Single Soles

The reasons we’re psyched that single sole pumps are back


I have referenced soles and souls so many times in the past 24 hours that as far as I am concerned, neither of which words are actually real words at this point. Do you ever do that yourself? Repeat something so often that it stops making sense?

Yeah. I’m glad we had this talk.

Now, I know what you’re going to say. You hate the resurgence of single sole pumps. (For the uninitiated, this is effectively just a pump sans platform.) Until six months ago I probably would have agreed with you. When I look down at my feet, cloaked in glorified daggers, and said feet are just like, “Leandra, why are you doing this to us? Have you no soul?” (see what I did just there?), I start to feel a little sorry.

I long for the days of shoes chunkier than Swiss cheese, heavier than the contents of my grandmother’s bra, bla bla bla. But do I really? Did I actually enjoy walking around with dumb-bells strapped to my feet? Sure, feeling that majestic, thick Filet Mignon of a cushion under my sole was nice most days, but did it look good? Did I feel good? I was practically numb to the happenings of the earth under which I stood. That’s no way to go through life. And if I’m going to suggest to you that “comfort is a state of mind,” I’m not going to take it back for fairer weather. Oh no.

On the one hand, who’s to say what’s in and what’s out, right? Wear whatever the shit you want! But on the other, maybe you don’t want to compromise your highly advanced trend-forecasting capabilities and wear shoes that seem, gasp, dated. I totally get it.

In light of the conundrum but not as a solution to it, here are some good reasons Team Man Repeller is quite frankly psyched that the single sole pump is back, burning holes into the balls of our feet and giving our pinky toes reason to give up on us once and for all.

Just kidding, guys, pinkies are historically ride or die. That big toe, though, I don’t know. Now:

1. Even for those of us with Bambi ankles, single sole pumps are wildly generous in matters of the arch and create the illusion of legs that are often approximately 4 inches longer than their natural length. That and, contortionism is very hip right now.

2. According to Charlotte: they are the first high heel that girls become acquainted with care of Barbie’s footwear choices and therefore there is an intrinsic propensity for girls to want to have them.

3. According to Mattie: the SSP (they are on an acronym basis) is the great equalizer of footwear. They maintain panache in a way that cheap platforms cannot and confer an elegance that lesser heels don’t. (She’s a newly converted fan and wanted me to tell you that in the early aughts she was “all about an espadrille, which made major waves” during a series placement exams she once took in high school).

4. According to Kate: Few silhouettes can highlight the perfect break in a masterfully hemmed pair of pants.

4a.  There’s very little argument for a closed-toe pump being inappropriate at work (unless it’s outrageously high), and yet there’s a demure, almost dominant sexiness to them.

4b. Stilettos demand a distinct posture and an attempt at grace, where stacked heels or platforms are far more forgiving. It makes you a bit more aware of how you carry yourself, and perhaps even stokes an inherent confidence when you wear them well. The flipside, of course, is the crushing shame of leaving the house in shoes you have no business wearing, finding yourself hobbling by midday, counteracting any stylistic boost the heel might have provided.

5. You can almost always rest assured that you will not look like a wobbling penguin (see: myself in drop crotch pants) while wearing the pumps because they are designed for elegant ladies and elegant bitches don’t wobble.

5a. On that note, they also look phenomenal with denim cut-offs and, well, ’tis the season.

5b. We still seemingly gain ample respect when wearing pumps and proving our resilience. If not because we’re essentially trekking on our tippy toes, than certainly because the shoes are grown up and sophisticated. These are not the strappy 3.5-inch prom sandals that served as an entre into heel wearing.

6. Speaking of elegance, when asking oneself WWJD (What Would Jackie Do?), the answer is almost always a pair of pumps. If single soles are to Jackie O, which I reckon they are, the assumption is that maniacal platforms may fall under the umbrella of a less favorable figure in popular culture. And I’m not sure about you but if it’s raining and I don’t have an umbrella, I think I’m charging toward the former one. If not because it may be better quality nylon than certainly because I have always wanted to share an umbrella with someone who is no longer alive.

I miss Biggie.

7. There is, of course, an undeniable element of power at play. Step into a pair of sneakers and you’re comfortable. Step into a pair of pumps, however, and you’re invincible.


And 8, which is effectively #11, because even though you can likely file this one under reasons Leandra is a masochist, I fucking love band-aids! I use to deliberately paper cut the shit out of my fingers when I was younger so that I could believably wear them. (Naturally, I had very fancy sets ranging from those of Spongebob Squarepants to Powerpuff Girl-inspired variety). In the current climate, I am wholly okay with the neutral skin-colored ones too. The fact of the matter is, when talking about band-aids, band-aids as accessories, and the notion of “less is more,” is “less” even really a suitable descriptive noun? I think not. (rings by Khai Khai and Vita Fede)

Shoes by Casadei, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, and Christian Louboutin. The selection at ASOS is a worth a gander, too. Photos by Naomi Shon

Sold? Tell me why you like single sole pumps.

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  • orly

    who makes your snake ring in the last picture?

    • Lefukaka

      Khai Khai, the line is awesome.

  • madeline

    you should do a post about what to wear when you work from home/what you wear when you are working because i haven’t gotten out of yoga pants in days and its killing me slowly

    • Leandra Medine

      GREAT IDEA! Thanks.

    • jessicaenglish

      I second this idea ^^^

    • Me too! This idea is great!

  • Courtney Jago

    I need walking lessons first.

  • Elisabeth Robertson

    Thank god for big bags. I just wear mocassins to work and bring my trusty pumps in my bag and change in the elevator. No one is the wiser. Unless of course a coworker is in the same elevator and then I just try and hide in the corner. I’m small so its pretty easy to do.

    • Leandra Medine

      Idea: if you feel like using a smaller bag that can fit your flip flops, wear strappy heels that can tied together (a la rollerblades ca. 96) and fling them across your shoulder. It’s the latest in prehistoric-innovation!

    • Haha, I’m guilty of the same trick. Tip: if someone’s in the elevator with you, just duck into the nearest bathroom to change.

  • Allison

    Yes, yes yes! I love this post. Single sole pumps are so classic and timeless, You can’t go wrong. The Man Repeller is the last place I thought I would see or read about them. I can’t wait to see how you pair them with shorts.


  • Marina Casapu

    I still remember my moms high heel black lacquered sole pumps. I grew up trying to walk in them. They are a must in every girls shoe collection.

  • Weirdly enough, I find single sole a lot sexier than platforms.

    • Brijetblog

      Fancy seeing you here.

  • I like single sole pumps and platform shoes. I have trouble walking in the single sole ones because I have wide feet and my feet are just screaming in agony. I think I need them though because some outfits just demand a single sole pointy pump. You are right about wearing them with denim shorts.

  • I’m nervous about these coming back, but I guess as long as I have an arsenal of band-aids, and a pair of emergency flats in the glove compartment (They’re not just for gloves? Who knew?), I think I’ll be alright!

  • “Step into a pair of sneakers and you’re comfortable. Step into a pair of pumps, however, and you’re invincible.” Love this! And it is quite ironic how they give you a reason to question your judgement a few hours in. But I guess beauty is pain.

    You should do a workout video- I think strengthening the leg muscles could work. Nothing worse than seeing a woman who can’t walk in her shoes.

  • TNK_Style

    Amen!! I couldn’t wait for the platform pump regime to be over!! And all the while, sitting patiently in the closet have been single sole pumps, shaking their heads in “tsk-tsk” just waiting for us all to come to our senses! Great post. Band-aid stock will be on the rise in no time lol

  • Sofia Allyn

    Speaking of denim cut-offs…I would love a post on those now that we’re nearing “festival season” (though I sincerely hate that name).

  • monkeyshines
  • Yesss! Jeans, white shirt and SSP FTW!

  • i have a real love hate relationship with single sole pumps. i love them because they’re beautiful and signify that their wearers are real ladies who can handle a real heel. i hate them because i am no such lady. this i learned the hard way while crossing the street in my first and only SSPs and getting yelled at by construction workers to learn how to walk in heels.


  • SylviaETC

    Great post Leandra!
    J’adore single pumps!
    Actually, I just bought a new pair today.
    Black sling-backs with python effect – from H&M.
    So irresistible that I’m wearing them now 😉 Word.

  • I look way better in SSPs; due to my unfortunate genetic inheritance of thick(er)-than-the average-chick legs (no matter how many miles I clock in per day running). Platforms tend to make me look bottom heavy and stripperish; whilst the hyperextension and definition in my legs with a single sole heel improves my overall posture. Although my deduction leads me to the revelation that these are definitely NOT man repelling. Men would love the shit out of this actually; sans forbearance of hammer toes, bunions & other various podiatric anomalies.

  • hire me please

    as soon as i graduate in may (wake forest) pumps will be my go to…wore pumps to class once and i was basically just the girl repeller…is there such a thing? ever had a moment when a girl was totally harping on you’re style?

    well anyways…i support the #sspmovement let’s get it trending??

  • glad someone else knows what it feels like to have bambi ankles.

  • PG100

    As someone who has had bandaids in her bag for as long as she can remember, I need to tell you that I discovered something that actually works to prevent blisters! Seriously, I dont dread certain shoes anymore and I feel like an idiot for not knowing about this sooner (because its just castor oil so it’s basically like a home remedy?)

  • Kristina

    aren’t those the shit-covered manolos?

  • Dana

    REJOICE!!!!! I have been waiting for this day for a long time! Not only due to the fact that I’m 5’10” and can’t rock a platform pump without looking like a drag queen, but it’s high time we got back to a beautiful classic that is versatile and wearable (and doesn’t evoke images of a ‘K’ sister or a ‘Housewife’ (enter city here).

  • I’m not sure how I feel about SSP but I’m a huge fan of band-aids too! I actually still get excited about the cartoon editions. I’m in the phase spider man band-aids.

  • Thank frigging god that those horrible platforms are out. Not saying I didn’t like them, but the fact there’s 100 times more single soled pumps in the shops than a year ago has allowed me to completely change my wardrobe into something elegant and graceful. I’m still 16 but they have almost taught me how to act and walk like a lady!

    I mean you can’t really wear platforms during the day (not where I live) but single soles can be worn with anything, at any point during the day, and I don’t even care because I actually look good!
    I recently got some beautiful white ones in – believe it or not – Topshop and have basically been living in them. Since they have a gorgeous selection I think I’m just going to buy like 8 more pairs.

    Thank you for this article Leandra, it really made me chuckle at times and I agree with everything said. Especially the WWJD part.

  • Mary

    as far as I’m concerned they aren’t back as they never left baby cakes #emmanuelandcarineneverworeplatforms just sayin’

  • Erika

    You lost me at pumps an ddenim cutoffs…of course i am older than you and maybe it is generational ? no you lost me

  • Claire

    I’ve always been repulsed by the platform pump–weren’t they originally worn by strippers?! As a devoted SSP wearer, I’ve never worn platform pumps. Ever. I feel like I have more balance when the balls of my feet are touching the ground.

  • fashion

    women have such a nice shoes, also they can wear so beautiful dresses and heels, visit to view all these beautifully designed heels, we do have men clothing aswell

  • Alice

    Like you mentioned, SSP’s stop making me look like the homeless guy who sits all day outside my subway in a shopping cart. Ripped vintage dungarees and an ACDC tee with battered sneakers = disaster. The beforementioned with SSP’s = SJP

  • Single soles are in my opinion the sexiest but often the most unforgiving shoes for my feet out there. Still, I cannot resist them because of said first point though I`ll take points flats for an everyday shoe to wear to classes.

  • Silvia Cristescu

    I’m surprised you say you didn’t like them before! I think they’re great! I’ve been wearing them since forever, but that’s also because my legs are skinny and I look terrible with platform shoes 🙂 Nice article!

  • Daniella M

    SSP’s are classic!

  • I have platforms and I have SSP’s – I love themn both – but platforms make me feel fierce (and tall) and SSP’s make me feel classy >:)

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.

  • eugenia

    single sole pumps are so elegant and make everything so glamorous
    love this post

  • Haley

    Single souled heals are undeniably more elegant and sexy (in terms of actually working with the curves of a body). I happen to have a great pair. But the rest of mine are platforms, because they hurt soooooo much less. It makes my soul 😉 a little sad.

  • #7 has me so curious.

    This article ( in the WSJ claims the opposite:
    that comfortable footwear proves “you’re successful enough to not have to wear shoes that give you blisters.”

  • Lydia

    I definitely deliberately put a bandaid on my right knee when I wore jeans with ripped knee holes for a good two years of my highschool life.

  • yes, sold. also, we must be sharing a brain frequency, or else i’ve missed a whole new meme, because today i posted about wwsw (what would sofia wear?) – quite delighted to see wwjd in this post.

  • Elizabeth

    so speaking of uncomfortable, my balenciaga cutout boots rip the shit out the backs of my feet when i wear them (still! its been over a year). you’re the only other person i know of that has them; does this happen to you? (question inspired by fresh gashes on my feet)

  • Natashia

    I actually hate platforms! Yes, probably one of the only women to say this. I only have one pair of platform shoes, and they are maybe half an inch, and booties, and ONLY cos finding a pair of black suede booties in winter proved impossible if they didn’t have a platform. So hallelujah for the SSP!

  • Miriam

    I feel so old! when sheer hose came back, I was like, “they left?” and now the same with pumps. I’ve never owned a pair of platform pumps — are they actually more comfortable than SSPs as this post implies?

  • Belén

    Here, Mary Kate and Ashley show us the difference.. don’t make me reckon wich is wich, please.

  • Belén

    Here, Mary Kate and Ashley show us the difference.. don’t make me recognize wich is wich, please.

  • Manu
  • Rehmat Ullah

    Nice post by the way..

    Men and women clothing

  • Alba B.

    How to behave when using Cinder(no-f)ella shoes?!!!
    To me looks like no band-aid can save you and if this was “less is more”, then there is always sweating (feet) on the corner!!!

  • Camille

    Coincidentally I recently purchased my first pair of “adult” shoes – a classic black four-inch pump. When wearing them I feel incredibly confident and mature, and my mother actually teared up when she saw me in them (although she laughed when I walked and hobbled pathetically) I guess walking lessons are in order!

  • carolina_bin


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  • arin

    I like the because you like them. Not creepy at all, right?

  • Alessandra

    perhaps my response is delayed, but i am elated to have found this post and feel i must share.

    at 5’8″ i long ago deemed myself a “tall girl,” though girls of an even taller variety consistently beg me to please, pretty please, shut up.

    nevertheless, i think i’m tall. get over it.

    anyway, in my youth (haha) (that’s funny because i’m 22 and like to think that’s still youth, don’t tell me it’s not) my height was the bane of my existence. at every high school and middle school dance, i rocked painfully (to the eye, not the foot) low kitten-heels-esque shoes in an effort to never be taller than my date.

    i was so embarrassed of the mass of boys i was taller than. in retrospect i blame new jersey. is that fair? maybe not, but upon a recent move to new york, i found there is, in fact, a community of men in my heeled-height range. regardless, back then, it made me feel less feminine.

    (sidenote: is there a female version of emasculated?)

    when i went away to college, i found myself in a circle of girls who were wildly comfortable with their bodies. they were all so incredibly beautiful despite their flaws and made no excuses for their big asses, knobby knees, or crocked noses. instead, their embracement of such features and their overt confidence was undeniably sexy and appealing. i took a note from their books and began to appreciate my height (which, i’ll quietly admit isn’t really an absurdity).

    i began to relish in the shoe collection i had missed out on for so long, purchasing any shoe i desired regardless of the height of the heel. in fact, the higher the better.

    i seemed to be off-topic, but i’m getting there. bare with me.

    i love the double sole pump. i love the height it gives me. i am obsessed with the silhouette of a big shoe (and yes, obsessed is the right word). my collection of massive heels in unnecessary and extensive. not to mention i can’t actually afford all of the shoes i own.

    so i’m having a hard time here. the SSP streamlines my shoes in a way that i am not sure i am apt to handle. when i look at them in the stores (and online when i am supposed to be working), i feel an inherent need to buy them. however, i have come so far in my relationship with footwear. will this cause me to relapse?

    my world is being flipped upside down. my brain and heart are saying two different things! last week i wore sneakers! (something you’ve discussed in the past) i’m so confused. who am i?! am i having an identity crisis? perhaps. am i being dramatic? definitely. but i just love me some chunky shoe.

    your post brought a tear to my eye. (abnormal, yes). you have made me feel better about wearing an SSP. in fact, i’ll probably go buy a pair after i hit post. they ARE a flattering silhouette. and i feel as if i need them to exist on this planet.

    yes, in times of such distress it is perhaps best to ask WWJackieD? and when you say the answer is “a pair of pumps.” you are correct.

    lastly, in this strange, misguided (possibly psychotic) comment, i point you to kanye west who memorializes the highest of heels when he poetically raps:

    and my outfit just so 80’s
    not to mention my mclaren mercedes
    and the 26 inch rim wheels
    looks so good with your 6-inch heels
    fly that you be on gone
    gucci on
    aligned by louis vuitton
    and we high as the way we cruising on
    high like I like mercury
    why do I mention the solar system?
    cause you in my sole (ha!) and system

    well said, kanye, well said. if my chunky shoes are dying (which i don’t actually believe they are), than may they live forever in your songs!

  • fashion
  • Marissa

    For those of us less fond of band-aids, I recommend this. It rocks and don’t take it out of your purse:

  • I love single sole pumps. They’re so elegant and the right ones makes your feet look so dainty and long. Wish i can have one in every color that’s out!! lol.

  • mollie blackwood

    I never got off the Single Soul Train (Come on, ride the train, hey, ride it, woo woo!). The fact is my short legs just look better in them. With platforms and wedges, I look like I’m trying to fool the Six Flags worker into letting me ride the roller coaster. Ridiculous.

    Side note: I had weird arm acne every now and then in high school. My solution was to slap on a sweet band-aid and call it day. Only on days when I was feeling gansta did I put them on my face.

  • Chelsea Adams

    I absolutely love your blog! I seem to have the same thoughts racing through my mind. I love the part about comfort being a state of mind. When I wear my “SSPs”, I always walk confident, and never wince because the second I start to think about how much my feet hurt, it all just goes down hill from there! I’m so glad single sole pumps are back, so classic!

  • Arielle

    The new Jeffery Campbell Delmara pump is undeniably the most uncomfortable looking perfect shoes I have seen.

  • Cat

    So what the fuck are we to do with the $$$$$ platform shoes in our closets? Save them for 2030? No, but seriously, I have an honest question for everyone: if your cool, fashionable, single-soled self saw an otherwise fashionable girl walking about in platforms today, would you secretly look down (or more likely, up) on them, or think they are ‘out of the know’? I am not judging in any way, I am genuinely curious as to what you guys would think.

    • Some people really suit platforms and can make them look amazing – besides, the Charlotte Olympia ones will forever be in my heart. When I’m walking around in my hometown though, I can’t help but sigh and think how much classier would women and girls’ outfits look if they were wearing SSPs and not extremely high platforms.

      They’re not ‘out’, since people still do and will continue wearing them. I’m only 16 and have started purchasing heels recently, and almost all of them are SSP’s because they’re so much more versatile for day and night, and make me look more sophisticated with anything. I mean I’ll still wear some of my platforms, but I so prefer single-soles.

    • Some people really suit platforms and can make them look amazing – besides, the Charlotte Olympia ones will forever be in my heart. When I’m walking around in my hometown though, I can’t help but sigh and think how much classier would women and girls’ outfits look if they were wearing SSPs and not extremely high platforms.

      They’re not ‘out’, since people still do and will continue wearing them. I’m only 16 and have started purchasing heels recently, and almost all of them are SSP’s because they’re so much more versatile for day and night, and make me look more sophisticated with anything. I mean I’ll still wear some of my platforms, but I so prefer single-soles.

  • Jhv

    I’m Spanish and I specially like your blog but the only thing that I kinda dislike is that for me is a bit difficult to understand you, cause you write with a very refined english. And the cherrie of the top is that the translator is not as good as it seems.

  • After a broken foot care of a certain footwear craze, read Flatforms, I am a wholly converted pumps girl. I see girls tottering in their Jeffrey Campbell’s and think ‘death wish’. Pumps might hurt a bit more, but certainly a lot less than a toppled ankle. That and they always feel so damn Carrie Bradshaw.

  • Those are all my size, too, Leandra! Get it my closet! Especially those by Casadei that adorned your feet in Chicago! 🙂

  • AllThingsJustSo

    It’s true, I’m a shortish in stature, platform-loving fool… But just all of a sudden, I can’t stop craving a red suede, single sole pump. (Manolo round toe BB en route to me). Once I had the idea in my head, it wouldn’t leave. Something about the classic shape (to be worn with nothing classic) and the red suede (that transcends every freaking season)…

  • AllThingsJustSo

    It’s true, I’m a shortish in stature, platform-loving fool… But just all of a sudden, I can’t stop craving a red suede, single sole pump. (Manolo round toe BB en route to me). Once I had the idea in my head, it wouldn’t leave. Something about the classic shape (to be worn with nothing classic) and the red suede (that transcends every freaking season)…

  • Single sole pumps are just more elegant and classy compared to chunky platforms, although the latter is so much more comfortable…

  • Here’s how I process this whole, “to-wear-or-not-to-wear” question of the moment:

    It’s all about taking what’s new, what’s about to be new, and understanding that nothing is new. Then you wear the new style, with the same signature M/O that you would wear a potato sack (because you don’t give a fuck about fashion anyway), and you act like nothing ever happened.

    I’ll definitely be sporting the SSP of the VINTAGE variety, because if it looks dated right now at the peak of its emergence in the microscope of fashion, then it probably will look dated again in 5 years when it has run its course of the current reincarnation.

    It’s simple: Buy vintage for trends that come with discomfort and queasy nostalgia. Buy off the runway for a true investment piece or everyday utilitarian chicness.

  • melanie86

    single sole pumps are classic. everything else is just a trend.

  • Brijetblog

    I’ve known this was coming for a while and kind of dreading it- sartorially, single sole sandals (never been a pump fan and being from a tropical climate sandals are plausible annually) are far sexier, timeless and go with errything. But they’re so fucking painful!! I legit popped my pinkie toe outside the devil strap of my stillettos the other day so I could finish the last leg of my trek. It was horrendously innovative- I wish I could attach the photo…..holy shit, I can attach a photo!

  • This post ruled. And so I wrote a post about this post:

  • Ronni

    I recently discovered your blog and I am obsessed!!! You are fucking fabulous and your outlook on fashion is on point. Kudos.

  • fashion

    yh love pumps i buy mine from

  • Histiletto

    You can’t beat the look and styling of SSP. I maintain that platforms shouldn’t be used for high heels until the heel of the wearer’s foot can not be raised any more while maintaining a graceful gait. To put platforms on lower heeled shoes tends to make the wearer’s feet look bigger, swollen, and/or cloddish. Also in my opinion, SSP shouldn’t have any other type of heel than stilettos. If you’re wearing high heels to reduce the protrusion of your feet or making you seem taller, then why wear wedges or block heels of any shape that tend to modify your feet to look more massive vertically. Thus diminishing the illusion that you are taller and your only higher on big portable supports.