April 19 2014

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Heel-Less Shoes: A Brief History


Though she takes an occasional tumble, Lady Gaga loves difficult footwear, like the heel-less boots she’s been wearing frequently of late. She pulled them on again for the September issue of Vanity Fair, where Nick Knight snapped her leaping midair in a pair of heel-less platforms by the young Japanese designer Noritaka Tatehana. But the Lady is only the most recent fan of the gravity-defying style, and Tatehana only the latest to take up the heel-free challenge. Below, recent snapshots from the annals of heel-less cobblers—and their famous fans, too.

Marc Jacobs’ “backwards” heels, Spring 2008.

Victoria Beckham wears Antonio Berardi’s thigh-high PVC heel-less boots to the launch of her fragrance in NYC, September 2008; the boots hit the runway in Berardi’s Fall 2008 show.

Olivier Theyskens’ heel-less shoes and their sickle-shaped soles were a major part of his final show for Nina Ricci in Fall 2009; they are even reputed to be comfortable.

Daphne Guinness wears Natacha Marro’s heel-less Mary Janes to the Dorchester Fashion Prize semi-finalists announcement in July; interested parties can purchase a glittering red version in ultra-limited edition at for about $758.

Recent offerings from Noritaka Tatehana, whose boots Lady Gaga wears in September’s Vanity Fair.

Photos: Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse (Marc Jacobs, Nina Ricci); Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images (Antonio Berardi/Victoria Beckham); Dave M. Benett / Getty Images (Natacha Morro/Daphne Guinness); Courtesy of Noritaka Tatehana (Noritaka Tatehana)



  1. olliecrafoord says:

    Aww, I was hoping the brief history would be a little less brief at least starting in the 1950′s or so with François Pinet’s heel-less shoes.

  2. totha says:

    Or even starting at 1937 with André Perugia…

  3. kgerson1 says:

    Would love greater depth in the content, some real history, early influences, sketches, what have you.

  4. dulcie says:

    andre perugia was way before these guys!

    i wrote a bog post about him, where you can see his attempt at the heelless heel ( looked painful), here:

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