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Looking back in recent history, the most memorable and medically controversial era in footwear would have to have been the 1970's. This was the era of the Platform shoes and boots - with inches and inches of colourful platform soles generally made out of cork and wood.
The platform boots of the 1970's took on a more colorful, playful trend than those in the 1930's when this style of shoe was last seen. 1971 was considered the most exciting year in shoe design, as the platform shoes and boots were referred to as 'psychedelic' for their bright swirling colors and designer soles. It was then that an exciting era of experimentation, not just in shoes and boots, but in fashion, drugs, sex and music, was born. Platform shoes and boots became a must have fashion item throughout America, Europe and the world.
The 1970's also saw the emergence of multi-genda platform shoes and boots. That's right, both men and women were heading out and purchasing their own pair of colorful, 3 inch or more platform shoes or boots. Men tended to prefer the boot style platform leaving the more feminine shoes for the women. The trend was only enhanced as we saw our music idols on stage wearing their 3 inches. Just to name a few, Elton John and Kiss frequently appeared on stage in outrageous outfits and platforms to match. And who could forget John Travolta's shoes in the movie Saturday Night Fever?
Platforms Bring Controversy!
However, the platform shoe did not come without a degree of controversy, surprisingly it was medical controversy. Health professionals slammed the shoe fearing they would cause a certain degree of spinal damage to the wearer. When wearing the shoe the sole of the foot was so far off the ground that it was unable to transmit appropriate location messages to the brain. The sense of balance was therefore lost and you could through stability in these shoes and boots out the window. Quickly the inches increase and the patterns became wilder and wilder. There was also the fear of falling as walking, and in shoes this high falling with any degree of grace in a platform could hardly be achieved. The popularity of the platform shoe continued to grow despite the public concerns voiced by the health professionals, or perhaps it was because of these concerns that every young adult wanted to be seen in the platform trend.
As the decade progressed the platform shoe became more fashionable and could be seen on the streets, in fashion magazines, on stage and in the movies. In fact nothing less than a 2 inch sole and a 5 inch heal was classified as 'hip'. It was thought that the platform shoe was going to be around for awhile.
But, as with any era, the hip psychedelic 70's past taking with it the platform shoe - the million dollar question is....when will they return again?