Ugly Shoe Intervention: Wedges

Some of the greatest fashion sins happen below the ankles.  Ugly footwear are a blight upon humanity, and in the warm weather months, they multiply by the thousands.  So I’ve decided that it’s time for an ugly shoe intervention.

Every week, I’m going to post three pairs of shoes that I think are truly hideous.  Then, I’ll post three pairs of shoes in a similar style that don’t make me want to kick a puppy. This week, wedges.

Polyvore set found here.

Shoe Number One: Neutral Wedges

Naughty: Too heavy, too clunky.  The ankle strap will cut off your leg line, making your legs look shorter.  The thickness of the wedge is going to pull your leg down like a weight and bring all of the focus to your feet.

Nice: Lower in height than the other pair with thinner straps to maintain a…shall we say, daintier feel.  They are also more fashion forward with metal accents and a gladiator style. 

Basically, these shoes are prettier, more fashionable and more versatile than the shoes at left.  You could wear them under jeans, with summer dresses, or with *deep breath* shorts.  (Shorts are really in this season, but that’s another post.)

Shoe Number Two: Basic Black

Naughty:  Everywhere I go during the summer months, I see these shoes.  I see them on the feet of Hill staffers in business suits.  I see them on the feet of women in cocktail dresses.  I see them on the feet of tourists in museums, nice restaurants and poolside cabanas.  For whatever reason, thousands of American women have decided that these clunky, chunky, black slides are the perfect warm weather shoe for every possible occasion.  They.are.WRONG.

These shoes look like you’ve strapped two leather blocks to your feet.  Like the brown pair above, they pull your leg down because they don’t compliment the graceful shape of a woman’s foot.  They’re awful.  If you own a pair, chuck them. 

(I owned a similar pair in 1999. Wore them til they fell apart.  I have the photographic evidence to prove that no woman, not even moi, can make these look good.)

Nice: Like the replacement pair for number one, these shoes compliment the shape of your foot.  They also have a more modern style and even though they do have an ankle cuff, the multiple, thin straps keep it light and fashion forward.  I would wear them with full or flowing skirts and dresses.  They’d also look great peeking out from under black trousers at work.  That’s right, I said work. 

Shoe Number Three: The Patent Leather Dressy Wedge

Naughty: Too high, with an unecessary ankle strap.  Let’s face it, these shoes just look awkward.

Nice:  These neutral-colored wedges preserve the line of the leg by eliminating the ankle strap.  Also, the cut-outs on the open toe make the shoe more delicate.  And while this is a higher heel, it’s not as ridiculously high as the naughty version is. 

These shoes could literally be worn anywhere, except with a cocktail dress.  They are the perfect warm weather work shoe: comfortable, neutral, versatile.



  1. Pistachio says:

    Ha! That is hysterical. Love the shoe intervention ­čśë

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  2. EG says:

    Ugggh… I HATE chunky wedges. Thank you for this.

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  3. A says:

    So – I am not standing in defense of the naughty shoes. You are right, clunky does not serve a woman any purposes. But, what about some options that are in between the two styles you present? Not every woman has “dainty” feet. Just looking at that second black strappy sandal I can tell there's no way I could fit into anything close to it, let alone walk in it.

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  4. xxm says:

    Why can't the last shoes be worn with a cocktail dress?

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  5. R says:

    I love this idea! May I request a version of this for platforms? I impulsively bought a pair and think they might have to go back…

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  6. Belle says:

    XXM-Because these are not a cocktail shoe. They could be worn with a slightly-fancy dress to an outdoor summer wedding. But they have a buckle and are patent, they are not evening attire.

    If you want an evening wedge, try something in satin.

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  7. Kim says:

    I am so picky about my wedges! Unfortunately, I don't like any of these (although I wouldn't fine the nice selections or the first naughty selection offensive on someone else.) My summer-long search for the perfect pair of wedge sandals commences!

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  8. L says:

    are these ugly?

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  9. Belle says:

    L- I wouldn't wear them cause they're chunky…BUT, they are very fashion forward. So if you were planning to wear them only with casual attire and only for the one season (cause next year the patterned wedge trend will be over), then I'd try them on and see how they make your leg look. Because that is always the key.

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  10. lulu says:

    Love this post. The naughty ones on the bottom are truly heinous.

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  11. jaime says:

    Hate those black slides too!! And you are right-they are everywhere and on every suburban soccer mom I know. I also hate mules and I see a ton of them out there as well. IMO they are only for the very thin if anyone-they make everyone else look like they are stuffed into their shoes.

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  12. LT says:

    What about wedge espadrilles like these?

    Chunky? I bought these last summer for smart casual summer dates with my husband, but I don't know if I should retire them this summer in favor of something more versatile like the first neutral wedge you highlight. Those would certainly be more conducive to chasing a toddler.

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  13. Belle says:

    LT-I would say those are okay. But something in leather would be more versatile than an espadrille. Those are strictly a casual shoe.

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  14. Alison says:

    I completely AGREE with the black set. I don't know what it is about that style of shoe, but it's universally unattractive. I just don't get it!

    March 31, 2011/Reply
  15. MCWS says:

    By the time I was 34, I had advanced arthritic degeneration in my feet. It seriously limited my footwear options which, sadly, has had a big impact on my wardrobe. The “naughty” black wedges you show are the kind of shoes I might — might — be able to wear. I suspect a lot of footwear upon which you frown is worn for orthopedic reasons, not fashion. (Of note: a lot of footwear people pick because they believe will be better for their feet — e.g., ballet flats — is not. Trust me. I've become an expert.)

    April 1, 2011/Reply
  16. MidwestChic says:

    My mom has what seems like 30 different versions of those ugly black shoes. I am going to make her read this post so she believes that it is not just me who thinks they're awful.

    And Belle, I saw someone wearing Crocs (which give Uggs a run for their money in the “I despise these shoes” category) in our state Capitol. Please please do what you can to prevent this monstrosity!!

    April 1, 2011/Reply
  17. Belle says:

    MCWS-I don't disbelieve that there are some people who wear shoes because of orthopedic problems. My father, for example, wears hiking boots every day due to an old knee injury. But, these people are the minority. Most women are just wearing ugly shoes.

    April 1, 2011/Reply
  18. L says:

    Just ran across these. Similar in style to the first pair but flat:

    April 1, 2011/Reply
  19. w says:

    I bought the basic black — and I love them!

    July 12, 2011/Reply