Would You, Could You…?

Isabel Marant, wedge sneakers
Isabel Marant (source) whose sneakers apparently started it all

Back in April 2012 when we were visiting Provence and Paris, I noticed a significant number of women, many of them d’un certain âge, dashing about in wedge and/or hi-top “puffy” sneakers. I duly noted the “cool girl” vibe of this look. They were, bien sur, in the vanguard of what has turned out to be another trend with staying power.

Trend or no, a lot of women are embracing this style as a comfortable way to wear a bit of heel or add a touch of insouciance to casual outfits. My friend Karen, an image consultant and fashion inspiration for the 40+ set who previously penned the blog “Of A Certain Age,” shows us how she styles a wedge sneaker, and shares some tips for making this work for us.

Steve Madden wedge sneakers, wedge sneakers on women 40+, posh sweatshirt, pearls with casual outfit

Karen’s sneakers are from Steve Madden.  Here she’s styled with boyfriend jeans, embroidered tee (left) and a slinky fabric sweatshirt with chiffon sleeves (right), pearls, a nice watch and a pink gold and diamond bracelet from Beladora, and a big gold-tone ring.

fine jewelry with casual outfit
Detail of jewelry, tee.

I love what she’s done here! Karen’s tips:

  • Stick to sneaker styles that are sleeker and with more minimal detailing. Designs with multiple, high-contrast colors, logos, “swoops,” or other details can look too “jock-y”.
  • If you’re the impatient type, look for styles with velcro instead of laces.
  • Keep the rest of the outfit more minimal and understated: jeans, a tee or nice sweatshirt style top, aviators, light/natural makeup, hoop or stud earrings, a piece or three of your favorite statement jewelry.
  • Once we’re into cooler Autumn weather, add a puffy down vest (like this one from Uniqlo) or a chunky sweater.

With my own style leaning more “rocker chic” these days, I’d probably start with something sleek and black (love the mini-studs detailing on this one) and style with black skinny jeans and a longer asymmetric hem sweater. Add some larger oval hoops and my Hermès “Collier de Chien” cuff, and I’m good to go.

What do you think? Would you, could you, do you wear wedge sneakers?  If so how do you style them?


Go check out Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style to see what everyone’s wearing this week. Any wedge sneakers there?

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  1. This isn’t a trend that appeals to me, that blue/gray version isn’t bad. OH HOW I MISS KAREN”S BLOG!!!!!!!!! Karen, are you writing anywhere? xo

  2. Frankly? I see this sort of foot wear as too trendy–which translates into not a good use of my money. If you have money to burn and don’t mind being part of a throwaway culture, go for it! It might be a fun rocker chic look, but not a pretty look. So–no thank you.

  3. I love the look and have a few pairs, including a black leather pair that I just bought for Fall/Winter. I agree that it’s a trend with lasting power, as I’ve already been wearing them for two years.

  4. I like the look well enough, but I’ll pass, even though Nike makes a pair that probably incorporate some pretty decent comfort. Still, even if it’s just a wedge, the elevation from front to back is going to be as hard on the hips, knees, and Achilles tendon as any of my heels. . . so I’ll save that wear and tear for actual heels.

  5. I bought an inexpensive pair last Winter (black, by Blowfish). They made quite a splash and I loved wearing them!

  6. Your friend Karen looks great in them, I think the blueish tone works well. Worn with the hip jeans I think they work. I don’t think I will wear them, I more of a dress gal.

    blue hue wonderland

  7. Not for me. I agree with mater – if I’m going to wear heels – they need to be pretty. I’ll stick to my flats with jeans – and “sneakers” when needed (walking, hiking, heavy duty shopping trips!).

  8. I thought of one other aspect to consider with this shoe. Some women wear heels to make themselves taller, others wear them to make their legs look great I’m tall already–and while I never mind being taller still and wear heels with certain dresses because they look good, I don’t need heels for height on a casual basis–so I probably wouldn’t choose to wear these to gain height. On the other hand, I have a friend who is under 5 feet tall and she ALWAYS wears heels. I can see that these might appeal to her.

  9. Really miss Karen’s blog. She looks great and I love how she has styled the sneakers. What is Karen up to these days ? If she has another blog please send us the link!

  10. Oh and I forgot to chime in on the shoes…for me I like flats so I’d pass on the wedged sneakers. They are very popular with the young women here as I see them on the streets quite a bit…often with shorts and heavy wool socks?

  11. I thought I had made the decision to pass these up, but am going to try out a pair of Paul Green wedge sneakers that are on clearance, as well as a non-wedge pair of leather high-tops. I love high-top sneakers, and Tiffany Wendel styles them so well on her blog that I was swayed…http://tiffanywendel.com/

  12. I have a pair of Converse Hi Ness wedge sneakers. Just enough wedge to make them more interesting than plain Converse, but not enough to look too “funky” or make me uncomfortable. I got charcoal gray. So far I’ve worn them with boyfriend jeans, Bermuda shorts, and even a casual jersey dress! I love them, and I get a lot of compliments – from teens through my age!

  13. NO. A big N. O. I can deal with Converse or Superga on others, but still think it looks slightly ridiculous. With a zillion different shoes, boots, and sandals options, why, oh, why, would a grown woman think that wearing these type of sneakers…let alone PUFFY SHOES…is a good choice? ugh. There is no good way to style this beyond the age of 16. Or maybe 14.

  14. Karen looks good in them but for me? Probably not. I’m sticking with my Converse.
    Re: your comment on my blog, it’s good(?) to know I’m not the only one whose pedicure has melted in the heat!

  15. I haven’t really thought about it, but if I did, I’d probably style them the way you describe. Then again, I might wear a really simple black pair with a giant maxi skirt and a furry vest. Hmmm…now you’ve got me thinking…..

  16. These are hideous, in my opinion. Either wear an actual sneaker, and get all the comfort, or get some actual shoes. The wedge sneakers seem to have the worst of both worlds.

    1. ^ I agree with this person, heh. Because I am used to seeing flat sneakers, wedge sneakers have an unfortunate resemblance to big lotus/bound feet to me.

  17. I haven’t a pair of these sneakers but I am considering giving them a go. I think they are cute and I love the way Karen styled them. I would probably wear them with straight jeans cuffed and an oxford shirt or slouchy tee tucked in the front, then some edgy jewelry to finish the look.
    These shoes seem to have people who love ’em or hate ’em – not many in between!

  18. I think Karen looks great in the wedge sneakers. I see the look a lot in Brooklyn and Manhattan but I don’t know if I will go for it or not myself. They were selling like mad at the 59th Street Bloomingdale’s last holiday season, I can tell you that, and I think they will be with us for awhile because every company is making them now. Great post! XO, Jill

  19. Moi, je les aime beaucoup! If I could find them in my size, I would buy them in a heartbeat to wear with my skinny jeans. But alas, I wear an 11 slim (AAAA) and nobody but nobody makes that size anymore.

  20. Honestly – I hate them. Much like Ugg boots and those visually unbalanced clydesdale looking platform pumps with skinny heels….they scream trendy and make the foot look stumpy – like a hoof. Not flattering and it says “herd animal” in more than one way.

    Much like acid washed over-frayed jeans these will be something people look back on in horror/laughter. Blech.

    I am also not a fan of the top knot trend – on a window shopping day in a hip fashiony area recently it was like a pack of Wilma Flintstones had been let loose.

    The whole trend part is unappealing when the numbers (or wearers) become too large I suppose. Fashion should flatter basically. But, to each their own.

    I prefer people to look like themselves, not blend in entirely.

    1. Well that came across as more grumpy than needed – I do think she styled them well and looks nice. Just not for me, my taste. I prefer sneakers as is.

  21. I have never even seen this choice on our streets of Southern California. Although dear Karen looks nice in them (and is gorgeous enough to make anything look good), I must admit, I had quite a chuckle at Gauss’s forthright comment … and I agree entirely with her 🙂

    What a fun post my dear… so enjoyed reading all of the opinions! Kudos to YOU!

  22. So enjoying the comments here! It really seems to be a love em or hate em thing indeed. The thing about these shoes is that they fit my active mom lifestyle, allowing me to get more hop in my getalong while still enjoying the height I love on my small frame. They feel so stable and comfortable and since no one here wears them yet I feel kinda hip in them. Since they were only 69 bucks its a cheap way to try a new, comfortable look. I love mixing cheaper clothes with my best things. I dont buy anything trendy with the thought that it must serve my style needs forever. Disposable style has its place in the creative, fun wardrobe. Viva La Zara! Pop some tags at the thrift shop and then move on when you’re ready for something fresh.

    I dont think your style will stale as you age if you can just take a silly risk once a season. The worst that can happen is that someone whispers you a fool. But taking the risk could also make you a legend, no??

    1. frugal, wonder if maybe they’re not considered a “summer” shoe there due to the visual weight? (and they’re probably warm to wear too)

  23. Reminds me something Christie Brinkley would wear – and I don’t mean that as a compliment. They are just too chunky and silly to me.

  24. Karen, as always, looks amazing.
    She can dress up or down with equal chic.
    And I love the high-low look with the casual clothes and the serious jewelry.
    That’s my style too, except for the shoes…although my daughter wears wedged sneakers almost every day.

  25. I have one pair of sneaker wedges and just ordered two more. They look great, make my ass look even better and are super comfortable. I don’t give two fucks if others think they are “on trend” or not. Isn’t that what getting older is about – being comfortable in your own skin with your own style?

  26. Love ’em… and here’s the thing. If you think I look ridiculous in them, that’s your problem – not mine! 🙂 Wear what makes you happy.