How to Wear: Gladiator Sandals

Summer is sandal weather and I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect pair for a few weeks now…

After browsing round the shelves of various shops I noticed that the trendiest shoe around for summer has to be the Gladiator Sandal.

The ancient Romans were way ahead of their time when it came to fashion and gave us the stylish sandal known as the “Gladiator”. Traditionally a flat-soled sandal with thin straps of leather that wrap around the foot, and often up the leg, Gladiator sandals now come in a variety of styles and materials and are very on trend for summer 2014!

Just look at all the options on the shelves at Edgars this season… a variety of styles, colours and textures from the likes of Lucky Brand, Jessica Simpson, Sissy Boy, Kelso, Steve Madden and Dune.

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So many choices! Initially it was quite overwhelming but I slowly narrowed it down and eventually chose a pair that I love!


If you’re  still not convinced that Gladiator Sandals are the shizz for summer then let me enlighten you a bit more with a few pics of your favourite celebs wearing this style….

ashley tisdale

carrie underwood

chrissy teigen

diane kruger



emily blunt


gwyneth paltrow




Tip:  The best way to wear knee high gladiators is to let the sandal be the focus. Pair them with an outift that sits above the knee, such as mini-skirts, mini-dresses, or short shorts . This allows the length of the sandal to shine. Also pair these sandals with simple outfits in one or two colours and minimal details, so that the eye is drawn to the gladiator sandals.



jessica alba









nicole richie



By now I’m sure you’re realised that you need a pair of these stylish shoes for summer!? And if that is the case you’ll be pleased to know I did a bit of research to find out the best ways to wear them…


How to Wear Gladiator Sandals

These stylish pieces have been around for a few years now, and they undoubtedly will continue to be worn for a while yet as they can be worn with almost anything which makes them a very versatile purchase! The bonus is that the style is super trendy so almost everything else you wear with them will look current and up-to-date!

Bear in mind that there are 3 lengths of gladiator sandals – mid-calf or knee-high gladiators look better with short or mini outfits, while ankle-high gladiators are perfect with outfits in any length.

Here are a few outfit suggestions for wearing gladiator sandals…

With a Dress

Pair these sandals with all styles of dresses from short summery sun dresses to super chic shirt dresses to long maxi dresses – either printed or plain and preferably in a colour that complements the dress and doesn’t clash! If you’re wearing a printed dress choose a pair of simple sandals in a neutral or in one of the colours of the print. If you’re wearing a plain coloured dress you can then add all the extras with extra length or details. A lovely look for summer is a white cotton or linen dress paired with a pair of tan leather gladiators!

With a Skirt

Wearing your gladiator sandals with a summery skirt is a great way to look cool and casual this summer. Flats look great with a full circle skirt, while heels make a pencil skirt look hot. Embrace a Bohemian vibe and wear a long loose skirt or go for a cute skater girl short skirt if you have shorter legs! Bear in mind that longer skirts that reach to at least mid-calf look better with flats, while knee-length and shorter skirts are best complemented by heels.

With Shorts

Gladiator sandals look most flattering when worn with outfits that sit above the knee or at the ankle and shorts are a great alternative to skirts! Very short denim cut offs are a great look if you have the legs for it! But they are equally gorgeous worn with chic bermuda shorts for a slick city look – either flat or with a heel – worn with a loose fitting blouse. You can also opt for cropped pants or mid-thigh styles depending on your own feet and body shape!

With Pants

Theses sandals blend in with most pants-outfit. The best pants for this look are usually ones that fit close to the ankle, such as cropped pants, chinos, or harem pants. For a chic office outfit choose a pair with heels or for a casual look, roll up the bottom of your pants or jeans a little and show off your shoes, ala Kate Moss. For a pretty look wear a feminine blouse and cardigan or choose a simple T-shirt or vest for weekend casual! Wearing leggings or skinny pants with gladiators is also an option.


Tips on selecting the right style sandal


1. Suit your Shape
Select the most flattering style for your leg shape bearing in mind that Gladiator sandals can make your feet look wide and your legs look short if they have too many straps! Look at your own leg and foot shape when purchasing a pair, not at those of your friend or celeb style icon!


Short legs

You’ll look best in ankle styles in a nude color that is similar to your skin tone to make your legs look slimmer and longer.

Select styles with a T-strap and/or a heel to counter the shortening effect.

Look for sandals that sit lower on your ankles to avoid visually “cutting” them up.

You can wear taller Gladiators (mid-calf or knee-high)

If you have slim and short legs, select the simplest gladiator sandal possible to avoid overwhelming them.

The ultimate leg and foot elongating gladiator style is a solid strip of leather that bisects the foot in the center.


Muscular legs

Ankle straps are leg length suicide – which make these sandals the least flattering shoe style if you have muscular legs and/or thick ankles!

Heeled gladiator sandals are slimming on women with thicker calves and ankles because they draw the eye upward instead of to the straps around the foot.

Go as simple as possible with minimal details and bright colours as these draw attention to your legs, which may not be ideal if they’re not your best assets and you feel self-conscious about it.


Long legs

Long, slim legs can handle all sandal styles (from ankle to mid-calf, and also knee high) thrown on them.

Flat gladiators that stop just before the ankle or wrap around just above it look good on most women.

You can never go wrong with a pair with a few simple straps, in a neutral solid (eg. black, brown, tan, etc.) with minimal details!


Thin legs

Select sandals with details and colours that attract to visually add more width to them.


Thin ankles

Opt for thinner straps and less details in general – wearing large straps will only make them look smaller in comparison and overpower your legs, and make you look shorter.


Thick ankles

Go for wider straps and a sturdier heel.


Wide feet

Avoid straps that go straight across the foot as these can make the foot appear wider than it is, rather choose diagonal straps that will make the foot appear slimmer.


2. Material Matters

Choose a material that complements your wardrobe – genuine leather is my favourite option as seems to work well for this style of sandal. Other materials include suede and vinyl with metal hardware and bronze and silver embellishments. If your wardrobe contains mostly casual clothing, traditional flat leather gladiators will probably be best for you. If you prefer to dress up and like adding some glam to your wardrobe then you might like to look for heeled gladiator sandals or flats with gold or silver detailing.

3. Do get Detailed
Once you’ve got your basic sandals right, you might want to build your look with a few interesting details such as studs, buckles and beads, or with new textures, colours or even metallic options like gold or silver which are especially cool for wearing at night.

4. Go Girly
When paired with more masculine clothing, gladiator sandals can tend to create a very masculine appearance, which isn’t a great look for most women! The trick to pulling this look off is to pair your pair with more feminine clothing, such as floaty dresses, or clothes that show off your feminine shape like short denim cutoffs!

5. Fancy Footwork
Make sure your feet are in tip top condition – this look requires perfectly painted toenails and no cracked heels!! Time to book that pedicure me thinks!!


So which pair did I pick? Eventually I came right with these beauties from Steve Madden at Edgars….



AND they were marked down from R899 to R670! Score!! What a winning find! I’m totally loving them and I have been wearing them almost everyday since! Gladiator sandals are the perfect summer shoes – stylish, cool, comfortable & trendy. And if  Gladiator Sandals are STILL not your style you’ll be pleased to know that Edgars have a huge range of other sandals that might suit you better…


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Happy Shopping!

Images: Kathryn Rossiter & Pinterest 😉

Disclosure: 1

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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