Court up in the power pump

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As the spectre of the stacked platform recedes, something altogether more ladylike take its place. Harriet Walker reports on spring's new shoe silhouette

There are changes afoot in fashionland – quite literally. After seasons and seasons, and shelves and shelves, of platform heels, spring sees a return to something more ladylike: the humble court shoe. But it wouldn't be fashion without a bit of rebranding, so these staple souliers are renamed the “power pump”.

Characterised by a tapered heel and a paper-thin sole, there's none of the clompy-stompy look of recent years. The power pump is altogether more streamlined, and a bit more spiky.

For those of us whose feet have grown accustomed to the extra cushioning a platform offers, the power pump may come as a bit of a shock.

The key is to ease yourself in gently: the heel heights to which we have all become used aren't so easily managed when you don't have that helpful bit of height at the front. So choose a slightly lower heel – four inches instead of six, perhaps, or even lower if you're keen to embrace the new vogue for kitten heels (Nicholas Kirkwood's are exemplary and show how the kitten has gone all cool) – to ensure safe ankles and not too much teetering.

You're more likely to last out the day in something less vertiginous too.

Isabel Marant's star-print suede version looks set to become the latest piece of sell-out footwear, following on from her hit wedge trainers.

Marant is all about being comfortably chic.

Pair with cigarette pants for the ultimate in latter-day femme fatale, or try with a pair of faded boyfriend jeans for something altogether more modern.

With the power pump, you'll feel immediately more ladylike and genteel but be warned: you might need to take baby steps at first.

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