When you hear the word wedge, a photo of Kate Middleton wearing her signature espadrilles in 2019 might pop into your mind (she did, in fact, make a strong case for them). But, the sloped shoe was first launched long before that — in 1936 to be exact, by designer Salvatore Ferragamo. But the 2021 version is far from the preppy rope or cork styles considered standard. In fact, up-and-coming labels are ushering in a wave of new iterations — think: clear straps and sculptural silhouettes. And in turn, fashion girls are displaying how to wear wedges all over Instagram.
According to Mia Bencker, founder and creative director of Swedish shoe brand Anny Nord (one of those reinventing the wedge), the return of the silhouette developed as part of the shift toward comfier dressing choices through the pandemic. “Coming out of COVID (and our sweatpants!) I think we have found a new profound love for comfort,” she tells TZR. “[It’s] a realization that we will not move away from.”
To that point, Michelle Li, Tradesy’s Style Editor, says, “I think it's partially because people are getting more dressed up and wearing heels, but they don't want to sacrifice comfort, so wedges are the more manageable heel.” Additionally, Li notes that “wedges are also piggybacking off of the platform shoe trend — they're the shoe for the person who is looking for the stability and chunkiness that a platform provides but with some more shape.”
If you’re one to stay up to date with social media trends, you’ve likely noticed other fashion girl-favorite brands like Amina Muaddi, Staud, By Far, and Cult Gaia put their own creative spin on the silhouette. Read: with these new offerings, you have plenty of-the-moment styles to choose from, rather than solely a beige espadrille. So, if you’re on board with the wedge comeback, ahead, find eight influencer-approved ways to style the shoe this season.
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Color On Color
Summer is the best season to experiment with multiple bright colors in your look — so if you have a colorful wedge in your collection, don’t be afraid to pair it with contrasting bold hues. Finish off with a multi-color beaded necklace and handbag, and you’ll get endless compliments on your striking ensemble.
The wedges from cult-favorite shoe designer Amina Muaddi are making a big splash in the industry, as proven by the fact that new styles like the Lupita PVC And Metallic Leather Wedge Mules tend to sell out quickly. Above, the designer styles the shoe with baggy pants and a white rib tank. Throw a blazer into the mix for the office, and then take it off for after-work drinks and dinner.
Sleek & Sculptural
If an espadrille wedge isn’t your cup of tea, try something far from it, like a unique sculptural style. This iteration from Rejina Pyo gives a simple ensemble an eye-catching addition.
Need A Lift?
Whether your trousers are a tad too long or you’re always the shortest in group photos, a wedge will give you a little boost. Transition influencer Marta Cygan’s crop top look into fall by adding on a white denim jacket.
Still waiting for your Cinderella moment (and, well, Chad Michael Murray)? Now’s your chance to experience it, thanks to Good American’s lucite triangle wedges. Above, influencer Amy Julliette Lefévre styles the shoe with bike shorts, a fall-approved burnt orange jacket, and Dior bag.
Flip-Flop Meets Wedge
There are lots of modern wedges on the market, for instance, Song Of Style’s Mia Heel, which features a trendy flip-flop silhouette. Try out Aimee Song’s look and team the shoe with a dress in the same hue to tie everything together.
Still unsure if wedges are for you? Start off slow by first trying a wedge with an itty bitty baby slant. The heel gives a nice subtle lift, while still keeping your toes blister-free.
Toss your rubber flip flops to the side and instead wear your summery wedges while relaxing poolside. In addition to the shoes, dress up a bikini with a silk scarf tied around your hair and shiny hoops.