Are wedge sandals for 2021? The best pairs to buy now

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Neil J. Rodgers

I want to wear high heels since the seventh grade. My mom had other ideas, so the wedges became our compromise, something to give me that adult size I wanted, without totally ruining my back alignment. Since college, I’ve come to associate wedge shoes with vacation (see: rope-covered espadrilles) or very avant-garde (see: early aughts McQueen and Margiela). But the latest generation of wedge shoes is appealing for all the right reasons. It looks cool, modern and contemporary with stylish finishes like croc-effect leather, square toe and minimal straps.

Their resurgence is also largely predictable – history has proven that shoes rise in times of turmoil (from the Depression to the ’70s and even the recession of the early’ 70s). Still, heels are a tough sell right now, no matter how badly we want to dress after the pandemic. So the wedges are here again to offer a compromise between pretending things are getting back to normal and adopting a more realistic post-pandemic fashion philosophy. Because sometimes, kind of like a clumsy 12 year old, we just want to stand a little taller.

ShopbopRachel Comey shoes, $ 534, shopbop.com

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Designer Rachel Comey once told me that she designs shoes for women who want to “run around town without falling through the cracks.” This ultra-minimal pair fits that philosophy.

Holt RenfrewGucci shoes, $ 1,080, holtrenfrew.com

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For something more, well, more, this Gucci pair features a chunky studded outsole.

AldoAldo shoes, $ 95, aldoshoes.com

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The square toe and ultra-thin straps enhance this Aldo option.

Neil J. RodgersNeil J. Rodgers shoes, $ 471, neiljrodgers.com

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Stylist turned shoe designer Neil J. Rodgers offers super stylish shoes inspired by the late ’90s, and each pair is made in Venice.

SenseStaud shoes, $ 370, ssense.com

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Los Angeles-based Staud has a knack for keeping old-school shoe styles current.

SenseSimon Miller shoes, $ 635, ssense.com

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This pair from Simon Miller takes a look at the early aesthetic with the raised platform and thicker proportions, but the neutral hue keeps things wearable.

SorelSorel shoes, $ 150, Chaussuressorel.ca

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Super light and padded, this is a much more comfortable pair than it looks.

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