Every fall, college campuses swarm with women wearing all kinds of leather flats, but there are always a select few brave enough to walk across the quad in stilettos. Those risk-takers might look great, but who can realistically trek to class in high heels? There's a different breed of shoe popping up in storefronts around Los Angeles that could prove the perfect solution. The high-top wedge sneaker is a heel and sport shoe hybrid, providing a middle ground for chic tomboys and girlie-girls who love their heels.
"I always wanted to be able to wear sneakers and create a whole cool tomboyish look, but I couldn't seem to achieve that with plain old high-tops," says designer Monika Chiang, who has a new line of high-top wedge sneakers. "When I created my high-tops, I added a hidden wedge to give the leg a longer look and a more stylish feel."
The color combinations, materials and styles of this season's high-top wedge run the gamut. Mesh panels, white leather-cap toes and Velcro are all nods to traditional, sporty sneaks. But with lush suede, metal studs and labels including Chloe, Marc Jacobs and Isabel Marant, these kicks definitely classify as high fashion.
Monika Chiang Artemys sneaker in pewter, $385, available at http://www.monikachiang.com.
The metallic leather shines, a throwback to the cool kids of the '80s. "I love incorporating something unexpected like a metallic leather or all-over studs, to give it a bit of attitude," Chiang says.
Corte wedge sneaker in wenge, $428, available at Gregory's Beverly Hills, 147 N. Robertson Blvd.
The simple Velcro straps and rich color palette make this style a fall staple to wear with coats and skinny jeans.
Koolaburra Kenny sneaker wedge in red, $239, available at http://www.koolaburra.com beginning in September.
This deep red sneaker with silver studs makes a bold statement and can easily transition from day to night.
The style is a sort of dressed-up version of a Converse Chuck Taylor, with a white leather toe and trim.
See by Chloe lace-up wedge sneaker in gaucho rust, $375, available at http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
If you're looking to try out the trend without screaming "I'm wearing sneaks," the See by Chloe lace-ups make a good starting point. The soft rust color and smooth lines are subtle but still fun.