Platform sneakers are undeniably the shoe of the moment, appearing in many influencer streetwear looks on Instagram. And while they do have a comfy athleisure-like appeal, Miguel Cunha, D.P.M., says not to use these shoes like the active sneakers you use at the gym.
“Platform sneakers resemble sport sneakers used for athletic activities, as they both are similar in shape, and are made of the same materials,” he says. “However, when compared to traditional athletic shoes, platform sneakers compromise performance for the sake of fashion, adding more strain to our feet with every step. The extra weight and height of these shoes can not only increase the demand on the muscles on the front of the shin, but they also place more stress on your entire body with every step.”
To give you a more in-depth explanation about how that stress works, Cunha says that it is essential to understand the swing phase of the gait cycle, which is a period during locomotion where one foot is on the ground while the other is off the ground going forward. The foot that is not in contact with the ground dorsiflexes (lifts upward) to clear the ground in preparation for the next step when the heel strikes the ground.
Since platform sneakers usually contain extra weight and height, Cunha suggests that this increases the demand on the muscles on the front of the shin, as these muscles need to work harder to dorsiflex the foot during the swing cycle of gait. With that said, he adds that these shoes also place more stress on your entire body, because other muscles higher up in the leg start to work to compensate for the additional weight.
But that is not to say that you should avoid wearing these kinds of shoes altogether, as Cunha suggests that platform sneakers are better for your feet than some heels, flats and sandals. And while many would assume that a ballet slipper-type shoe would be way more comfortable on your feet, Cunha suggests platform sneakers are the winner here, as they have a thick rubber sole, which can provide more arch support, shock absorption and comfort for your feet.
Platform sneakers also have the advantage of having a wider toe box to accommodate the toes comfortably, according to Cunha, which can reduce the probability of developing painful foot conditions such as Morton’s neuroma or aggravating an already existing bunion or hammertoe deformity.
How to Shop the Trend
If you still want to achieve that fashion-forward look, Cunha suggests selecting a sneaker with the right platform height.
“Your platform height should never exceed more than three inches,” he advises. “Make sure that the difference between the front and back of the shoe never exceeds 3⁄4 inches, because it will alter your posture and gait.”
With that in mind, we are breaking down the best platform sneakers that will keep you comfortable and on-trend. From stylish lace-ups to trendy slip-ons, below are five sneakers that satisfy any budget.
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Trust this Nike platform sneaker (which has a 1 3/4-inch platform) to give your athleisure looks a necessary upgrade, as its lace-up front and fun colorway give off a modern vibe that is truly unique. Plus, these platform sneakers are also pretty versatile, meaning you can wear them with everything from maxi skirts to jeans.
This lace-up sneaker features a leather front with an upper sole, keeping your feet supported throughout your long weekend or never-ending workday. Since this sneaker is equal parts casual and dressy, you can easily wear them with joggers or a classic LBD.
Give your overalls and miniskirts some spice with these basic platform sneakers, which will neither break your tight budget nor go out of style. And even though these sneakers boast a 1 1/2-inch heel, the shoe’s sturdy upper leather (and manmade sole) gives you support with each step.
Go big and bold with these Fila platform sneakers, which feature stunning (and not to mention colorful!) suede and leather accents. And if you are looking for easy fashion pairing inspiration aside from your matching sweat set, feel free to also pair these shoes with edgier fashion staples (leather jeggings and a metallic bomber jacket) hiding in your closet.