Some 2000 and odd years ago, an otherwise civilized Roman Empire would get the same kick out of gladiator fights that we now get, say, from watching professional football:
As you can see from this ancient mosaic, gladiator footwear was serious business, complete with over-the-knee plates to protect the precious shins. Those shin-plates have been underrepresented in the long and glorious tradition of classical paintings, which more often than not depict sturdy, beefed-up warriors wearing the most ridiculously fragile footwear contraptions, made of delicate strings woven and attached in fanciful ways. They’re also underrepresented in the current resurgence of the so-called gladiator-trend sandals, because, let’s be honest, if anything, we want to showcase our shins, not protect them from the world (although in certain crowded subways that wouldn’t be such a bad idea–but I digress).
And so! I’ve finally accepted the fact that gladiator sandals are EVERYWHERE, I mean, just pick your shoe store of choice, online or not, and voila! There they are, and they have been there for a few seasons now, so I can’t willfully ignore them any longer. For here’s the thing: I stayed away from gladiators because they tend to “cut” the foot from your leg, often with bulky plates and multiple ankle straps, and disrupt the natural lines and the illusion of “elongated” that I so direly need to create. Which is to say, I’ve often thought that unless you’ve got wispy legs like a runway model, why, those gladiators are likely to turn you into the spitting image of those two beefcakes duking it out in my introductory mosaic. And that’s not a good look for me, is all I’m saying.
But! I think I’ve reached the critical point in time when I’ve got to get into a pair of gladiator sandals, or my summer wardrobe my life won’t be complete. A cursory perusal of my favorite shoe haunts on the internet has presented me with approximately 322,485 handy choices, give or take two. Ayyyyy! to quote the Manolo. What to do? After a rigorous selection process consisting mainly of “let’s just stick to one website, or I’m going to shoot myself,” I’ve narrowed down my choices to two:
The curiously-named Dolce Vita “Daisy-11″ sandal, in gold or pewter (probably gold, since gold and gladiator go together like that), $60 at Piperlime:
Or, the more high-end Cynthia Vincent “Dinah,” $200 at Piperlime (hey, Zappos has it listed for $214–what’s up, Zappos? Piperlime’s delivery is also free, you know!):
They both have that classic woven look on the vamp, and multiple ankle straps (which are pretty cool, if you ask me). I’m not completely sure I should spend so much money for a shoe that might as well go out of style next year (what? it’s been known to happen!), but the Cynthia Vincent sandals do have a quite excellent design. On the other hand, the Dolce Vitas are cheap and attractive and definitely satisfy the gladiator tooth. What say you, Internet? Which should I choose?