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70s Platform Shoes

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Though 70s platform shoes have experienced a bit of a comeback in the 21st century, no era did “platform” quite like the 70s.

As a matter of fact, historians note that the platform shoe fad of the 70s was most likely the longest shoe-related fad in American history, extending well into the 80s and easily trouncing any shoe fads that came before or after.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the platform shoe took the world by storm, but Seventeen Magazine notes that these mod new shoes appeared in both their fashion spreads and advertisements several times in 1970.

Immediately, sales started to go through the roof. The primary buyers were high school and college students but it wasn’t unusual for the 20- and 30-something groups to check out these groovy shoes as well.

Of course, the entertainment crowd latched on to platform shoes as well, pushing the 70s fad even further as people rushed to the stores to buy shoes like the ones their pop and rock idols wore on stage.

Elton John owned plenty of pairs of outrageous platform shoes as did other musical stars that were later dubbed part of the Glam Rock movement. These included David Bowie, T. Rex, Kiss, the British rock band Sweet, and many others.

Hollywood took hold of the trend as well and platform shoe-clad actors could be seen in both movies and TV shows. John Travolta’s platforms from Saturday Night Fever were certainly among the most famous. Or you may have spied a pair on members of The Mod Squad or The Partridge Family, just to name a few.

Platform shoes came in all shapes and sizes and, for the most part, they weren’t gender-specific. One was just as likely to see a man in a pair of platforms as a woman, though the styles were certainly a bit different for each.

The average platform shoe had a front platform of about 2 inches with a heel that measured 4-5 inches though there were a number of styles that were much higher. The heels weren’t thin like the ones on today’s so-called platform shoes but were thick and chunky.

Sometimes, the platform was made of wood. Others were fashioned from cork and others from plastic or lucite-type materials. Sometimes they were the same print as the shoes. In many cases, wearers looked for the funkiest and most outrageous shoe they could find, sure to create a stir.

But one of the best things about 70s platform shoes was that they were truly comfortable. Because the large front platform helped keep all the weight off the toes, they were much more comfortable than the spike heels that came before and after.

Furthermore, styles ranged from very plain sandals with one leather strap across the front to warm leather boots to very glitzy open-toed beauties with lots of color and sparkle. Literally, there was a platform shoe for every occasion and some aficionados had a pair for every occasion.

Looking back, these fab shoes were certainly a little bizarre. But they went perfectly with the bell bottom pants, jumpsuits, hot pants, and other 70s fads. And those who wore them thought they were pretty darn groovy!