Acrylic heels, back from the dead?

Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer


Once a popular shoe for celebrities, the acrylic heel has recently become an upcoming trend not only for the rich and famous but also in the “day-to-day world.” The clear plastic shoe fad, as it was called back in the day, has become quite popular for the fashionistas of the world.

Lucite, the brand name for a kind of acrylic, is often used to make items for the home that allude to Hollywood glamor, but it has also been linked to high heel shoes. Lucite has been popular since World War II, because it is highly durable and UV resistant. It is still used in high-end design and it’s cheaper sister—acrylic—has become quite common on the market.

The creation of the “invisible sandal” has been traced back to 1947, when the clear heel was created by Salvatore Ferragamo, a high-end Italian shoe designer who styled  Hollywood Stars. Then, in 1961, the “Cinderella” shoe made its debut as a peep-toe pump, just like the classic Cinderella slipper.

This style, once known as the Cinderella slipper, has become a secular symbol in such a short amount of time. This could be the reason why it quickly came and went in the fashion world during the 2000’s. Before it vanished into thin air, this shoe could be seen on celebrities and models with the classic “grunge” outfit of jeans and a t-shirt. It was fairly popular with celebrities and the rich and famous.

Since their comeback, acrylic heels have been worn less in terms of fashion. Now, they have become popular in pole dancing fitness, bodybuilding, pageants, and wedding industries. This shoe has become quite popular because of its versatile abilities. Some say that it will slowly replace the classic nude heel. The “PVC heels” as they are most popularly known as incorporate anywhere from minimal transparency to a completely clear shoe.

Since the reintroduction of the see-through heels by many high-end designers in 2012, they have become increasingly popular in terms of day-to-day wear by not only celebrities, but also those with eccentric fashion tastes.

According to Body Ecology, acrylic is number two on the list of toxic fabrics because the polyacrylonitriles within them has been linked to causing cancer. This may allude to one of the reasons that people do not wear them although they are “popular” today. Another reason is that they come across as looking cheap. This turns many women away because they value the expensive look that their wardrobe needs to suggest, and the see-through heels just do not do it for them.

The fashion world is not the only place talking about this. Freshman Tyler Patches says, “They can definitely complete an outfit by adding a pop of high fashion. I would absolutely make sure they are comfortable before I bought a pair. Especially if I wore them to work since that involves a lot of walking and moving around. With the amount of running around that celebrities do while wearing them, I would assume they must be comfortable. I always feel shoes are worth it if they are that expensive.”

Another Saint Martin’s student, Myki Dee Kim, a sophomore, also offered her insight. “I think that the acrylic heel is nice when done simple. It has become so ‘gaudy’ and because of that they do not look as nice as other heels do. They also look semi-cheap because  the material used to create it looks like plastic.”

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