AKA: wedgies, lifties
How to say it: wej
- one-piece sole also acts as the heel
- sole traditionally made from wood or cork, but can be made from anything
- can be any height
- upper can be any style
21st Century Wedges
The wedge is as popular as ever in the 21st century and versions of the shoe in every style imaginable abound on the modern footwear market. Sandals, sneakers, boots, pumps; no style has escaped the wedge treatment.
Salvatore Ferragamo, Stuart Weitzman
…of the style: While the wedge has been worn by many cultures throughout the centuries, it entered women’s fashion in the 1930s; introduced by the Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo. Ferragamo’s wedges were made from cork or wood and provided women with a comfortable, fashionable shoe whilst circumventing the leather and rubber shortages during WWII (rubber and leather supplies were reserved for the war effort). Height was a major fashion trend at the time and women liked the wedge (particularly the cork for its lightweight and durability) as it provided the illusion of height whilst being more comfortable than sky-high stilettos and narrower heels.
Within two years the wedge was hugely popular and had cemented itself as a fashion classic, however fashion trends change and the wedge fell out of favour in the 40s only to make a comeback in the 1970s thanks to Jodie Foster, Yves Saint Laurent and the Disco era. Wedge designs of the 70s were more outrageous and colourful than their 1930s predecessors and were worn by both men and women.
Since then the wedge has had popularity spikes in the 1990s and the early 2000s and in the second decade of the 21st century there is an abundance of wedge styles available on the market. It is a flattering, comfortable and versatile style and thanks to these traits, it is likely that the wedge will continue to be a classic staple in women’s footwear for a long time.
…of the name: I couldn’t find a definite reason as to why they are called wedges, but I assume it has something to do with the fact that the one-piece sole originally looked like a wedge of cork under the foot (and often still does).
- Ferragamo’s shoes were initially very uncomfortable, so he enrolled in anatomy, mathematics and chemical engineering at Los Angeles University to help him design better, more comfortable shoes
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