They’ve earned a reputation as a summer shoe, but it’s time to rethink things. Wedges may be a smart choice for navigating sandy beaches and grassy picnics, but they’re also a shoe that can serve as a smart choice for less breezy occasions like visits to the office or even running errands. If you’re constantly reaching for a pair of heels via a block heel or stiletto you may want to consider adding a few pairs of wedges into the rotation in an effort to save your soles from excessive aching and unsteadiness.
“A wedge provides more surface area than a stiletto heel and therefore can provide a more even distribution of support underneath the foot, reducing the risk of sprains and falls,” says Dr. Miguel Cunha, a podiatrist based in New York City. But, it’s not just that they’re better for your feet. Wedges come in a variety of sensibilities, from a sharp sculptural wedge to a cushy platform—so no matter the occasion, there’s sure to be one that will fit the bill for you.
Marion Parke Stefi Sandal
“From a design perspective, a wedge can be tricky because it can be heavy quite literally, in that the material used can add weight to the shoe,” says founder Marion Parke. Luckily, this wedge’s raffia heel is lightweight enough to keep your feet comfortable all day long.
Price at time of publish: $595
Material: Leather, raffia | Size Range: 5–12 | Heel Height: 2.8 inches
Vince Camuto Meddrina Sandal
If you’re looking for an under-$100 shoe, Vince Camuto’s sandal is simple, practical, and comfy. “I typically wear a 4.5, but these were perfect in size 5,” writes one reviewer who recommends sizing up. “They are very comfortable and look great with shorts and dresses!”
Price at time of publish: $79
Material: Leather | Size Range: 4–13 | Heel Height: 3.25 inches
Bottega Veneta Slingback Pumps
For an elevated, elegant slingback style, look no further than Bottega Veneta’s wedge, which uses a gold-tone strap to make shoes feel like a precious piece of jewelry.
Price at time of publish: $2,300
Material: Leather | Size Range: IT36–IT41 | Heel Height: 4 inches
Tory Burch Sculpted Wedge Ankle Boots
Think outside of the box with your next boot purchase. The unusual sculpted wedge heel will offer comfort and serve as a focal point for the design.
Price at time of publish: $299 on sale
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5–12 | Heel Height: 3.86 inches
Steve Madden Crazy30 Sandal
A platform wedge is a great way to add height without a steep heel. These black platforms from Steve Madden draw inspiration from ’90s style.
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: Leather | Size Range: 6–10 | Heel Height: 3.25 inches
Wandler Gaia Mules
If you're looking for a pair of heels to wear at the office come spring and summer, try swapping out a stiletto for a wedge peep-toe mule. It still has a sharply professional look suitable for many office environments but offers a bit more stability throughout the day.
Price at time of publish: $510
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5–11 | Heel Height: 3.75 inches
Reformation Westlyn Wedge
These shoes are the finishing touch on any power outfit. The slick patent material and pointed toe make these feel like nothing to be messed with.
Price at time of publish: $298
Material: Patent leather | Size Range: 5–11 | Heel Height: 2.95 inches
Best for Everyday
Eileen Fisher Loti Wedge
Need a mule that’s durable but happens to be cozy enough to wear around home, then opt for Eileen Fisher’s Loti Wedge. The height is just enough to offer a bit of lift, while still being easy to walk in.
Price at time of publish: $205
Material: Suede | Size Range: 5–11 | Heel Height: 2.45 inches
Best for Work
Prada Slingback Wedge Pumps
Want to impress at the office? Start with a killer shoe—like these stylish slingback wedges from Prada. With trousers, a pencil skirt, or even jeans, you’ll stride into every meeting in style.
Price at time of publish: $1,250
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5–12 | Heel Height: 2.5 inches
Best for Comfort
Birkenstock Glenda Sandal
There comes a day when the idea of putting on any tight, high, or restrictive shoe feels like its own form of torture. These comfy Birkenstocks will keep your feet happy.
Price at time of publish: $140
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5–10.5 | Heel Height: 0.75 inches
Larroudé Naomi Wedge
Keep things classic with a signature black wedge sandal that goes with anything. We love the way the raffia braiding adds dimension to the heel. In terms of styling, you can dress it up or down—the choice is yours.
Price at time of publish: $315
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5–11 | Heel Height: 3.75 inches
Amina Muaddi Lupita Wedge
Footwear should be fun. Case in point: Amina Muaddi’s bold PVC wedges are a welcome jolt of color. Be prepared to put a bold foot forward in these.
Price at time of publish: $1,105
Material: PVC | Size Range: IT35–IT41 | Heel Height: 4 inches
J. Crew Seville Espadrille
Consider an espadrille the perfect vacation shoe. Headed somewhere warm? This classic silhouette will be just the thing to slide into your suitcase.
Price at time of publish: $128
Material: Canvas, raffia | Size Range: 5–12 | Heel Height: 3.35 inches
Simon Miller Bubble Beaded Wedge Platform Sandals
Add some height with these over-the-top embellished pumps from L.A. label Simon Miller. They’re bound to make a statement (and add a few inches) when you put them on.
Price at time of publish: $675
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5–11 | Heel Height: 4 inches
Pedro Garcia Viena Sandals
Keep it simple with an easy pair of slip-on wedges that you can wear just as easily at the pool as you can running errands.
Price at time of publish: $550
Material: Leather | Size Range: 6–10 | Heel Height: 2.75 inches
Reformation Camilla Lace Up Wedge Espadrille
You don’t have to be a former ballerina to find something elegant in lace-up footwear. Try this sustainable, V-shaped espadrille for size. We love that the linen material is plant-based, uses little water, and emits a quarter of the carbon as cotton per pound of fiber.
Price at time of publish: $178
Material: Linen, cotton | Size Range: 5–11 | Heel Height: 2.95 inches
Nike Dunk High Up Sneaker
Yes, even a sneaker can have some height to it. This wedge iteration of Nike’s iconic Dunk sneaker is perfect to pair back to a fitted dress or favorite pair of jeans before you head out for drinks.
Price at time of publish: $125
Material: Leather, rubber | Size Range: 5–11.5 | Heel Height: Not listed
Vince Pia Wedge Sandal
A stacked wedge was a signature style of the early aughts, but it’s back, and it adds a sophisticated touch to the classic wedge.
Price at time of publish: $325
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5–11 | Heel Height: 3.5 inches
Jimmy Choo Brien Wedge Sandals
For dressier occasions, a metallic wedge is Parke’s recommendation. This ankle-strap sandal from Jimmy Choo will pair nicely with a gown or fitted dress.
Price at time of publish: $850
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5–12 | Heel Height: 3.25 inches
Yuni Buffa Lucca Wedge
“When I was designing Lucca, I wanted to make the most comfortable wedge possible," says founder and creative director Yuni Buffa. “I love the pitch: I will literally wear my Lucca wedge in the kitchen making dinner!”
Price at time of publish: $325
Material: Leather | Size Range: EU35–EU42 | Heel Height: Not listed
Ulla Johnson Concha Wedge
Not quite a sandal, not quite a pump, this hybrid design from Ulla Johnson is a great transitional option for outdoor activities like picnics or parties.
Price at time of publish: $590
Material: Leather | Size Range: EU35–EU41 | Heel Height: 4 inches
Best Ankle Wrap
Aminah Abdul Jillil Ballerina Wedge
For a night out on the town, choose a style of shoe that has the power to take your outfit to the next level. These bold red wedges will stand out (and above) when you walk into any room.
Price at time of publish: $558
Material: Leather | Size Range: 6–11 | Heel Height: 5.75 inches
Kkira Betty Wedge
Embrace a multitude of trends at once with this multicolor take on the wedge. The cap-toe pump silhouette adds a ladylike touch without feeling fussy.
Price at time of publish: $829
Material: Leather | Size Range: 6–10.5 | Heel Height: 5 inches
While you can find wedges in a range of heights, colors, materials, and price ranges, what is most important is finding a style that’s comfortable for you. Whether you’re looking for a new pair of shoes for the office, a night out, or simply wearing around town, wedges offer a comfortable alternative to typical high heels. We absolutely love Marion Parke’s Stefi Sandal for its versatility—you can easily wear the style as the weather warms in spring, through summer, and into early fall. Alternatively, there’s Vince Camuto’s Meddrina Ankle Strap Sandal, a practical and comfortable espadrille style for under $100.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Miguel Cunha is a podiatrist based in New York City. He practices at Gotham Footcare.
- Marion Parke is the founder of her eponymous luxury shoe label as well as a podiatric surgeon. She launched her first collection in 2016.
- After stints at Alexander Wang, Loeffler Randall, and Rag & Bone, Yuni Buffa became the founder and creative director of her label in 2020.
What to Look for When Buying Wedges
While wedges come in a range of heights, you’ll want to make sure the style you settle on is comfortable for you. Avoid a high platform or steep heel if it's out of your comfort zone. “Avoid wearing heels higher than 1.5 inches,” says Cunha. “Problems are likely to occur when the heel height exceeds 2 inches.”
Keep an eye on construction when shopping for a wedge. “Instead of [using] a plastic wedge wrapped in cork sheeting, we sourced and used solid cork from Sardinia for a lightweight feel,” says Buffa. “I layered the leather insole with soft padding for all-day comfort. I added a rubber crepe outsole for better friction and durability.”
“I wore an espadrille wedge with my wedding dress. I loved having the height and comfort of the wedge for the special day,” says Buffa. While wedges can work for all occasions, make sure you’re choosing a style that fits your needs.
Can you wear wedges for formal occasions?
The answer from Byrdie’s experts is a resounding yes. “There are some beautiful high-shine metallic wedges and wedges made from novel materials that are very elegant and appropriate for a formal occasion,” Parke says.
How do you style wedges casually?
Buffa’s go-to styling is with a sundress or wide linen pants. Preppy pieces like jeans and a blazer or nautical striped sweater are also popular choices for pairing with a summery espadrille wedge.
Are wedges better for your feet than other heels?
“The only benefit of wearing a wedge over a heel is that it provides more surface area than a stiletto heel and therefore can provide a more even distribution of support underneath the foot, reducing the risk of sprains and falls,” Cunha says.
Why Trust Byrdie
Aemilia Madden is a writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the fashion industry. As someone who is always on the hunt for comfortable yet stylish shoes, she was eager to put wedges to the test, seeking out a wide range of heights and trends.