STEVENSON, Md., June 3 (UPI) -- Officials at Maryland schools and universities said they have noticed an increasing trend of graduating students offsetting their plain robes with flashy shoes.
Sarah McDowell, director of internship programs at Stevenson University, said she first noticed the trend of female students bucking the traditional black flats and kitten heels in favor of flashier footwear two years ago, The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday.
"I was a little surprised at the height of the shoes," McDowell said. "They were just gorgeous. Some were really bold -- neon pink, green, and blue leopard print. Some of them were just absolutely crazy."
Howard County schools spokeswoman Patti Caplan said officials have also noticed the trend among graduating high school seniors, and principals have been asking this year's graduates to refrain from sporting high heels.
"It's a safety issue," Caplan said.
Carolyn Warner, manager of the high-end shoe store Sassanova in Harbor East, said the most popular graduation shoes this season are a $550 pair of Loeffler Randall crisscross stilettos and a pair of $595 beige suede peep-toe platforms by Oscar de la Renta.
"People put a lot of time and a lot of effort finding graduation shoes," Warner said. "The last couple years, younger kids have started earlier chasing the runway. For special occasions, they want the perfect outfit. They are not holding back with shoes at all."