Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Wedge of Heaven

Carmen Miranda liked a nice wedge...

What says comfort, can be dressed up or down and is a classic (but not a salad)? That's right! The wedge. No icebergs need apply.

In the land of footwear, the wedge is a triple hitter. It's comfortable, classic and can have real style. You don't usually get all three in one shoe.

One piece of material serves as the heel and sole of the shoe, with the heel cut thicker to form a wedge shape. This style dates back to ancient Greece but was made popular in modern times by Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo in the 1930s, using cork and wood for the wedge because of a leather and rubber shortage. WWII caused a worldwide shortage (those materials obviously needed in the war effort), and wedges became even more popular. 

A Ferragamo wedge

Fashion being the cyclical beast that it is, wedges turned up again in the '70s, especially styles by the brand Kork-ease. Forty years later, Kork-ease were revived along with the Boho look.

A Kork-ease wedge

Wedges continue in footwear of all kinds. From dress-up/dress-down sandals to flexible walking shoes that owe a lot to the popularity of Yoga and athletic wear.

The answer to "Why?" is simple: they are comfortable and (more) safely give the wearer that added height to lengthen the leg. Many women with arch problems swear by wedges as the only shoes they can comfortably wear all day long.

So what's not to love? 

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