Fashion Test Drive: Flatforms

In an effort to remain transparent, I want to preface this by saying that I am 5’3”. Given my stature, my footwear choices are often based around wearability, and more dominantly, height. When the first flatforms debuted, I was immediately skeptical. The proportion looked wrong and they were never high enough to warrant switching from flats. Champions of the trendy style state that it’s the most democratic of heels as tall women can wear them without adding too much height and shorter women can gain a bit of height without the pain and discomfort of regular heels. The problem is, for there to be any discernable height difference, the flatform has to be over the standard one or two inches and then we are quickly getting into Spice Girls platform territory.

Prada FlatformsVena Cava Flatforms

Prada and Vena Cava, Spring RTW 2011

Skeptical or not, I made my way to Topshop in London and picked up a pair of cute, but affordable, black flatforms. When I tried them on in the store, I was immediately taken by the fact that they felt just like flats, but when I started to walk I found myself confused by the weight and height of the shoes. Not to be discouraged, I bought and took them home. Another issue with the flatform is pairing it with other clothes. As a major part of the 70s trend, it’s no surprise that the shoes paired best with flowing dresses, wide-legged jeans, and midi skirts.

Vena Cava FlatformDerek Lam Flatform

Vena Cava and Derek Lam, Spring RTW 2011

For the sake of this test, I also tried them on with skinny jeans (a definite no-go unless you want a lot of attention on your feet), a narrow skirt (which made my legs look VERY short… shorter than they already are), and an A-line skirt (results were not too bad, but again the length is key here). I wore them out a few times and once getting over the initial awkwardness of having a platform without the heel, they were very comfortable. If I were to rank them in a chart of heel preference, they would fall just ahead of the kitten heel but far below my favored wedges. Overall, I don’t think I will be running out to buy 10 more pairs, I would miss the added height of heels too much, but flatforms would be a great choice for women who work in more casual environments as they would pair well with a loose dress or wide pant. It might be cheating, but I would also suggest opting for a flatform with a bit of a wedge as it does wonders for the line of your outfit (as opposed to a very flat shoe). 

What do you think of the flatform trend? Are you wearing them this summer?

[Note: a tFS Forums poll indicated that only 9% of forum members love the trend and plan to wear it.]

Photos: Vincenzo Grillo for