Wedges Are The Anti-Ballet Flats Trend Of 2023

For the past two years, platforms have dominated shoe trends, appearing in everything from comfy sneakers to impossible-to-walk-in heels. But there’s another shape claiming the title for 2023: wedges. 

Take a look at the 2023 runways, which put wedges as the footwear protagonist with innovative styles and commute-friendly models. Fendi showed a slew of fuzzy wedges in green shades for their spring/summer 2023 collection, while Tory Burch’s spring/summer 2023 lineup featured a geometric spin on the classic shoe with a peep-toe front and square base. Theory transformed the trendy Mary Jane shoe into a wedge silhouette in silver metallic shades for fall/winter 2023. And emerging brands are also betting on the wedge. Larroudé, the editor-favorite brand known for its ultra-high platforms, released a range of wedge sandals for its spring/summer 2023 lineup, from printed mules to club-ready metallic heels and denim numbers. The shoe is also reaching pop culture: The poster for the Barbie movie, out in July, shows Margot Robbie as Barbie wearing a pair of pink espadrilles, reminding us that the all-American doll is a fan of this timeless style. 

While wedges have long remained a footwear staple, their popularity reached an unprecedented peak in the 2010s, when wedge sneakers were the must-have footwear. The latter, specifically, shaped 2010s fashion, thanks to Isabel Marant’s hate-to-love wedge sneakers, which trickled down to the mass market in overwhelming volumes (the label re-issued this style in 2021).

But the history of the wedge dates back to the 1920s and 1930s when Salvatore Ferragamo launched the modern wedge shoe, creating a comfortable heel that allowed women to have functionality and style. “A wedge allows you to get the height and feel of a stiletto but in a more modern, and frankly comfortable, silhouette,” Jeffrey Kalinsky, Theory’s chief merchant and creative officer, tells Refinery29. “There’s something modern and fresh about it that creates an almost aerodynamic element to the design.” 

This is precisely why wedges are making a big comeback in 2023. After years of sky high footwear, the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction, with ballet flats being one of the trendiest styles of the year. But, for those who still want to have some height in their stride, wedges provide a comfy and versatile solution. They’re also styling chameleons: The wedges seen at Tory Burch were paired with stretchy leggings and skirts, while the versions shown at Theory were styled with everything from mini dresses and tights to skirt suits and skinny pants.

If the thought of another wedge sneaker craze scares you, don’t fret. Let the options below win you over instead. 

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