Laura’s Fashion File

Living on the Wedge

By Laura Trask

April 28, 2011

Often in life when we say, ‘we are living on the edge.’ The feeling that comes to mind is negative…as if one more step could end in disaster! When talking about shoes however, living on the wedge can be a glorious place to be.

The wedge was created by Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo in 1935, originally as an orthopedic shoe. Because there was a shortage of leather, he used rubber and wood.  During WWII the wedge enjoyed a second resurgence in popularity as height was in fashion and the wedge was a comfortable alternative to the high heel. In the 70‘s the wedge was liberated, and men as well as women were wearing them in a groovy kaleidoscope of rainbow colors. One designer went so far as to create a clear acrylic wedge that had a gold fish swimming inside.

For spring and summer a wedge can take on many characteristics and functionalities.  For example, one typically reaches for a flat shoe in the summer trying to keep things free,  easy and casual.  Today the wedge designers’ alternative to the flat shoe is called a “flatform” or raised flat, which offers a lift and rise that keeps the wearer above the steaming tarmac, which we know, all too well,  is lurking underfoot.  These rather quirky designs also add a little fun for the girl who is bold enough to commit herself to these  rather 70’s inspired clodhoppers. I was one such girl (had to have the latest thing). Unfortunately, they did not work for me. They did not flatter my foot, nor did I find them easy to pair with pants.  However, they may work for you. The positive side to these mini wedges is they are so lightweight  and easy to wear anywhere (with soles generally made of woven rope or airy cork.)

The other direction that living on the wedge can take us this spring is to dizzying heights. We can replace the ever-popular stiletto, which tends to win out as most popular evening shoe, with the double-glammed up wedge. Unlike the stiletto these towering creations add inches without winces. The trend in this category is 70’s meets 20’s flapper; with a nod again, as we have seen over and over this season, to metallics, some of these with a jewel encrusted heel.  Major eye candy!

The best thing about all these wedges is that they are everywhere in all shapes and sizes and price points. So take comfort, girls, there is definitely a way for you live on the wedge and keep your footing safe and secure.



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