Saturday, May 13, 2006

Solely yours 
Wedges have an edge over other heels when it comes to style and comfort, says Homai Dastoor

High heels - they do so much more than merely add inches to your height. They make your legs looks longer and slimmer, they give you an air of grace and sensuality… and they make your feet hurt terribly at the end of a long day or party. The drawbacks of high heels are well known, but we can’t help but hanker after the elegant look they bring.

But why suffer so much when there is an alternative at hand? Wedge-soled shoes are popular replacements for high heels. There’s no need to teeter on pencil-thin heels. A wonderful blend of functionality and visual appeal, wedge-soled shoes give you the extra height and grace you want without the pain and back strain of a pair of stilettos.

Available in a wide range of materials, wedge soles can look as casual or formal as you want them to. Colourful plastic, cork and jute-wrapped soles are ideal for summer outings, while darker coloured and gradually upward sloping wedges in leather are suited for formal occasions. Want the elegant arch of the foot that high heels give? Well, you can do it with wedge shoes as well. Many of them are designed with a pronounced arch so that you don’t lose out on the ‘high-heels look’.

The other wonderful thing about wedges is that they can be worn with all sorts of clothing – jeans, skirts (long and short) and even salwar kameezes. Also, age is less of a bar here than with other footwear. Not only do these shoes have a loyal following among young women, but there are women in their 40s who like wearing them.

Buy a pair of open-toed wedge shoes and team them up with anything from jeans to shorts to skirts and enjoy the view from a few inches higher than normal. The great thing is that you can walk around in wedge-soled shoes as much as you want and you won’t have to suffer ankle pains or pressure on your back. The large surface area of the shoe’s soles lessens the burden on the feet, unlike pin-heeled footwear which concentrates the body’s load on a sharp small area.

For a casual look, opt for an open-toe and open-back wedge sandal. Straw and cork wedges look awesome for casual wear. Wedge-heeled casual shoes go especially well with capris and sun dresses. They give the outfit a fashionable and stylish finish.

Straw and cork wedge heels can look a little too casual for the office. Save them for the weekend. For the office, choose leather wedge heels, or a closed-toe, sling-back style. For office wear, you can choose wedges that are not too high – around three centimetres or less is perfect for work.

Strappy leg-lacing styles are a chic and sexy option for the evening. For something even dressier, look for sculpted heels instead of chunky block heels. If you are going for a really flashy party, your wedges can add to your jazzy appearance. They can sparkle and shimmer with a few sequins and glitter pasted on to them.

Buy the shoes in the evening as that is the time your foot are the largest size. Ensure that your shoe size is correct by asking the salesperson to measure the length and width. Some time your feet have slightly different sizes. It will be advisable to buy footwear for the larger size. Again ensure that your foot size is checked each time you buy shoes. Believe it or not, foot size does change with age, weight gain/loss and other factors. There should be comfortable space between the tip of your toe and the tip of the shoe.

So now that summer is here, don’t wait any longer. Pick up a pair of wedge shoes and enjoy the season. —MF