What to Wear Wedge Sneakers With and How to Style Outfits for Them

90's Fashion: The Spice Girls and Platform Shoes

If you were around during the 90's, you probably still remember the crazy platform shoes that the Spice Girls were known for wearing.
If you were around during the 90's, you probably still remember the crazy platform shoes that the Spice Girls were known for wearing.

Redefining the Sneaker

Most people, including fashion designers, know that it is futile to try to reinvent the wheel. This is why we have not seen any major innovations in new clothes, shoes, or accessories in the last several decades. Instead, what we have is a reinterpretation and redefinition of things that we already know, have, and love.

This season, we see the return of the platform sneaker from the 1990’s, reinterpreted for modern times as the wedge sneaker. Both high and low-end designers are churning out a variety of styles ranging from solid colors with Velcro straps by Steve Madden and Skechers to bedazzled metallic lace-ups by Giuseppe Zanotti.

“Hilight” Wedge Sneaker by Steve Madden

Trying on the Wedge Sneaker in Person

When I first saw the wedge sneaker, I was intrigued.

After extensive online browsing, I finally made a trip to Nordstrom to see what they would be like in person and tried on a simple, solid black pair by Steve Madden. Once I strapped myself in, I went over to the nearest mirror and realized that I looked like a Nicki Minaj wannabe. As cool as those wedge sneakers were, I knew that they completely clashed with my girly-girl style and that there was no way that I would be able to get away with wearing them without a complete wardrobe overhaul.

Sadly, I took them off and added them to the list of things that I loved but unfortunately could not wear, until I discovered the "Skid" Wedge Sneaker by Michael Kors and fell in love!

My Own Pair of Wedge Sneakers

I bought these black wedge sneakers by Michael Kors on and I am so happy with them! I love them because they are sophisticated and classy and go great with my dressy style.
I bought these black wedge sneakers by Michael Kors on and I am so happy with them! I love them because they are sophisticated and classy and go great with my dressy style. | Source

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Who Should Wear Wedge Sneakers

Walking out of the store, I came up with a very small list of candidates who would be able to wear these shoes: hip-hop/rap stars like Nicki Minaj and women with a naturally tough street style like Rihanna.

I should also note that this type of sneaker, like any other wedge shoe, looks best on women with petite and/or slender figures. Wedge sneakers look great on women with these body types because the shoe's bulk balances their frame.

Women with curves and fuller figures (like myself) should stay away from bulky shoes like these because they end up making you look bigger by creating the impression of a disproportionately heavy lower-half (an unfortunate but true fact). The exception to this is wedge sneakers that are more streamlined and on the dressier side with a higher heel, like the Michael Kors ones I got for myself. These look more like booties than sneakers and aren't as bulky as their casual counterparts.

In addition, women who have small feet and wear a size 7 or smaller look better wearing wedge sneakers compared to women with (proportionately) larger feet (like me: I wear a size 10) because the shoe just ends up looking crazy huge, unless you get a leaner and more streamlined version.

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Ciara Wearing Wedge Sneakers by Giuseppe Zanotti

When and Where You Should Wear Wedge Sneakers

Needless to say, I remind everyone that sneakers and casual by definition, no matter how tall or spectacularly bejeweled they may be, and so they are not appropriate to wear to the office or formal events.

I love wedge sneakers because they are a comfortable way of getting some height and a more stylish alternative to your regular sneaker. They are a great casual shoe for daytime or evening for when you're hanging out with friends, shopping, or running errands. Wedge sneakers can be considered as a more fashionable substitute for regular sneakers.

In addition, you can wear wedge sneakers for the times you want to add some extra height to your outfit but don't want to wear regular pumps or high-heeled shoes. For example, R&B artist Ciara wore a pair of glamorous Giuseppe Zanotti wedge sneakers to a basketball game and looked fun, trendy, and modern. Loved it!

High-end Wedge Sneakers by Giuseppe Zanotti

How to Style Wedge Sneakers

In general, wedge sneakers are very casual, just like regular sneakers. You can dress them up a little bit but not much, so save them for casual wear and don't wear them anywhere upscale or formal. You can consider them as a "nicer" version of your basic sneaker, but don't count them as being on par with regular high heels and pumps.

As I mentioned earlier, they look best with pants that are skinny/fitted and hit you right at the ankle. For a top, I suggest one that's either simple, tough, edgy, or hip, but not fancy. Over that you can wear a fitted blazer, vest, loose cardigan, or jean jacket.

For an easy way to style wedge sneakers, I recommend wearing them with dark wash skinny jeans, a simple top, and fitted motorcycle jacket for a chic, casual look.

Casual and Chic Outfit with Wedge Sneakers


What Kind of Jeans to Wear Wedge Sneakers With

For those of you who feel like the wedge sneaker fits your body-type and lifestyle, I recommend wearing them with skinny jeans or jeggings so they hit the top of your sneaker (or you can tuck them into your shoe somewhat) in order to get a streamlined look that will show off your shoes. Wearing regular-width jeans with wedge sneakers is a no-no because the pants will end up covering up the shoes and flap around in an unflattering way. An exception to this would be if you wore jeans with a longer hem that went down to the ground and covered up your shoes completely, but that takes the fun out of wearing and showing off your amazing sneakers!


Fitted Cargo Pants

Tough Girl and Military Chic: How to Style and Wear Wedge Sneakers with Fitted Cargo Pants

Another option is to wear fitted/skinny cargo pants with a fitted hem for a cool tough girl look. I first saw this look on the TV show "Burn Notice" on USA. One of the main characters, Fiona (played by Gabrielle Anwar), was wearing a loose white tank top, fitted cargo pants, and high-top brown wedge sneakers that looked like they were made of leather. I thought this look was really cool and was totally obsessed with it! Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a picture of her wearing this outfit, but I've tried to replicate it here.

I think this is a great look, especially when you're in a tough mood. To pull it off, just do like Fiona. To complete it, pair it with some aviators and a cool watch.

How to Style and Wear Wedge Sneakers with Shorts

You can also wear your wedge sneakers with shorts if it's not cold outside. To do this successfully, you need some cool cut-off jean shorts (the epitome of casual), a loose top, and a vest or soft cardigan. Then pair it with some cool sunglasses, a long necklace, and a cross-body bag.

This is a great look for daytime shopping, going out for lunch, or hanging out with friends.

How to Style and Wear Wedge Sneakers With Skirts and Dresses

Wearing wedge sneakers with skirts and dresses can look modern and chic if you do it right; do it wrong and you'll look like a fashion victim. You can wear wedge sneakers with either a mini skirt or maxi skirt. If you wear something knee-length, the wedge sneakers will appear to cut your feet off and make you look stumpy.

For cold weather, you can pair wedge sneakers with tights or leggings, a skirt, and a nice knit sweater or a leather jacket, depending on if you're going for cutesy/eccentric or edgy.


How to Style and Wear Wedge Sneakers with Maxi Skirts

To wear wedge sneakers with a maxi skirt, pick a pair of cool wedge sneakers and a simple solid colored maxi skirt that has some kind of texture/pleats and is made of flowy material (preferably one with a slit so you can maneuver more easily and also show off your sneakers). Pair it with an interesting knit sweater, button-down shirt, or a rocker tee and jean jacket. For accessories, wear a short necklace and some bracelets or a chunky watch. Finish off the look with a cross body bag or small backpack purse.

How to to Style and Wear Wedge Sneakers With Short Skirts

Wearing wedge sneakers with short skirts can look fun, sexy, cute, and/or edgy depending on how you style it. You can experiment with contrasts by wearing "tough" looking wedge sneakers with a more girly ensemble and go for an eccentric and invidualized look. Another idea is to amp up the rocker element of your sneakers by pairing them with black lacey/patterned tights, an edgy skirt, and leather or jean jacket. All you have to do is make sure that you skirt is short and above the knee and the rest is what you want it to be!


Where to Buy Wedge Sneakers

The great thing about wedge sneakers is that they are so on-trend right now that just about every retailer is carrying them. A cool website that carries them is "UrbanOg." They have a great selection of amazing and unique wedge sneakers, not to mention a full line of apparel that would go great with them!

Happy shoe hunting! :)

Is this the Shoe for You?

After reading this article, do you feel the wedge sneaker is the right shoe for you?

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© 2013 Anya Brodech

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Comments 3 comments

trishyla 2 years ago

Thankyou for the great advice!!

Maeve Chiara Bianchi 5 months ago

I just recently got black Chuck Taylor Converse Hidden Wedges, and they are favoloso (fabulous)! I love wearing them with dark skinny jeans and light wash cutoff denim shorts. Do you have any recommendations for where I could find a good fitted black blazer?

Chiori Aizu 5 months ago

I loved this article so much. My style is more of a chic one, and some of these outfits match perfectly with it! Thank you for posting this, love you~!

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