They’re back. The platform may be one of the oldest tricks in the shoe book, but its long history does not dilute the powerful feeling it can create for its wearer. While the platform’s last iteration a decade ago was defined by its party girl status, versions for fall ’19 are meant to be taken a bit more seriously.

At fall ’19’s fashion weeks, the shoes were shown with powerful, even intimidating looks. Rick Owens showed a fall ‘19 show that featured aggressive platform boots with metal grates across the toe (paired with equally repelling prosthetic makeup). At Dries Van Noten, the prints were colorful, floral and feminine as ever, but paired with patent leather platform boots with rubberized soles, the looks read like pretty but poisonous flowers. At Milan Fashion Week, Gucci’s metallic platform booties and satin knee-length high-rise boots seemed like vampy party shoes until you looked up at the face masks full of spikes.

They weren’t all downright scary, though. Some, like Givenchy’s Mary Janes and Jimmy Choo’s Maple ankle-strap, closed-toe sandals offered a suggestion of what an office-appropriate platform might look like, with a rich croc-embossed detail. “Heels have always had the power to transform both emotionally and physically, but the platform balances out the height of the actual heel on the toe, making walking in heels a lot easier,” said Jimmy Choo creative director Sandra Choi on the potential power of a platform heel. “They change your posture and make you feel more confident.

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For new designer Julia Toledano of Nodaleto, vintage inspirations evoke the freedom of past decades and inform her new trapeze-heel-shaped platform boots. “When I think of a woman in platform shoes, I remember those girls from the ’60’s and ’70’s, super sexy, stylish and breathing freedom and happiness,” she said. ” Wearing high heels connects women to their sex appeal, of course, but wearing platform heels connects women to their confidence.”

In honor of FN’s Women in Power issue, a look at the season’s elevated footwear that will be raising women up — quite literally.

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