Salvatore Ferragamo invented the wedge shoe when Italy was suffering from closed trade with other countries.
The wedge shoe was invented out of necessity in the 1940's. Due to the economic sanctions against Italy, Ferragamo could no longer purchase steel for his traditional heels. According to the fashion house's website, Ferragamo wrote at the time, "I experimented with pieces of Sardinian cork, pushing and gluing and fixing and trimming until the entire space between the sole and the heel was blocked solid." Apparently, after a few weeks, it became one of the most popular styles.