How to wear platform boots like Lady Gaga
“The 7 inch, lace-up platform boots that designer Giuseppe Zanotti has custom made for Lady Gaga this awards season are only the current iteration of the other countless platforms she’s worn – and they are the podium upon which she looks out to her audience. “ Quote from FN Footwear News
Lady Gaga’s boots are stabilized by their perfect fit because her boots are custom made – plus the laces help to ensure that they stay on the foot so that the foot and boot move as one with no side slip or forward slide of the foot. Boots are easier to wear as platforms than platform shoes because the foot is enclosed on all sides so they are less wobbly than more open high heel shoe platforms. However even feet in custom made platform boots are subject to pressure from gravity so Lady Gaga will still need to have some cushioning under the ball of the foot for comfort and possibly a toe grip to ensure her feet do not slide forwards inside the boots.
The Tom Ford red velvet peeptoe for fall 2019 is another style of platforms, they are a classic platform shoe with an ankle strap. The Tom Ford shoe is an excellently balanced platform that is very wearable with a foam high heel shoe inserts set to stabilize the foot inside the shoe, plus provide cushioning under the ball of the foot. A foam stabilizing cushion will stop the strap from tightening around the ankle and stop the toes from hanging out from the peep toe hole.
Ankle straps are a very good addition for platform heels to keep the shoe on the foot, but they will tighten and tighten as the foot slips forward inside the shoe unless it is stopped. The way to keep the strap at the correct tightness – not too tight, not too loose – is to stabilize the foot inside the shoe with a foam insert and keep it from sliding forwards or wobbling about. A stabilized shoe is easier to walk in, less tiring on the foot and leg muscles, and the gait is more graceful and natural. An effortless walk in heels will make you and your outfit look better too – grimacing in pain is distracting and spoils your fun and your look.
Platform heels are a good footwear choice for red carpet awards shows, appearances on TV talk shows, or any events in your life that require circulating to socialize, standing for hours and walking with ease while looking great for your public. Other common events where you want to look good - and be comfortable walking, standing and dancing in heels - are weddings, anniversary parties, graduations and charity balls.
Platforms such as Lady Gaga’s 7 inch heeled boots are truly wearable for any event on or off the red carpet – but do need to be either custom made – as her boots were - or customized by you to fit perfectly with added foam inserts so the foot is comfortable and stabilized to stay in place.
Instability: A problem with all platform high heels and boots
The instability of platforms are due to a stiff sole and a centre of balance that has moved upward from that found in flats or even high heeled pumps with thin bottoms. The balance issue and shoe instability becomes the biggest hurdle for wearing platforms in comfort.
Most platforms available at retail are not Lady Gaga’s 7 inch heels (4" heel + 3" platform) or even Tom Ford’s 5 inch heels (4" heel + 1" platform) , but much more manageable 4" heels (3.25 “ heel + 3/4" platform). A platform shoe with a 4 inch heel – but with a ¾ inch platform sole – will have a ‘net’ heel height and ramp slope that is very manageable and comfortable for most women to wear for as an all day shoe at the office.
A 4" heeled platform shoe will be stable and comfortable if the foot does not move about inside the shoe and the ball of the foot is cushioned with rebounding custom fit foam inserts. A foot in any high heel shoe is subject to the pressure from gravity pulling the foot forward crushing the toes into the toe box, and gaping the shoe at the heel end subjecting the foot to heel blistering.
The importance of stabilizing the foot in any high heeled shoe is because excess pressure - and pain - is exerted on the ball of the foot when the foot is displaced forwards inside the shoe. A foot in its’ proper position inside a shoe, with the heel of the foot inside the heel of the shoe, will shift less weight onto the ball of the foot. An optimum amount of weight will be borne by the heel of the foot as intended by the shoes designer.
Ankle pain: A problem with platform high heels of net height over 3.25”
The Tom Ford red velvet peep toes with a net height of 4” (total height of 5”) may be very comfortable for an average person for two hours of walking about with rest periods every 20 minutes - if they have contoured foam customized fit inserts inside the shoes to cushion the ball of the foot and stabilize the shoe. The net height of the heel is about 4” in the Tom Fords’ which is too high to wear for longer than 20 minutes between rest periods without pain starting in the ankle.
Ankle pain cannot be alleviated with even the best high heel shoe inserts because it is caused by a misalignment of the ankle bones because in high heels the ankle is extended too far from a normal position for bearing weight. When the ankle bones are misaligned the ankle cannot hold the weight of the body for very long without becoming painful. This is why the 4” high heel red velvet Tom Ford shoe is too high to wear for most events unless you can control the time you are standing or walking about to be no more than about 20 minutes between rest periods. The Tom Ford's are perfect for walking into a restaurant from a car, greeting a few of your fans, dining, and then walking back to a waiting car.
While ankle pain can only be managed by periodically resting the feet, pain in the foot can be completely prevented from developing. In medium height high heels up to about 3.25 inches net heel height foot pain comes mainly from toes being squashed into the front of the shoe, from pressure on the ball of the foot, and from blisters created by chafing at the heel end of the shoe. All of these problems can be eliminated from a normal foot with the use of custom fitted contoured PORON foam inserts that stabilize the foot and cushion it with rebounding foam.
The only contoured PORON foam inserts that are currently available for high heeled footwear are made by Killer Heels Comfort brand. The design of the inserts is such that they can be custom fitted to the length and configuration of the feet. The contoured foam has a toe grip to stabilize the forefoot and a front of heel raised part to keep weight shifted onto the heel of the foot.
Gel high heel shoe insoles or gel ball of foot cushions will cause problems in platforms. Gel inserts are not good for platform heels because they have a slippery rounded piece under the heel that will create instability and will push the foot upwards out of the shoe causing more instability in an already unstable shoe. Gel doesn’t rebound so gel inserts will feel much harder under the foot than foam that rebounds. All high heels need a soft rebounding foam cushion under the ball of the foot because most of the pressure in a high heel shoe is on the ball of the foot. Platforms need cushioning, but they, more than most other high heel styles need custom fit foam cushions to also stabilize the foot effectively without adding bulk.
Many stars wear platform heels to their red carpet events or performances. It has been noted by Footwear News magazine that platforms are the number one choice for red carpet wear year after year, including 2019. The singer Mariah Carey famously wears platforms everywhere - for performing on stage in Las Vegas and when she goes out. She has said she never wears less than 4" heels, but since her heels are usually platforms she can be very comfortable in them.
Platform heels can look sky high at 5” but if they have a thick platform sole of 1.75” the ‘net’ height of the heel is that of everyday office heels of 3.25”, a very easy to wear heel height for most women if they have custom fitted foam inserts to take care of issues of toe crushing, heel gaping or pressure on the ball of the foot because gravity is always present. Walking in platforms takes some practice because the soles are stiff - unlike the soles of thin bottomed high heels that flex - and in platforms the centre of gravity is shifted upwards causing a wobbliness in the shoes that is not present in thin bottomed high heel shoes such as pumps.
Five (5) top tips on how to have COMFORTABLE HIGH HEELS IN ANY STYLE – PLATFORMS, stilettos, high heeled sandals, kitten heels, pumps or mules
1. Wear the right size shoe – allow for ¼ to ½” space in front of longest toe or 1/16” space along both sides of a narrow toe box - walk in them and only buy shoes that feel COMFORTABLE. Buy shoes by the length of your foot and not by sizing if you are unsure of your shoe size.
2. A steeper ramp creates more discomfort. Only rarely buy heels that are higher than 3.25 “. Wear heels higher than 3.25” ONLY IF you anticipate NOT STANDING OR WALKING in them for LONGER THAN 20 MINUTES without a rest. For real drama wear 5” platform heels with a 1.75” platform. Your heels will look like 5”- but feel like 3. 25” Channel your inner Mariah Carey!
3. Check the heel placement. Choose shoes with heels placed directly under the center of your foot's heel - not at the very back of the shoe. Stilettos should feel balanced, never tippy. Wedge heels should have a flat, not rounded, bottom. Platforms – block heel or stiletto heel – should have heel or ankle straps for stability and high heeled mules need stability cushions.
4. Add more cushioning. Store-bought foam inserts can be your BFF...your dogs won't be barking as quick or at all. The BEST cushions CUSTOM FIT YOUR FOOT, never flatten, stabilize your foot for a normal gait, stop toes from crushing, heels from gaping and keep your shoes on your feet!
Blogs written for high heel wearers should give useful and good - and safe - information about high heel comfort. I write blogs where I try to do that - plus dispel myths and bad "tips". I have an offer for two FREE high heel shoe inserts sets if you buy one from Amazon. This is your chance to try these innovative design ergonomic high heel shoe inserts in THREE of your favourite heels for the price of outfitting ONE.