Marvin Gaye’s signature silver platform boots made by Gaye’s wife, Janis, 1970s
As I’m sure many of the more academic readers of DM are aware, the history of guys strutting around in big heels goes all the way back to the Baroque period when it was considered to the calling card of a truly “masculine” kind of man. Oh yes. Wearing heels made you taller and being taller made one appear more menacing. And for men in positions of power or prestige, being intimidating was helpful with ensuring that you maintained your position in society. Aristocrats and elites like Charles II of England were often depicted in paintings wearing high-heeled footwear.
An early version of AC/DC with vocalist Dave Evans looking very glam (far left) with Angus (the only one not wearing heels) and Malcolm Young.
David Bowie, 1970s
Johnny Thunders and David Johansen of the New York Dolls, 1973
However, if you’re like me, the first era you probably think of when it comes to men in high heels is the 1970s. From glam rock to disco pretty much everybody (including women naturally) were wearing sky-high platforms. My earliest recollections are of KISS stomping around in their signature platform boots, but if you happened across a JC Penney or Sears catalog during that decade it’s a sure bet that there were at least a few high-heeled offerings in the men’s section that made your young mind go hmmm.
Vintage ad for Nunn Bush “Brass Boot.” The high-heeled, knee-high lace up boots, 1970s
Unknown rocker, New York City, 1977
Men’s platform boots, 1970s
I’ve included loads of images of far-out shoes worn by David Bowie, Elton John, Marvin Gaye, Keith Moon, the New York Dolls and other glamorous men, as well as shoes and a few advertisements for men’s footwear from that era that will make you dizzy. For the record (adventurous men take note), I’d love to see this trend come back so please get on that right away.
An ad for men’s platform shoes by Padrino, 1970s
Platform boots and disco dudes, 1970s
The red platform boots worn by David Bowie during the “Aladdin Sane” tour, 1972 - 1973
Ferradini (Italy) platform shoes worn by Elton John, mid-70s
George Clinton, 1978
Freddie Burretti turquoise boots worn by David Bowie
Bay City Rollers
Platform boots by Master John (Toronto, Canada) 1973
An ad for “Flagg Bros.”, a men’s fashion company based in California, 1976
Platform boots worn by Elton John
Abba (Benny Andersson in platforms in the center)
Gene Simmons, his sick platform boots, and KISS’s young minions
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Trippy ‘Alice In Wonderland’ shoes