I’ve been really into platforms this year, and I’ve finally found some shoes that fit my idea of a great casual heel!
I hadn’t been able to find exactly what I wanted in my favourite online and high street stores since forever. It was a bit hard to define, but I wanted something simultaneously comfortable, sporty, high heeled, and cute to look at. I want heels to go with my casual outfits because I still always feel my curvy body suits feminine heels best, and long-legged proportions are always flattering. I wanted to be able to walk comfortably in these casual heels, and for them to actually look casual, not like I’m off to work or a cocktail party.
I bought the following shoes with my own money, and am not working with AliExpress or anything. The website is a marketplace, like Amazon, where a lot of Chinese retailers sell their bargain wares. People helpfully leave reviews on many items which reassures you that everything is legit.
The shoes below were the ones that fit what I wanted perfectly, so despite being nervous of purchasing online from unknown sellers, I thought I’d take the plunge and buy them and I’ve reviewed them below.
Pair number 1: sporty nude closed toe sandals
TL:DR (too long: didn’t read/aka summary):
- Benefits: sporty-casual but feminine high heel; doesn’t make you look like you have posh shoes on with your weekend outfit; doesn’t visually cut you off at the ankle because nude colour. Style is youthful but not too young for 30+ women.
- Occasions: The situations I envisioned these would come in handy would be things like sight-seeing, or going to sports games or concerts with your boyfriend – occasions where you may be on your feet for ages, but still want to look good without having to pair your elegant sightseeing/football-babe/rock chick outfit with dumpy trainers.
- Pair with: jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses – but use nude tights or bare legs for the last three. Tuck in a band t-shirt to your denim jeans, or pair a skater skirt with a floral crop top and open cropped cardie.
Notes: I adore this style, it’s a cute closed toe, strappy, T-bar design with a nude synthetic upper and white rubber cleated sole. The nude matches my skin quite well in real life, even though they look very pink on the photos, which means they don’t cut off my (not thin) legs at the ankle visually (good for long-looking legs when wearing shorts and skater skirts in the summer). Thin legged ladies don’t need to worry whether their shoes cut them off at the ankle as much. I wanted the closed toe so I could still wear them with jeans or tights and dresses in the winter. I wanted the ankle strap so they stay on as I zoom around town running errands. I wanted them to be platform so I could have heel height without having my foot at an acute angle (I find 2-3 inch difference between heel and ball of foot to be optimal for walking mechanics and comfort). I wanted the block heel and the grips on the sole so the platform wasn’t wobbly. And lastly, I love the white sole because it reminds me of sneakers, and this makes the heels feel casual instead of smart. I probably wouldn’t wear full on workout gear with them personally, but everything else like jeans, maxi/mini skirts, denim shorts etc, yes. I have a big cognitive dissonance with wearing non-matching themed shoes with outfits (eg, sportswear with stilettos, chic workwear with flip flops etc), I just don’t think it looks good, so I match the category of my shoes to my outfit as much as I can.
Review: I ordered a size 8 from here because that’s what their size chart suggested, and my feet are a UK 4.5-5, EUR 37.5-38, US 6.5-7 (foot length 24.5cm) with a normal to wide foot. Unfortunately these shoes were too big for me, by 1.5cm, so they probably are a true UK6/EU 39/US8, not a UK5. But apart from the size, the shoe is good quality for a cheap shoe, at or above the level you would expect from Primark, Target, Kmart, and I think it will last well. There is a bit of padding in the sole too which is lovely and the toe box and strapping is super comfortable. I think you could walk for miles in these. I’m going to get a smaller size from the seller.
Pair number 2: concealed wedge sneaker booties
- Benefits: concealed wedge sneakers with extra extra height (5 inches total!) but a gentle slope for your foot; these are so high that even thought they cut you right off at the ankle, you don’t look chunky and dumpy unlike with many wedge sneakers.
- Occasions: The situations I envisioned these would come in handy would be things like walking to your local coffee shop to read a paper on Saturday morning, watching your kids football game from field-side, pottering round the high street.
- Pair with: skinny jeans, coated/PVC leggings, maxi skirts, under long flared jeans; I’ll tuck a boxy fluffy wool sweater into my high waist jeans, or put a band t-shirt on, or a fitted black sweater and a choker for a rocky-goth look. I also wear them with black opaque tights and an A-line short skirt, but am not keen on them with bare legs.
Review: I bought these from here and they arrived in less than two weeks. I ordered a size 7.5 and they fit my feet ok, but I need to put thick socks on with them. I think I’d order a 7 next time. They have enough space across the toes for my normal-to-wide feet, and the angle of your foot (believe it or not) is very gentle (the drop is 2.5 to 3 inches and feels like 2 inches). I would say that these shoes would be best if you add a comfy insole – the foot bed felt a bit hard to my foot, but easily rectified. The material is a cheap faux suede, which feels cheap but looks expensive, and seems durable. The sole has a good grip. The workmanship is good for a cheap shoe, and I’ve been wearing these non stop with my jeans and black cropped pleather jacket every weekend so far. I’ve walked up to two miles in them without any discomfort. I’d happily buy these again. And I love being 5 inches taller xD.
Pair number 3: kinda smart black pointed Mary-Jane style platforms
- Benefits: really high heels (4 inches) with the comfort of a 2.5 inch heel; ankle ties stop shoe slobbing off, and are flatteringly placed on the ankle; pretty details such as pointed toes, height, and feminine Mary-Jane style with delicate tie-laces.
- Occasions: These would be good for work, evening out with friends, date night.
- Pair with: pencil skirts, A-line dresses and skirts, tailored shorts with black tights underneath; black skinny jeans or coated/PVC leggings; under long flared jeans or high waist wide-leg trousers.
Notes: These shoes are a little bit smart for this haul, but given they’re a really comfortable but highly wearable heel, and given how I plan to wear them, I included them anyway. The purpose I wanted them for is to lengthen my lower body proportions when wearing wide leg pants and long flared jeans, which is a look I’m feeling right now – see two gorgeous examples below (credit: left, Christian Vierig, Getty Images, right I don’t know). Also I think they’d look amazing with black tights and the straight and A-line skirts I wear to work. I’m also into the short skirt-long cardi/long jacket look at the moment, as it’s a flattering way to try mini skirts if you don’t love getting your legs out (it covers your tush/most of your thighs, plus I wear black tights with black shoes to create one continuous long leg impression, and for more coverage). Lastly, I often feel black shoes remind me too much of work shoes, but if you pair them with opaque black tights, or trousers, then they blend in well without looking too smart.
Review: I bought these shoes from this seller, and ordered the size 7.5 and it was perfect. The shoe is very very comfortable, the upper is synthetic leather-effect, and the sole is hard rubbery plastic. The slope of your foot is again gentle, 2-3 inches, whilst you get the benefit of 4 inches extra height. The ties are pretty, and keep the shoe on perfectly (meaning even though buying online, the sizing doesn’t have to be as perfect as for a no-straps pump). The pointed toe box is roomy enough to not squeeze or pinch my toes, but adds something a little extra to the design. I think the shoe could look even more expensive if you replaced the cheap laces with some gold-tipped black shoelaces. But they look like an expensive pair of shoes already. The ankle tie/strap is nice and low on the upper foot/lower ankle, which I find more flattering and leg lengthening than those straps that are right up on your ankle/lower leg. I feel like these are so comfy I could wear them for a whole day at work or out and about and wouldn’t get foot pain.
Hope you enjoyed my review, here are a few more styles I’ve got my eye on at AliExpress currently, just for fun. They’re both essentially flatform loafers, for a bit of extra height and a cool pop of colour with jeans or casual outfits:
Red pompom wedge brogues (although these look like they slope downhill a bit?)
Metallic green bejewelled bedazzled beblinging wedge loafers (don’t judge I just love them I can’t help it)
I feel like all these would look amazing with a neutral jeans outfit, and a matching handbag to tie in the pop of colour. Lovely.
If you want to hunt for your own cheap platform brogues or Stella McCartney style loafers, use ‘platform brogues oxfords’ or ‘platform loafers’ to get you started. Searching on AliExpress is a bit of a skill and you often find the best stuff once you start clicking through one item through to the next using the ‘similar items from other sellers’ product carousel at the bottom of the pages.