Shoot Backpack.”

In her book about the invention of the Shoe – Franz Liszt’s “Elegy for a High Heel” – Frances Tetrault points out how other famous names joined the platform trend, including Diane von Furstenberg, Nanette Lepore and Barney New York. The idea of walking tall in a shoe that extends past your ankles can’t possibly be doing serious harm.

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