WWD.com/eye/fashion/moment-96-the-walk-of-pain-3346761
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Moment 96: The Walk of Pain

Sometime around 2005, designers turned sadistic into sartorial chic. Spikes, studs and impossibly high heels became the go-to in runway footwear.

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Alexander McQueen’s armadillo shoe spring 2010

Alexander McQueen’s armadillo shoe, spring 2010.

Photo By Giovanni Giannoni

Sometime around 2005–2006, designers turned sadistic into sartorial chic, at least when it came to their shoes. Suddenly pretty pumps were passé and high heels no longer a leg-elongating trick but a literal platform for perversity. For spring 2007, Christian Lacroix paid homage to Jenga with his tasseled wedges, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana spiked and studded peep-toes for D&G, Donna Karan put glacial Lucite heels on her gladiators, and in what was to be the barometer of the season’s aggressive trend, Nicolas Ghesquière tricked out his sky-high, bondage-style sandals with chain-link platforms at Balenciaga. They didn’t just look dangerous—“There were some very difficult shoes,” model Irina Lazareanu told WWD. “They were very high, plus there were slippery runways. A lot of girls fell down and hurt themselves.” A cautionary tale, one would think, until fashion diehards—editors and civilians alike—lapped it up and fueled an S&M shoe movement that only began to turn when Alexander McQueen unveiled the extreme shoe for extremists: his otherwordly armadillo styles for spring 2010.