Wedge shoes have been making waves lately as a popular alternative to high heels. Technically, the wedge shoe is a type of platform shoe although most designers would baulk at the idea. But if you take a look at it, it is a platform shoe.
Its sole purpose is to give the wearer additional height while infusing a god amount of style into the shoe. Platform shoes have a long and well documented history. The idea of granting the wearer height is one that has been seen throughout history. After all, height and elevation used to be seen as an indication of power.
They were popular in ancient Greece where performers wore them for the added height. Today, platform shoes are mostly within the realm of women’s shoes. Although, height-adding men’s footwear can still be found in the basic modern day court shoe.
It should be noted that court shoes don’t really add a lot of height, unlike the wedge shoe. Unlike high heels, wedge shoes have a sole that is constructed from a single piece of material. The first versions were created in the early 20th century and it has had mixed fortunes since then.
We are currently in one of the few periods where wedge shoes are truly popular. By design, it is a rather chunky looking shoe and this may put off some women looking for something sleeker and less noticeable for their feet.
Unfortunately, because the sole is made from one piece, there’s no escaping the chunky profile of wedge shoes especially if the heel region is very much elevated. But there is a specific advantage to its design. It is largely more comfortable to wear than high heels are.
This is because of the way the entire sole distributes weight on to the surface. High heels only have two points of contact with the surface, the toes and the heel. This puts a lot of strain on these two areas and will eventually lead to foot problems down the line. The risk of the problems occurring through wedge shoes is very much limited.
Additionally, wedge shoes are much more comfortable than high heels. You generally won’t experience the sort of pains associated with high heels after a long day of walking. But the slope of very high wedges can still bring about problems with the back.
The sole itself is typically made out of wooden material. In fact, the first examples by Salvatore Ferragamo were made from cork. This was because there was a severe rubber shortage at the time (1930’s). Cork was chosen over traditional wooden soles as it is very much lighter, which makes the shoe easier to walk in.
Additionally, cork is slightly elastic in nature which absorbs some of the impact when walking. It should be noted that the cork used to create the sole is very same material used for wine corks.
It is clear that the wedge heel will lose popularity at some point in the future only to re-emerge once again. This has been happening since its invention where it experienced no less than 3 periods of popularity between the 1930’s and the present age.
As it is in trend at the moment, there are a wide variety of wedge footwear to choose from. You can find anything from wedge heels, wedge sandals to wedge Wellington boots on the market.