FLATFORMS: The Safer Chopine

I love flirting with dangerous fashion!

They’re flats. They’re platforms. They’re flatforms and I just about died of giddiness when I found them! Everywhere I look for shoes, I find GIANT heels with platforms. Lovely as they are to look at, I can’t wear that type of shoe for very long comfortably (i.e. more than 5 minutes), but I enjoy the boost they give me. I have very flat, wide feet, so I live in ballet flats and “foot sacks:” leather tennis shoes without arch support and hardly a sole to their credit. Neither of these do much to improve my height. That is why when I found these, I almost knocked my chai tea off the desk:

This is Gee WaWa Women’s Daphne Two-Piece Flatform in Olive Suede. It’s plain, simple and fairly neutral. It doesn’t scream excitement or wild new trend, but it’s not just a new shoe trend, it’s a remake of this shoe trend:

In the 1970s, platforms were ridiculously huge, both in size and popularity. With platforms reaching heights even more lofty than today’s wedges and stilettos– upwards of 10 inches– of course everyone wondered: what could these wood and cork hooves be doing to my health?

Video: 1970s Platform Shoes

Having big chunks of dead weight on your feet may put you at a greater risk of a twisted ankle, but history is no stranger to dangerous fashions (like wasp waist corsets). Health risks all depend on how extreme you go. Just as the gentleman explains near the end of the 1970s platform shoe exposé, the severity of your platform depends not only on its height, but the heel to toe height difference. The platforms on modern flatforms vary in height, but my favorite green suede ones have a relatively small platform and almost no change in heel altitude, unlike most dress shoes. The physics of flatforms are much different than a heels, so you don’t walk like you are wearing heels. In fact you will walk like you are wearing:

Chopines! Yes! Flatforms, especially those green suede ones, remind me of Renaissance chopines. While the Italian chopines usually have a fairly steep incline, you can see that it is not arched like a modern heel. Spanish chopines are usually flatter:

Here is a side shot so you can see the difference in silhouette. The Spanish chopine is on the left and the Italian on the right:

That’s why I am so excited for this new footwear trend! A flatform shoe would much more closely mimic the actual feel and gait of a low chopine; ergo, I might be able to find a pair suitable enough to wear to Renaissance faire! It’s like solving two puzzles in one shoe: how do I gain height without a heel and where on earth can I find chopines? Solved!

I believe this discovery was well worth nearly toppling my morning cup of tea, don’t you? :)

Update: I just remembered this amazing Venetian leather shoe in the collections at the MFA! It looks almost identical to many of the modern flatforms, minus the back heel strap!

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