I’m not a fan of gladiator sandals and boots. I’ve tried to like them and just can’t seem to find any gladiator love in me. Something about the entire open, caged, flat-soles of the core gladiator sandal style just leaves me cold.
Sure, there are some super skinny, super tall, young ladies who can wear this style without looking stumpy. I am currently none of these things, so perhaps that is part of my bias.Preview
Whatever the reason, I have no love for the basic, flat gladiator.
Over the last few years, as gladiator sandals have become a spring and summer shoe-staple, the closest I have come to the gladiator styling are these Chie Mihara’s I picked up about 18 months ago:
And, honestly, these barely give nod to the whole gladiator trend. Plus, they evidence what occurs when you add a heel to a strappy-styled flat. The original trend concept starts to change…which we have been seeing in action over the last year in the morphing of flat gladiator styles into caged sandals, openwork boot, sandal boots, hybrid boots, and an increased availability of open-front boots and lace-up styles at retailers.
To demonstrate how drastically heels affect gladiator styles, let’s look at Sigerson Morrison.
First, the basic gladiator:
Now, add a heel to that:
Look at how the whole silhouette changes. Yes, some people will like the first sandal better. But for me, the overall lines of the second sandal are just more beautiful. Sure, it’s an individual aesthetic judgment, but there it is.
Another Sigerson Morrison example:
I really, really, don’t like the flat versions of this style. The buckles feel incongruous and out of place on the more faithful, flat, gladiator style. But, on the heeled version, the package as a whole works for me. Rather than feeling like an overworked gladiator, the heel takes this into the level of modernized granny boot with an attitude. The word ‘gladiator’ does not even come to mind when looking at them. The only thing that I might have changed on these would be to have them on a slightly shorter, stacked heel. These are already channeling a retro-modern weird west vibe, why not go the whole way and keep them at an easy walkable height?
Maybe that’s not the only thing I’d change. I’d also want these to be in a price range that I could afford. Alas, such is not the case . And so, temptation is averted by cold, hard, economic realities.
Others will disagree with me and continue their flirtation with the classic gladiators that drive me nuts.
But, that doesn’t change the inevitable movement of fashion that, thankfully, constantly reinvents itself to help all of us find styles that we can love.
I see the gladiator-sandal trend in the process of merging into other silhouettes – from strappy sandals to ankle boots – and coming out on the other side as something a bit more classic and refined. I suspect we will see a modern take on more conservative or classic boot styles in full force come fall; ranging from fairly faithful, granny-inspired boots to sleek, open, cut-work hybrids. True lace-up and button-detailed boots will easily blend in with these other silhouettes. I have to admit that after almost two years of studs, zippers, et. al. attached to every visible surface of a shoe, plain old leather with brass highlights seems positively retrained.
*Note: I chose Sigerson Morrison by way of illustration because they have so many excellent examples of what I wanted to talk about contained within one brand and season. Plus, I love the 9804 boot and would have found a way to share that with our readers one way or another. We generally do not receive compensation for our posts from any brands mentioned in the blog, and will specifically mention if such a relationship exists.