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What are Wedge Sandals?

Mandi R. Hall
Mandi R. Hall

Wedge sandals are a popular summer shoe choice. These types of summer heels are set apart from platforms, stilettos, and other high heels by their distinct shape. The actual wedge element is one piece. It runs the length of the sandal, though it’s thicker at the heel of the foot and thinner or flat near the toe. Wedge sandals come in a variety of styles and are different from wedge shoes — often called “wedges,” as an umbrella term — due to their strappy, summery appeal.

Although both varieties add height, wedge sandals should not be confused with platform shoes — also known as 70s shoes — or high heels. A wedge sandal could be considered a platform shoe, however, depending on the height of the shoe at the ball of the foot. Platform shoes are typically about 4 inches (10.16 cm) tall at the front of the shoe, and could be just as tall or taller at the back, or upper portion of the foot.

High heels or stilettos may have flat soles, with an additional heel piece under the back portion of the foot. The wedge sandal, however, does not an extension that come to a point at all. Its sole is made with a singular wedge. ‘

Woman shopping
Woman shopping

Wedge sandals are manufactured with a plethora of materials. Above the wedge, the foot is often covered and adorned with leather, jewels, beaded laces, canvas, and cloth. The wedge itself may be shaped out of any combination of wood, rubber, plastic, or the ever-popular cork. Summer wedges consisting of braided rope or twine, though, are arguably the most popular. Called espadrilles, these wedge sandals never go out of style.

Rich in history, espadrilles became popular in the Catalan regions in approximately the 14th century and have fluxed in international popularity since. What was originally a flat shoe worn by both men and women, the espadrille has blossomed into a fancier form of summer footwear. Often laced in a criss-cross pattern up the woman’s ankles, the portion that covers the foot is still generally made of canvas, as it was originally. It is important to note, however, that the term “espadrille” is used in various countries in place of the term “sneaker,” which is a completely different type of shoe in North America.

Women who don’t normally wear sandals or heels may opt to wear wedge sandals. Worn with dresses or skirts, shorts, jeans or even business wear, the right summer wedge can spruce up or an outfit with a touch of unfussy elegance. In addition, a wedge sandal is perhaps more comfortable than a typical high heel or flip flop, as it has a more solidified foundation with a bit of an arch.

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