Gladiator Sandals

"Add a Trendy Edge to Your Outfit"


Gladiator sandals can look both casual and dressy, and they look great with a summer dress. There aren't a lot of stylish summer footwear to choose from, so there's no wonder why these gorgeous caged sandals are every fashionista's closet essential!

Black gladiator sandals with heels by Elie Tahari
Courtesy of Elie Tahari/Zappos

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On this page you'll find fashion tips on how to select the best gladiator sandal style for your legs, advice and ideas on how to wear them, along with recommendations on where to shop for the latest styles online.

A nifty thing about these type of strappy sandals is that they can be worn with almost everything - from maxi dresses to shorts - they are sure to make your outfits look up-to-date! :-)

How to Buy Gladiator Sandals

The right sandal height

The best sandal height depends on the shape and length of your legs:

Full/short legs

Various gladiator sandals height


Unfortunately, ankle straps are leg length suicide - which make the sandals the least ideal shoe style if you have muscular legs and/or thick ankles.

So if you have full and/or short legs, you'll look best in ankle styles in a nude color that is similar to your skin tone. Or simply, select styles with a T-strap and/or 2-3" heel to counter the shortening effect. Also look for sandals that sit lower on your ankles to avoid visually "cutting" them up.

You'll also benefit from simple sandal styles - in solids and with minimal details. Bright colors and eye-catching draw attention to your legs, which may not be ideal if they're not your best assets and you feel self-conscious about it. will complement your outfit without drawing too much attention to your legs.

However, if you want to take it up a notch, choose taller ones like mid-calf or knee-high.


Slim/long legs

Long and slim legs can handle all sandal styles (from ankle to mid-calf, and also knee high) thrown on them. However, if you have slim and short legs, select the simplest gladiator sandal possible to avoid overwhelming them.

Another tip if your legs are thin - select sandals with details and colors that attract to visually add more width to them.

    fashion tip Tip: For the ultimate leg and foot elongating, choose a gladiator style with a solid strip of leather that bisects the foot in the center. We want a vertical line on your frame to create a long and lean silhouette.

No matter gladiator style you decide to wear, heels will balance it out. They look sexy too!

Details scaled to the size of your legs

Gold studded black gladiator sandals

Unless you want to make a fashion statement and make your feet look smaller, make sure to select details that are scaled to the size of your feet, ankles and calves.

For example, if you have slim ankles and feet 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.

The same rule applies if you have thicker ankles and feet, go for wider straps and not least a sturdier heel.

The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says Now some might disagree with me on the straps-issue. But just think about it. If you have thick calves, the more obvious they'll look when you wear something smaller in comparison. It's like having small breasts and wearing a bra that's one-two cup size bigger. Or stuffing a pair of large breasts in a tiny bra cup. Now wouldn't that make your size obvious?


Secure the basics

Basic black gladiator sandals

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. They're basic and go with the rest of your closet and color combinations.

After securing the basics, build it from there with interesting details such as studs, buckles, shiny texture, statement straps, bead artwork, platform heel and so on. Also experiment with eye-popping colors like purple, red, blue, yellow and green. Gold or silver are also nice alternatives.

Trendy sandals bring the eye down to your feet and legs, so make sure your nails are polished and foot heel smooth :-)


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How to Wear Gladiator Sandals

They look great with absolutely everything - from mini to long maxi dresses, capri to short shorts, pants to jeans, and even skirts.

Here are a couple of chic ways to wear them:

With a Dress

As you can see, most gladiator sandals are versatile, and look good with either a plain or trendy dress, mini or maxi. They add a cool and casual feel to the outfit.

Gladiator sandals and dress celeb outfits

If you're wearing a print dress, make sure the color of sandals is solid-colored and the design simple. They're not supposed to battle with the dress! However, if you want to make a bolder style impact, find a pair of sandals in one of the colors on the print - or in a color that complements the colors on the print. Click here to learn more about how to wear various color combinations

If you're wearing basic, solid neutral colored dress, add the bells and whistles with eye-popping gladiators such as mid-calf and knee-highs - or ankle gladiator sandals in a bold and bright colors and perhaps with trendy details like studs.

Check out Shopping & Style Guide to Womens Dresses


With Pants

The sandals blend in with most pants-outfits. For a sophisticated yet chic office outfit, choose a pair with heels. For a casual look, roll up the pants a little and show off your shoes, just like Kate Moss. Out partying? Go for sky-high platform gladiators.

Gladiator sandals and pants celeb outfits


If you want to look really, reeaaally slender and tall, blend the color of the sandals with your hosiery, skin tone or pants. For example by teaming up a pair of black pants or jeans with black gladiator sandals with heels.

Check out Shopping & Style Guide to Womens Pants


With Shorts

Gorgeous chic in the city-look. They look great with khaki-colored bermuda shorts, denim shorts and even mini shorts!

Gladiator sandals and shorts celeb outfits

Try wearing a pair of tailored dress shorts with trendy sandals to up the chic-factor of the look. Adding heels will definitely turn up the heat!

    fashion tip Tip: Tone down the look with something loose-fitted on top like cute blouse or a cardigan.


With a Skirt

Look casual with flats or trendy with high heeled gladiator sandals. Flats look super cute with a full circle skirt - while heels make a pencil skirt-outfit look trendy.

Gladiator sandals and skirt outfits


If you have short legs I recommend you to wear an above-the-knee skirt to make them look longer with the gladiator sandals - or simply add heels :o)

Check out Shopping & Style Guide to Fashion Skirts


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Shop Gladiator Sandals Online

Mini globe Shopping tip for international readers: Expensive worldwide shipping? US store doesn't ship to your country? Save up to 50% off retail price in your home country and gain access to the goodies. Try a mail forwarding service!

Here you'll find the best deals:

5 star Delia's offers a nice range of cute styles for juniors

5 star Zappos has an amazing range of reasonably priced sandals from Naturalizer, Jessica Simpson, Kenneth Cole and more. Gotta love their free shipping and 365 day return policy!

5 star Ami Clubwear has a little bit of everything, from sexy high heel sandals to flats at low prices

5 star Steve Madden provides a good selection of vintage-inspired gladiator sandals

If you're into ebay (like I am, I shop a lot of stuff from there) then check out these:

5 star Gladiator Wedge Sandals

5 star Mid-calf

5 star Studded

5 star High Heeled

Ever since gladiator sandals re-emerged in 2006, they've evolved into all kinds of mutated designs like sexy stilettos, chunky platforms with wide straps, warrior-woman knee highs, ankle boots, mid-calf to flats.


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The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

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