Smokin Cubans

One of my favorite winter-time stress releases (other than the new season of The Bachelor) is Latin dance class. I love the spicy music, the club beats, the sexy steps and the opportunity to cha-cha with attractive strangers. I also love the shoes.

Rumba C Label

Rumba C Label

My dance teacher wears these elegant, strappy gold sandals (and she’s coltish enough to pull off skinny jeans and tiny tees with her heels) which I covet, but my own beginner-level clumsiness makes three-inch heels impractical if I plan on spinning around the dance floor. That’s where Cuban heels come in.

The Free Dictionary describes this made-for-dancing footwear as “a broad heel of medium height on women’s shoes” — they sound like sensible grandmother-going-to-church shoes. And, while frumpy Cuban heels do exist, the spicy Latin-ness overrides the sturdy squareness more often than not. Even better: Cuban heels are a trend in the making.

Fashion Rising recently predicted the return of chunky heels, and The Fashionable Housewife listed “artistic wedges” among the must-have styles in the coming season. Put ’em together and you have the return of the Cuban heel: A sexy-sturdy oxymoron inspired by Latin rhythms, suggestive of Caribbean sunsets and good rum.

Lucky Magazine called the trend in this month’s issue, listing Cuban heels as “Shoe Obsession No. 2” for 2009. Their pick: Miss Sixty’s “Caila,” a towering, carnelian-colored leather wedge with woven details.

But Lucky is far from the only source for legal Cubans. Discount footwear retailer Gotham City Online carries Rumba C Label’s spectacular tan and gold wedges with a cork platform. (As the name implies, it’s highly likely that wearing these sling backs could inspire episodes of wantonly sultry hip swaying — probably some hair tossing, too.)

Wysteria booties from DV by Dolce Vita

Wysteria booties from DV by Dolce Vita

DV by Dolce Vita’s Cuban-heeled Wysteria Boot elevates the normally thick heel to a teetering 3 3/4 inches, them amps up the sexy quotient with a wrapped-sued upper and slightly naughty zip-up back.

And, not to be left out of the Southern migration, The Frye Company — known for Western-style campus boots — includes the Amy Criss Cross in its sandal collection. Sometimes even cowgirls need to change up their stompin’ two-steps for smokin’ Cuban steps.

The Frye Company's Amy Criss Cross

The Frye Company's Amy Criss Cross

And while these Cuban heels suggest all the dangerous thrill of contraband, they really only look naughty. Bonus.


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January 2009
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