A Wedge Between Us: Why Do Men Hate Healthy Women’s Footwear?

Martin Margiela

Let me get this straight: we’re really going to let men decide that we can’t enjoy wedges anymore? I made it through the Kitten Heel Revolt of 2010 relatively unscathed and we’re still fighting the Cold War of the Ballet Flat but I cannot go quietly into the night this time. Wedges? Really? Let me back up a second and tell you why I think the debate is so utterly ridiculous.

I love shoes. In my apartment, an entire closet of precious New York City real estate is occupied by these accessories of fashion and practicality alone. Now I don’t have any Louboutins but I think I do alright with my assortment of footwear. Labels aren’t as important to me as style which used to trump just about all else when purchasing a shoe. However, as a 30 year-old running around this huge metropolis, comfort is increasingly of concern.

That’s why I cannot understand this anti-wedge rhetoric spewed on blogs, Twitter and message boards. Wedges are comfortable. You get the general benefit of a heel (height, extra tone in your leg, elongated leg appearance) but with the addition of comfort and stability (except in some extreme cases). Let the fashion blogs and mags tell it, wedges have been and will continue to be “in.” Ever tried to wear heels to a backyard BBQ? It’s hard to be cute in your new sundress if you’re two inches deep into some Carolina Red Clay. Want to ride your bike to Prospect Park but look cute in your short shorts once you get there? Better to do it in a wedge instead of a four inch peep-toe pump. Women who are into how they look and into being practical feel me.

Unsuprisingly, it’s men who are leading the charge against wedges. According to Lauren (@Lauthechef), wedges have been called everything from “the mom jeans of shoes” to “mobile chalupas.” Phonte, who you may know from Little Brother and Foreign Exchange, has likened wedges to minivans. Misha, aka @TheFabChick, conducted a non-scientific, purely anecdotal survey of her own to see what men thought about wedges:

Orlando says: They look like fake heels. There’s nothing sexy about them. The point of a woman’s heel is sexy; the wedge doesn’t offer that visual at all.

Mougabe says: It just compromises that classic feminine appeal. It looks like yall wearing big a** bricks on your feet. I know they are WAY more comfy than heels but f*ck that. Looking sexy to your fullest potential should always be painful. **laughs**

Shydel says: Wedges are a cop out! If you going to wear a shoe with a heel, it needs to be skinny and high! Case closed. Part of the appeal and the sexiness of a heel is to watch a woman walk and teeter in them with confidence and swagger. You don’t get that in a wedge. Anybody can walk in that. **laughs**

It’s no secret that men like heels, many women love them too. I own more than a few pair of high-heeled shoes myself and I have no plans to trash them any time soon. But I’m miffed at the fact that all shoes of comfort – flats, low heels, wedges – are being labeled off-limits because men deem them unsexy.

The Huffington Post reported on a study from the Journal of Applied Physiology that unsurprisingly links habitual high heel wear to “risk for permanent physiological damage to their knees, hips, back and tendons — and damage can be seen in women as young as 25 years old.” The medical community understands that 86’ing the heels altogether would be nearly impossible to do, so what do they offer as a way to mitigate the damage brought upon by our fetish for teeter-tottering on sticks? The so-called mom-jeans of shoes:

 Choose A Wedge: Any heel that offers more surface area is putting less stress on the ball of the foot, so go with a chunky heel, wedge or even a platform.

Pro-Tip: Just like it’s important to switch out the lacy underwear and thongs for good old cotton underwear for your vaginal health, a girl’s gotta switch up the footwear to make sure her feet, legs and back remain intact.

Originally, both men and women wore heels through the 18th century. The shoe’s capacity for altering human posture was exerted mostly on women as it forced the stomach in and the breasts out, drawing in the back, making the pelvis more prominent, straightening the knees, and making the thighs firmer. That’s your sexy right there (but also the source of your health problems – that arching of the back and forward thrust of the pelvis is compensation for the instability caused by the heels). Historians note that after a brief respite during the Enlightenment period, high heels made a resurgence in the late 19th century during industrialization. Whereas the employed bourgeois men needed practical clothing, their bourgeois wives – remitted to the private family sphere, “remained true to the ideal of visible idleness” for which the “erotic-unpractical high-heel shoe” attained representative status.

I say this not to get you to step away from your stilettos , but so you understand that there are very good reasons to keep wearing wedges if you like them. You should also be aware of the history of these sexy images and that what men deem sexy about heels directly conflicts with what’s best for your health and comfort. I guess if you’re going to ruin your back, might as well do it because you want to and not because some guy on Twitter says so. Personally, I have yet to see any man turn his nose (or other body parts) from an attractive woman because the heel of her shoe was too stable.

Last 5 posts by Nakia D. Hansen

  • I am always pumped when wedges come back in style because I can actually WALK in them. I am a NYC’er now but maybe if I was still in Cali I’d be more open to pin-thin heels for outfits. But until I have a car in BK, it’s wedges all day. 

  • Brenda

    I’ve always loved wedges because of comfort and walking distance and I will continue to rock them. Sadly, I don’t have many pairs b/c I’ve been distracted by stilettos.

  • i know waaaayyy too many men who don’t like wedges.  I, honestly, DO NOT CARE and continue to purchase them.  

  • Kastrimusik

    odio las zapatillas de goma en las mujeres. Hasta la mas guapa queda con aspecto dejado y sucio. Es la mejor manera de no ser sexy y tractivas.Las zapatillas huelen mal y son sucias. Y hace parecer a las mujeres mas bajas. Especialmente las usan mujeres de una cierta edad. En las muy adolocentes son pasables—

  • Sarah1025

    I abhor wedges, they look terrible and are not fun to walk in! Though some outfits can make a wedge look good, kind of, I am a 5inch stiletto every day kind of girl. Did not know that there was so much wedge hate is so common in the guy community, I don’t care what others think of my footwear as long as I love it, and I do not like wedges one bit!

  • Guest

    Haha, I love how guys can be so unjustifiably arrogant. AS IF their opinion is even welcome much less influential lol!! So cute… NOT!

  • Agi

    I hate wedges and platforms. Both look blocky/awkward and I don’t find them to be particularly comfortable either. I’ve always been a flats sort of girl though and only wear heels for special occasions. If I AM going to wear heels I want them to look good, not like hooves.

  • Peter Smith

    Thank you so much for sharing..Its very nice.


  • Freeling

    Don’t bother to look for nice dresses and beautiful accessories then… They do not matter if you are wearing those monsters at your feet.

  • Joey

    They’re called Ho Shoes for a reason. I like my Ho’s in wedges but better never catch my lady wearing them.

  • vanillafudge

    Eventually – we all have to decide whether we actually care how our potential mates perceive our presentation… every decision has consequences. If a lady puts forward ‘comfy and cute’… That’s where she’ll likely stay in most men’s eyes… puppy land. ‘Comfy’, ‘cozy’… ‘cute’…

    I wish women – especially in the US – could recognize how ultra-casual, masculinized or cutesy styles make them look in men’s eyes… I’m a guy and I’m being honest … The looks and styles today are either butch or little girly – but always sloppy.

    The whole ‘wedges’ thing fits right along side the ‘bare legs forever’ look… It takes the looks men love – mature, alluring, polished and ultra feminine (that combination defines sexy in mens eyes) and sacrifices them – yet again- to the constant pursuit of adolescent comfort.

    Eventually – if a person wants to share their life with another person – then the general perceptions that person has about how we present our selves – DOES matter. It’s OK to embrace your inner ‘Gidget’ sometimes- just don’t expect men to see cute and comfy as sexy.

  • jay hubicka

    Girls ! Please don’t listen to these men. These same guys are potbellied pigs most likely, out of shape under achievers with small peni***. I hate how men think these days ( like their opinions matter even) real guys will love anything nice women will wear. They will appreciate the female body not the shoe in question!
    These boys most likely want to take a high heel and stick it in their man pu***. Since they can’t get any girls anyways … I think wedges are sexy period. Keep wearing them,your legs look so sexy in them. One more question to these phaggots… Do you guys even lift??

  • Martine

    Monsters? they l;ooh much less tacky then stilettos. Most guys I know actually tend to think stiletto and whore in pretty much the same way. Wedge heels are pretty much the go to shoe for women from the 1920’s until today. I haven’t ever worn stilettos I don’t think. I tend to feel embarrassed by them.

  • Martine

    Most guys don’t even know what they like. The same guys could just as easily like a pair of wedge sandals without even noticing they are supposed to dislike them. Its not like they look all that different.

  • Martine

    You realize that you don’t speak for men, just yourself. Lots of men prefer cute to sleazy. Some guys like a very overdone, phony looking kind of sexy you describe. Most men I know like healthy, pretty women who are comfortable with themselves. The guys I know hate make up, don’t much like heels, like slender, in shape girls, don’t like big breasts, and don’t much care for any extreme footwear. In fact most guys i know are looking for a sexier version of a girl next door.

  • Martine

    I just can’t stand the high arch, but good for you if you like them. Also, they always make legs look shorter, not longer, especially from the back. Because they shorten your calf muscles in the back, although they lengthen them in the front. Heels look good ONLY on very tall thin women.

  • Martine

    That explains why they have been drawing pin up girls in WEDGES for men to ogle in the 1940’s and 50’s. Really who even wears stilettos except prostitutes? I have never gone out to a nice restaurant and seen more then one or two trashy women with much older men in a body con dress that costs twenty bucks in a pair of stilettos. Everyone else wears a more modest pair of court pumps of three inches or so, a pair of wedges, a pair of flats, or a pair of boots/ankle booties.

  • Martine

    Thank you. I don’t think I would trust some poll I could’;t even examine the accuracy. Men like all different kinds of things. Not all the same thing. They are all individuals.

  • Martine

    You are a bit mixed up. Stiletto is a ho shoe.

  • Gest

    Just saying ladies I love wedges, both on you and on my feet!

  • Jack K

    As a guy, I just don’t understand this mentality at all. I think a nice pair of wedge sandals are ENORMOUSLY sexy. Women can wear them with jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses…it doesn’t matter, they look hot. Stilettos are completely overrated. I just don’t get other guys’ take on this.

  • Cleo Tock

    I love wedges not changing them for anyone

  • Histiletto

    The U. S. is suppose to be a free country where people can choose according to the individual they are. So, go ahead and wear what you like and I’ll do the same. To do otherwise puts a person in the category of being a bully or an enslaver. Appareling items are what we choose to encase out physiques. These items can be an expression of how we want to present ourselves. Why do others (not to mention the social attitude) think they have to tell me or you what to wear? I have my own set of perspectives and tastes endowed with in me by nature, as do you I assume. I too don’t want my stilettos becoming unwearably damaged, scratched, torn, heel-tipped eroded, or soiled due to traversing, plugging and/or aerating lawns, earthy terrains, and man-made walkways with their stiletto entrapping crevices, gaps, grates, and/or holes. However, I enjoy wearing my high stiletto pumps so much that I’m willing to take the risk of all the environmental and social obstacles, just to have them accent my appareling images.