Wedge Sandals

Crystal Schwanke
Blue wedge style High Heels

Wedge sandals seem like a pretty straightforward thing, but there are several styles to choose from and they don't all go with just any outfit. From the subtle wedge that keeps you comfy and casual to the strappy wedge that you can wear out at night, there are so many categories to love and shop from.

The Subtle Wedge

At first glance, some of these wedge sandals could almost pass for flats. They give you a slight lift, though, and may be more comfortable than flats for the woman who lives in heels most of the week. If you struggle to wear heels, these are some of the easiest ones to manage. Wear these with shorts, skirts, dresses, or even jeans.

  • The Donald J. Pliner Vintage Lizard Print Leather Wedge Sandals have just a slight covered heel. This style will look chic and stylish with a pair of shorts and a loose, flowing top or a dress. Though they do have a metal buckle detail, you'll never have to fasten it; these are a slip-on style. Expect to pay just under $200.00.
  • The Yuu Friendly Women's Sandal is a cute, casual choice. Some may prefer to wear them with pants or shorts only because the rubber sole lends them to the most laid-back of outfits, but they could also pair up well with a weekend skirt. They come in four colors (turquoise, white, soft turquoise, and champagne) and feature floral detail along the strap. Expect to pay just under $75.00 at JCPenney.
  • The Callisto Daytrip Wedge Sandals from Macy's cost around $80.00 and come in pink, grey, and black (with a black heel). Their style is simple enough to carry any outfit. Though they're a slip-on style, you have the option to adjust the buckle for a more secure fit. These have a bit of a higher heel than some of the other options, at 3.5 inches (with a half-inch platform in front).
  • The Jellypop Johanna Sandal, available at Famous Footwear for around $50.00, has such a subtle wedge you may not even notice it at first. It's cork, with a faux leather upper in cognac that's beautifully embellished and textured.

The Strappy Wedge

Straps everywhere lend themselves to this sexy wedge style. These look especially great with skirts and dresses. Wear them out on Friday night or to Sunday brunch. They're surprisingly versatile unless your style is more of the jeans-and-a-tee variety (and even then, they might work!).

  • Get the Studded Gladiator Wedge from Venus in black or white for under $50.00 and be ready for any sexy summer or spring outfit. These have definite sex appeal because of the strappy style that extends up the ankles, plus a hint of edginess, thanks to the studs. These have a four-inch heel and three straps to buckle, so they're definitely not low-maintenance, run-out-the-door shoes. For dressy events (but not formal or very conservative), though, these may be your new best friends.
  • The Eurosoft Margo Women's Wedge Sandals have a similar style, but they are much more casual. You could wear these to a garden party or to chase your kids around without too much of an issue since the heels are only two inches high. These are cute and colorful (available in pink, black, tan, and turquoise) more than sexy on their own, but you could wear them with casual-yet-sexy dresses and be just fine. They would also pair well with shorts or pants. Expect to pay less than $100.00.
  • If you're looking for a pair of wedge heels with straps that will criss-cross up to about mid-calf, look no further than these Intentionally Blank Classified Plaid Platform Sandals (just under $200.00). These shoes are begging for a casual dress with a short or mid-length skirt. While it would practically be a crime to pair them with jeans, they would still look good peeking out from underneath those, too, because of the five-inch plaid heel (two-inch platform in front, so they aren't as intimidating as they sound).

Cork or Wood Midsole

Sometimes the midsole is the most outstanding part of a wedge sandal. When it's cork or wood, that's almost guaranteed to be the case. The neutral tones make them easy to pair up with most things in your closet (maybe not casual shorts, though, since these heels tend to be on the taller side and dressy).

  • The Stuart Weitzman Backagain Wedges come in black, jean, or Mojave (a sand shade) suede and beautifully wrap their way up the ankle, so they'll look best when worn with a skirt or dress. The cork heel is five inches high, but the platform at the front of the foot is 1.25 inches tall. These will set you back about $400.00 at Zappos. If you splurge, you'll probably want to make sure they're out on display as much as possible.
  • There aren't too many outfits the Ana Massey Women's Wedge Sandals won't complement, though you may want to keep them on the more casual side because of the cork heel. These don't have a lot of extras like studs or straps that wrap around your ankles, but they're a good basic fit for most women's wardrobes, and they're available in black, white, and tan. The heel is 3.5 inches high, and you use a zipper at the heel to secure your foot. Expect to pay around $60.00.
  • For something slightly dressier that will still be right at home with your casual outfits (shorts included, in some cases), there's the Lucky Brand Lattela, which features a wood sole and is available in brindle (taupe), black, and glazed (tan). The wood tone is different depending on the shade you choose for the nubuck leather upper. This is a slingback style with a buckle closure that will set you back about $90.00.

Espadrille Style

Braided rope and vintage style make the espadrille stand out. These have a carefree, bohemian vibe and they're wonderful with sundresses or shorts.

  • The peep-toe style Michael Michael Kors Damita Wedge in Gold somehow manages to look trendy, slightly edgy, and unassuming enough to be worn with almost any type of outfit (unless you're getting very dressed up for a special event). The canvas upper has a metallic sheen to it and the rope-wrapped heel gives it a natural, almost bohemian vibe. The zipper along the top adds another glint of metal. Wear these with sundresses, shorts, capris, or even pants. You can expect to pay around $100.00 for these. They're also available in ecru soft patent/cork, luggage sport suede, pale gold sueded saffiano, vanilla with a mini signature MK print, or washed denim/cork.
  • The Caged Lace-up Espadrille Wedge from Charlotte Russe (less than $40.00) is another stunningly sexy pair of wedge sandals, this time with leather cutouts and a woven strap look similar to that of a corset. They're only available in black, but they have a playful, daytime vibe thanks to the woven jute-covered heel and platform.
  • The Lillith Espadrille Wedge Sandals from Carlos by Carlos Santana will cost you around $80.00 at Famous Footwear, and they're available in denim and doe (a taupe/sand shade), both fabric uppers. These are feminine without frills and have a simple peep-toe, slingback style and an adjustable closure at the ankle. These manage to be casual (though still versatile enough to pair with a variety of dresses) without sacrificing heel height. These heels are 3.5 inches high.

Slip-ons and Slingbacks

Hate fastening the buckles on your sandals? Slip-on and slingback styles to the rescue. Slip your foot in and you're ready to go. These are so versatile, the type of outfit you wear them with will really just depend on the specific pair of shoes you buy. These can take you anywhere from work to a party.

  • The Qupid Slingback Wedge Sandals from Charlotte Russe give off a vintage vibe and beg to be paired with wide-leg jeans (perhaps bellbottoms?) and a fitted top. Of course, they'll look great with a mid-length dress or skirt, too. The simple style and faux wood heel lend them to several different styles. They're only available in camel, which in this case is a neutral enough shade that will work with just about anything. The buckle closure at the back is the same shade. Expect to pay less than $40.00.
  • The Bamboo Espadrille Slide Sandals, also from Charlotte Russe, are available in a warm brown only. These are some of the most casual wedge sandals, so they'll pair well with jeans, denim minis, and shorts. Because of the shade of brown, these will work well with an early-fall wardrobe (before it gets too cold for open-toe slip-ons). These cost about $30.00.
  • The Style & Co. Madelaa Slip-on Wedge Sandals were created for Macy's and are available in black (with a black heel) or tan/gold (with a tan heel). They'll cost about $50.00, but they're another versatile option with a relatively low heel (2.5 inches) that will pair up nicely with anything from pants to a sundress. These are a slip-on style with a toe loop made from crisscrossing straps (plus one other strap for security).

How to Wear Wedge Sandals

How you wear each style of wedge sandal will vary based on the overall look of the shoe. However, there are a few tips you can keep in mind to get you started:

  • Materials like cork or rope (as in espadrilles) are generally best when paired with casual clothes that make up most of the low-key days of summer. Think cotton sundresses, denim minis, some shorts, lightweight blue jeans. Wood or leather, however, can be paired with nicer fabrics that are still somewhat casual, but a step up from what you'd wear with cork or rope.
  • Rubber soles generally look best with shorts and jeans; they may appear a bit mismatched with skirts and dresses. They can look casual, bordering on athletic in style and won't always complement flirtier, more feminine clothing choices.
    Chunky sandals
  • Look for small details that make your shoes stand out (buckles, studs, decorations on the heel, etc) but also keep in mind how many things you'd like to be able to pair them with in your closet. This means you'll need to take color and heel height into consideration, in addition to style.
  • Use your wedge sandals to add some bold color to an outfit.
  • If you love your wedge sandals and want to show them off, but you also want to wear jeans, just roll up the bottoms to put those buckles, zippers, or studs on display. Pair that with a fitted tee or tank and a plaid flannel button-up shirt (unbuttoned).
  • Though wedges are some of the easiest heels to walk in, practice before you'll be wearing them in public or for a long period of time. See where your feet hurt (if anywhere) or if you're starting to develop blisters you'll need to protect against. Some of the strappier styles or styles that aren't backless could rub so much that you get a blister. Because your feet will be pushed up and forward onto the balls of your feet, you may not be able to anticipate where you'll have issues.
  • Don't start with slip-on styles if you're nervous about being able to walk in heels. A strap around the back of your heel will make your feet feel more secure in the shoes.

Collect Them All

With so many types of wedge sandals available, it will be hard to stop at one or two styles. They all have their own vibe and pair with different types of outfits. Wedges are some of the most comfortable heels to wear, and if you're afraid of taking a fall or twisting your ankle, you may be surprised by how much more stable these feel compared to even a pump (and especially a stiletto).

Wedge Sandals