Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cheese wedges

We all know how big wedge shoes are this year and this summer there’s no escaping them. I myself now have enough to wear every day of the week, and recently became the proud owner of espadrilles. Espadrilles! Ratty string on your shoes! And somehow I love them. But I’ve also noticed a disturbing style of wedge infiltrating the stores. I call them the cheese wedge. Let me tell you of the horrors…

The “cheese wedge” is a very silly thing. It’s a bulky, unsavoury-looking beast that has no purpose but to make you walk awkwardly and look like a mong. I name it the cheese wedge because when you boil it down to the essence of the shoe it looks like you have taken regular sandals and gaffa’d a 1kg block of Colby to your feet. In fact, to save yourself some money, I would suggest that that is the road you take if you want to step into this (shudder) “trend”. The fact that I have to shudder AND double quote Trend alerts you to the fact that this is seriously bad.

So, you have your sandal cheddar strapped on, and you’re feeling a good 2 inches taller than usual. Great, you might think, what’s not to love?

What’s not to love?? Let me count the ways.

1. The purpose of heels (whether stiletto, cone, wedge: all the goodness) is to elongate the leg. It creates an illusion of the leg continuing into the masterfully angled foot. The cheese wedge does none of this. Your calves remain blissfully unaware that you are in “heels” and maintain their original (and less desirable) flat-footed position. Your feet do the same. Yes, you have elevated yourself 2 inches, but you are gaining nothing more than just that. You might as well be wearing an oversized hat.

2. You know those people who have one leg shorter than the other or some kind of club foot? You see them walking the streets in an unwieldy fashion, unless their doctor prescribes them one platform shoe to even them out. This is what you are getting. But for both feet. You’ve essentially club footed yourself right into the world of the less fortunate, and you’re shoving it in their awkwardly lopsided face.

3. Remember the 90s? We’re still all about them. But the thing about fashion cycles is that you take the best of an era and remaster it and leave behind the cheese. I once owned a pair of platform jandals. Yes, jandals. Much like regular jandals, but the rubber sole was a good two inches thick. They were terribly hard to walk in. Not only were they heavy, but the flip-flopping action of a 2-inch cast of rubber was enough to trip you up on a regular basis. The shoe makers might have added a few more straps to mitigate the flip-flop, but the weighty and cumbersome sole is still there.

4. Walking like a robot might be cool on the dancefloor (if only for its reminiscent and kitch value) but doing it on the street is a whole other ball game. Everyone knows the key to a perfect heel-wearing walk is the rule of heel-toe. Heel toe heel toe. Simple right? Well, try it with these cheesy babies on. Your platform, due to its weight and width, does not allow for a ladylike walk. Instead, you are forced to stomp flat-footed at each step. If you try a bit of heel-toe you will quickly find that the cheese wedge propels you forwards. And don’t even think about walking uphill in them! I’ll let you just ponder that one for a moment and let the imagery do the work.

Ever the optimist, I will hit you with the good news. If you are so enamoured with a cheese wedge, and you find yourself purchasing these red herrings of the shoe world, you will at least have made a solid investment in footwear. I reckon it will take about 10 years to wear those silly things down to a reasonable sole. In the meantime, enjoy the stank of off-fashion.

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