Platform sneakers are making a comeback—to which I say, stop right now, thank you very much


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Photo: Getty Images/dima sideinikov

At this point, it’s become relatively cliche to be snarky about Coachella, so let’s skip the part where I say that I’m so glad my Instagram feed is practically back to normal after being overwhelmed by that annoying Ferris Wheel for the past couple of weeks. Instead, let’s go right to the part where I say that it seemed like everyone at the festival was wearing platform sneakers. Perplexed, I took to the bigger Internet (Google on my computer) to see if platform sneakers were, indeed, a thing that was coming back in style.

They are, according to multiple fashion sites, and high-end brands like Prada and Versace are creating their own iterations. It was during the aforementioned Google session that I came across a recent Vogue article telling me that platform sneakers are “just the boost my spring wardrobe needs.” The search description for said article says that they’ve found the best platform sneakers to wear to work or the club. Or the club? I have questions. Namely, do people still go to “the club” and if they do, are they really wearing platform sneakers there?

I do not understand the platform sneaker trend. Theoretically, it’s one I should like: I’m a fan of nostalgic ’90s dressing, sneakers, and being taller. But even though platform sneakers combine three of my personal buzzwords, I just can’t get on board. (I don’t have the same ire for them as I do, say, flip flops—at least in a sneaker, your toes are contained—but still.)

Platform sneakers are a new mutation of dad sneakers. There’s a lot of overlap in the deeply upsetting Venn diagram of “dad sneakers” and “platform sneakers.” But the platform sneaker is characterized by a tall, sometimes completely flat, sole. Like what the Spice Girls used to wear. Another personal buzzword! (In fact, you can buy the exact brand they used to wear, Buffalo London, over at Shopbop.) And still I say, no.

Many of the articles I’ve read praise platform sneakers as “practical” and “comfortable.” I am skeptical of these claims. I’ve seen platform sneakers in the wild, and the people clomping around in them do not look more comfortable than I feel in my regular sneakers. They look more precariously balanced, like they might be about to roll an ankle. Also, I’ll be the one to say it: Sneakers are not always comfortable. We toss around “comfortable” and “sneaker” like they’re synonyms. They are not. Your sneakers could rub at your heel or dig into your ankle bone or pinch your toes…This is something that has been on my mind for a while, so thank you for coming to my TED Talk. If I don’t trust regular old sneakers to be comfy, how can I trust platform sneakers, with all their questionable height, to be comfy? These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

I’ve tried chunky sneakers and dad sneakers. I even like them. But the Bratz dolls can keep their platform sneakers—I’ll be kicking up my heels and sitting this one out.

Instead of platform sneakers, may we interest you in these 10 pairs of sustainable kicks? Plus, here’s the best way to clean your sneakers so they look brand new.

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