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Platform sandals are back for summer 2021

It’s your chance to relive the 2000s with these epic platform slides

Years have passed since we have last seen this elevating shoe striding down the streets: the platform sandal. Faint memories of my childhood come to mind when I think about the excitement and (sometimes) dangerous wearing experience those foamy slides caused.

It seems that every trend of the late 90s and early 00s has been rehashed in some form or another in the past few years. It is safe to say that the y2k aesthetic has been taking over the mainstream fashion world again — equally in street style and its runway counterpart.

@beatrice.gutu wearing the Juno flatform sandal by Vagabond

@josefinehj wearing the Ginza platform flip flops by The Row

However, after all the low rise jeans, butterfly clips and baguette bags — the platform slide (in both slip-on and flip flop form) has finally found its sneaky way back into modern wear.

Fashion journalist Marina Bittencourt explains: “The recycling of trends has a lot to do with generations. As we reach the roaring 20s we see 00s kids finally reaching adulthood, with that sense of liberty, and somewhat maturity, they look into the past, to the things that were trendy when they were kids, and are hit with a sense of nostalgia.”

Ah, nostalgia — a blissful longing for a time we 00s kids lived through but barely participated in. It is true that trends recycle every few years and decades depending on the impulses and fads of that current generation.

If we look back at the late 90s/early 00s, when platform slides really took off, we are overrun with examples of TV programmes and celebrity outfits that sported the popular shoes. Everyone from y2k-style stalwarts Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani rocked the stacked flip flops on off-duty days and red carpets alike.

Embed from Getty Images

But it was not until US media featured the sandal in various movies and TV shows that the craze truly began to hit daily life. Most notably, the movie 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), which featured Julia Stiles’ character Kat wearing her signature platform flops in every heart-tugging scene.

Image courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures via Netflix

What followed was fashionable shoe labels such as Steve Madden and Rocket Dog adopting the rubber-soled slides and vamping up previously flat (and boring) flip flops by adding new height and therefore grandeur. We would then see the comfortable style habitually strutting down high school hallways and more red carpets till it eventually, like all fads, became a gladly forgotten infatuation.

Fast forward circa two decades and by way of y2k nostalgia and the natural cycling of generational trends and we’re back to square one. Trend forecaster Domynique Badillo says: “The sandal is the perfect blend of ‘norm core’ and ‘gaudy’ or ‘extra’ that many have taken a liking to as of late.”

Although not without a fight — a browse through #TrendTok, a trend forecasting sector of the popular app, shows that many onlookers and past wearers of the chunky flip flop only reluctantly want to accept its return.

Image Courtesy of Letizia Consiglio

Nevertheless, the platform is back and it is everywhere — sporadically on catwalks and very frequently on the high street. Our favourite variations are the quintessential slip-on slides from either Vagabond in a classic black or a spicy orange from Spanish label Bimba y Lola. If you want to go retro and get an authentic pair of the iconic trotter, head over to Depop and get your hands on some vintage Juicy Couture or Rocket Dog flops.

Image Courtesy of @bimbaylola via Instagram

Unsure about how to style them? “I love to see them paired with a summer dress, wide-legged pants or long flowy skirts,” says Bittencourt. When in doubt, go classic and add flared jeans. If you want to go all out, I would suggest browsing through #y2k on Pinterest or watching an episode of early 00s Friends and pairing the shoe with wide-legged cargo pants, a halter-neck top and plenty of snazzy hair accessories.

Image courtesy of @alexandracoveos via Instagram

Whether the trend is here to stay or doomed to repeat the usual recycling routine is still unclear. “Much like every other trend it is possible that they’ll be forgotten in a few years just to be picked up again in the 2040s,” admits Bittencourt. For now, _shift expects the upcoming summer to be filled with plenty of variations of the iconic shoe (quite frankly) elevating us out of lockdown.

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