A brief, illustrated history of the wedge

From the streets of New York to the runways of Paris, it’s summer and wedge shoes are everywhere. Some are short, some intimidating, but nearly all lend those coveted extra inches without sacrificing comfort and stability. So in the spirit of the season, we looked back on the history of the fierce-some shoe.

The designer behind it all is Salvatore Ferragamo. According to Linda O’Keeffe’s Shoes : A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More 1996., Ferragamo invented the wedge heel in 1936 by sculpting two pieces of wood into an “F” shape, like this 1944 piece:

Shortly thereafter, Ferragamo created the famous cork wedge heel, which served as a practical solution to the wartime shortage of wood, steel and leather. Pictured below is one of his original designs, made for Judy Garland in 1939.

Today, Ferragamo’s design has been copied and transformed in endless varieties. Acne’s black, strapped up “Admire” wedges, pictured below, have a towering 4.9-inch wedge in back and a 1.8-inch wedge in front. We think Sal would be impressed!