The Truth About Pumps vs Platforms

First, let’s define a Pump and a Platform:

A Pump is a high heel typically with an enclosed toe box and often times has a low cut vamp exposing the foot’s cleavage.  A Pump can come in the form of a Sandal, Slingback, Peep Toe, T-strap, Bandage…

Emery Gold Metallic Cole Haan
Emery Gold Metallic by Cole Haan

A Platform is similar to a pump which embodies a high heel, but it’s different in that it contains a concealed or visible addition to the sole of the ball of the foot.  This plateau, the platform, can range from centimeters to inches high and can come in different types of materials-wood, plastic, cork, synthetic materials, or lucite type of materials.  Platforms come in many style forms-Sandals, Slingbacks, Pumps, Cones, Booties, Boots…

Red Lucy Roccamore
Red Lucy by Roccamore

What Most Women Believe:

A large percentage of women believe Platforms are a more comfortable solution instead of Pumps.  This is partly for two main reasons:  Most women believe the platform addition of the shoe is extra padding for the sole of their feet; others assume they have better foot support with a platform and thus can walk longer on a platform heel than a pump.

The Naked Truth About Platforms:

Is a Thicker Sole Better?

While a Platform has a thicker sole than a traditional Pump, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is more comfortable.  Most often than not, platforms come in stiff, inflexible compounds making the platform harder on the sole of the foot every time one takes a step.  This rigid motion of landing on the ball of the foot on compounds like wood and sturdy plastics impacts the foot and promotes foot fatigue the fastest.

Stacey Nude Ilene Berg
Stacey Nude by Ilene Berg

Sadly to say, it’s not about the thickness of the platform that makes a shoe comfortable; rather it’s about the materials and flexible abilities in which the shoe is built that makes it more comfortable and longer lasting to wear.  A simple Pump with an extra thick, quality comfort footbed and flexible compounds that mold to the foot’s ergonomic movement can be more comfortable than a stiff and rigid Platform for this simple reason.

Stephanie Red Ilene Berg
Stephanie Red by Ilene Berg

But, should you consider purchasing platforms, for your comfort, choose shoes that have extra thick padding on the toe bed, which can help reduce the shock on the ball of the foot.  And if you’d like to take it up a notch, find platforms with sole technology that contain a platform-spring-pad to help put a bounce on your step and avoid that abrupt shock on your feet like the traditional platforms.

Ilene Berg Platform Heels
Ilene Berg Platform Heels with DCS Patent Pending Comfort Technology

Which Style is Best for Foot Support?

The less steep the slope of the shoe, the more supported the foot will be.  For this reason a platform could be of help providing extra height while balancing and shifting the weight off the ball of the foot, providing a more stable fit.  In comparison to a traditional Pump with the same heel height, the platform shoe will support the foot much longer because of its reduced decline and thus induce less strain on the arch and foot overall.

Simone Sofia Z
Simone by Sofia Z

For Pumps select pumps with a shorter heel, or should you consider a taller high heel, think about a thicker heel as it will provide one with more support balance.

Lena Sofia Z
Lena by Sofia Z

The Verdict:

It depends on your preference.  The Pump takes the cake when taking into consideration sole flexibility, and the Platform wins the battle when you put into account a declined slope for foot support.  You can marry style and comfortability with either by keeping in mind flexibility, shock absorbing compounds, and foot support.  But if you ever had curiosity about what are the most comfortable high heels, think high heels with comfort technologies.  They are all laboratory made, tested by scientists, and all have comfort properties for your pretty little feet.

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