The new Steve Madden and Rocket Dog sandals won’t break the bank – but they might break an ankle
Platforms aren’t all they’re stacked up to be.
The towering sandals that the Spice Girls and Britney Spears wore throughout the 90s are making a comeback. Steve Madden’s classic Slinky slide, with its signature “flatform” sole and stretchy upper, is now available for preorder online at $69.95.
And Rocket Dog has teamed up with Vanity Fair editor Elizabeth Saltzman for its new ESxRD collection, which re-releases the brand’s foamy flip flops in an array of rainbow colors for between $40 and $85.
But buyer beware – these stacked shoes won’t break the bank, but they could break your ankle. The 90s original elevated kickers were clumsy in both form and function.
“Britney Spears and Paris Hilton were wearing these shoes because they wanted that extra height, they wanted that comfort, they wanted that cool factor, and these shoes had all of that. Girls literally looking up to these celebrities wanted them,” Robert Verdi, stylist and tastemaker, told Moneyish. “But they could get really clunky, and a lot of girls would fall while wearing them.”
Now podiatrists are bracing themselves for the sprains and fractures likely to come hobbling through their doors now that platforms sandals are back in style.
“You’re basically walking on this high block, and you don’t have a lot of flexibility, so you don’t have a normal gait,” Dr. William Spielfogel, chief of podiatry at NYC’s Lenox Hill Hospital, explained to Moneyish. This can result in foot, knee and lower back pain as you shorten your stride to stay balanced.
“You have to bring your leg a little higher to clear your foot from the ground, which changes the mechanics in which you walk,” agreed Dr. David A. Spinner, director of pain management and a sports medicine expert at Mount Sinai in Manhattan. “If someone is prone to injury, or has a history of ankle sprains or knee problems, wearing something like this for a prolonged period of time could cause ankle instability, knee hyperextension injuries, and also some hip pain.”
But the biggest problem is that fashionistas are tempting gravity by teetering in shoes whose soles are so thick, they can’t “feel” the ground beneath them. “There could be a divot or pothole in the ground, and if you don’t realize it’s there, you can catch your foot on it and fall,” said Dr. Spielfogel. “You can sprain your ankle, or fracture a metatarsal (foot bone). You can do some real damage if you’re not careful.”
Neither Steve Madden nor Rocket Dog responded to requests for comment, but both have addressed some of the issues. “They’re more lightweight, so they mold to the foot better,” Verdi says of the newer platforms. “The design is more ergonomic, so you’re probably less likely to fall.”
Still, health experts still suggest wearing these platforms sparingly. “These are not the types of shoes to spend the day in touring the city or shopping,” said Dr. Spielfogel. They should be worn for a short period of time, like to a meal where you’ll be mostly sitting down, or to the beach where you’ll soon kick them off.
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