If you were a kid in the late '90s or early aughts, I’m sure you experienced the wrath that was the platform flip-flop. If your ankle doesn’t twinge in phantom pain at the mere thought of those shoes, let me explain the phenomenon.
Generally featuring a generous four-inch stiletto heel (or, sometimes, a three-inch wedge), these plagues upon humanity rely on very little to affix your foot to the actual footbed: two leather (or rubber) straps that converge at the rather sensitive midpoint between your big toe and your second toe. In the late 90s, the look was favored by celebs and tweens alike, and could be spotted tromping around suburban Wet Seal stores and cozying up to low-rise cargo pants and sparkly toe rings.
This, my friends, is a platform or heeled flip-flop. And lest you thought you said goodbye to this impractical eyesore, think again. Seriously, Katie Holmes just wore them out in public.
Indeed, those exact shoes are, once again, ubiquitous. Sigerson Morrison offers a neon pair on sale for $40, parading them as the much more refined “Jeweled Sandal.” Indie darling By Far serves up a “cool girl” version with lizard-effect leather and a sculptural heel (for $410, no less). Swedish fashion blogger-turned-designer Elin Kling delivers her neutral-washed take on the trend with Toteme’s square-toe iteration ($400). Stuart Weitzman offers theirs with a block heel ($350), while even the refined Gianvito Rossi has hopped on the trend with a touch of PVC ($645).