The Controversial Sandals That Are Trending This Spring


(Image credit: @thestylestalkercom)

As a young fashion-obsessed kid in the late ’90s, I can vividly remember certain trends I either really, really wanted for a while, managed to somehow force my mum to buy me, and/or admired from a close distance as my older sister and her friends got to wear them. One thing that actually ticked all those boxes eventually was a certain shoe trend I finally got into just as it was on its way out.

Remember platform sandals? Not the refined Saint Laurent–endorsed styles that are common today (and that you’ll perhaps wear under a dress or with jeans). I’m talking about the chunky flatform styles made famous by the likes of Steve Madden and Rocket Dog that featured either a wide band across the vamp of your foot or, better yet, a thong-sandal situation. Does that jog your memory a bit? Perhaps you just recalled rolling your ankle once or twice because of them? (I can’t be the only one…)

While my feelings are clearly mixed, these shoes are the latest in a slew of controversial footwear trends popping up this season, joining the ranks of sporty sandals, wedges and floss heels. Not only have Steve Madden and Rocket Dog brought back their versions in collaboration with Urban Outfitters over in American (we're awaiting their UK arrival…), but trend-setting brands like Ganni and Simon Miller are offering versions too. While I'm still unsure how I feel about the trend, I think it's best if you decide for yourself, so keep scrolling to see (and perhaps shop) the trend…

First, the originals:

More '90s-inspired platform sandals:

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Since starting as an intern back in 2013, Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour has held several roles here at Who What Wear, and she is currently Editor-at-Large. It was a less expected route, seeing as she was graduating from business school at USC when this all began, but it has turned out to be the best one for her. Fast-forward to 2024, and she's moved to NYC from her hometown of Beverly Hills and spends her workdays a little differently from when she was an intern starting out. Currently, she focuses on a weekly mélange of shopping content. As far as her personal style goes, she's largely drawn to classic pieces and neutral basics but will always make an exception for something colorful, printed, or bejeweled as long as it's deemed worthy enough. After all, the only thing she loves more than a good party is dressing up for one. On weekdays, she can usually be found at home eating something delicious for dinner and trying to force her husband to watch Summer House.