If you’re the type to check out people’s clothing, you can’t go one day on the streets of Buenos Aires without noticing that porteñas love their platform shoes. When I arrived to BA, my first question was, “WHY?” My second question, to my surprise: “Where can I get some?”

First, an acknowledgement: Not everybody in town loves platform shoes. Many locals and longtime expats shun the thick soles seen on every street corner, but my initial reaction was more of curiosity than distaste. These shoes – which I’d last seen circa 1996 in my favorite Spice Girls video – appeared out of step with BA’s bold but minimalistic aesthetic. So why did so many fashionable women opt to totter atop the stage-sized shoes?

They have good reason, as it turns out. After walking the streets – and sidestepping cracks, construction and dog poop – I realized that platforms are unexpectedly practical. As opposed to stilettos, pumps and even flats, the sturdy soles not only boost your height but also keep you surefooted all day long. I was sold.

While searching for my own pair, I set out to find street-style inspo that even the most ardent opponents couldn’t knock. So in homage to everyone’s favorite platform-sporting 90s girl band, I give you five styles of zapatos de plataforma to spice up your life. Aaaah…

Edgy Spice

Edgy

Faux or real, she’s a rock star in a graphic tee, ripped jeans and studded platforms. I tracked down her Ricky Sarkany kicks, currently on sale but light on sizes. If the shoe fits, consider yourself in luck.

Earthy Spice

Pachamama

Like the revered goddess of the Andes, this woman clothed herself in earthy hues with contrasting textures. She lightened up the style with coordinating – but not overly matchy – chunky platforms (also a Ricky Sarkany style).

Alt Spice

Alt

Platforms were made for this girl. She showed off her tatts, textured socks and tall tacones with supreme self-confidence.

Boliche Spice

Nightlife

The 90s are back, baby, and la vida nocturna won’t let you forget it. This stylista layered leather on leather with a heavy dose of matte lip and rocker vibes, completing the look with her high-rise shoes.

Sporty Spice?

On-The-Move

OK, so this one’s a bit of a stretch, being that Nike considers these wedges. You say potato, I say platform. Amiright? This fashionista elevated her style with a color-blocked shoulder bag, bringing the look from comfy to chic.

Finding Your Footing

AliciaPlatform

You can buy the ubiquitous shoes at almost any BA boutique. As a newly minted platform pro, I recommend Ricky Sarkany’s styles like those modeled by Edgy or Earthy, or Clona’s more budget-friendly zippered, textured botineta.

But will your Spice Girl-power stand the test of time? An informal poll indicated that platforms have been in vogue for up to four years. The urban almanac (aka Google’s record of blogs and articles) revealed the style has been on the streets since at least 2010. So love ’em or leave ’em, it’s safe to say that these shoes are in it for the long haul.

As for my own quest, I finally found my creepers (pictured above) at Abasto Shopping. They’re tall, dark and so easy to wear. Take that, haters.