How to Wear Gladiator Sandals

This flattering and exceptionally comfortable style has remained at the forefront of fashion for much longer than other footwear styles. Gladiator sandals are known for their versatility and go with pretty much any summertime ensemble. Flip flops tend to be the more popular option for summer, but many wonder are flip flops bad for your feet? Gladiators also have a bit more flair as a summer sandal anyways. This unique style can be a stylish standout in any outfit, but how exactly do you style this comfortable pair of walking sandals?

In this guide, we’ll explain what to wear and how to wear gladiator sandals, break down the different types of gladiators, and help you find a comfortable pair of sandals to take you through the summer.


What Are Gladiator Sandals?

Sometimes referred to as Roman sandals or caligae, flat gladiator sandals were first worn by soldiers in Ancient Rome[4]. This type of sandal is designed with strappy uppers that secure the foot, ankle, and sometimes the calves. Some gladiator sandals lace-up from the foot through the calves, while others have buckles, braids, or criss-cross strap designs. They’re usually worn during the summer and in warmer regions, which makes them a perfect pick for travel shoes. Today, these women’s comfortable sandals are the most popular option, but you can find men’s styles, too.


5 Ways to Wear Gladiator Sandals

As a summer wardrobe staple, gladiator shoes can be rocked with laid-back ensembles, as well as fancier looks. They provide a flawless finishing touch to basically any warm-weather outfit while making a bold statement. But if you’re not totally sure how to wear gladiator sandals, Vionic is here to help. Whether you prefer a dressy ensemble or a more casual look, these five looks will give you the inspiration you need to perfect your outfit.

Gladiator Sandals with Dress

One of our favorite looks is a dress with gladiator sandals. It’s a simple outfit that doesn’t require much more than your choice of dress and shoes—except maybe a handbag and a few accessories. Shorter dresses tend to pair better with tall and knee-high gladiators, and Roman ankle sandals, like our Harissa Sandal, work well with longer hemlines. But whether you have a short sundress, shirt dress, flowy maxi dress, flirty midi, or even a little black dress in mind, you really can’t go wrong with this breezy ensemble.

Gladiator Sandals with Skirt

Another feminine option is to wear gladiator sandals with a skirt. Got a mini skirt you’ve been eager to wear? Or maybe you have a flowy ankle-length skirt or a mid-length pencil skirt you want to rock this summer. Either style skirt will look great with a pair of ankle gladiators. Flat sandals work well with any skirt length, but heel gladiator sandals, such as the Sami Heeled Sandal from Vionic, will lend to a fancier vibe[1].

Gladiator Sandals with Shorts

We also adore the look of gladiator sandals and shorts. It’s a casual, summer-ready, and totally stylish outfit with tons of opportunity to make it your own. Ankle gladiator shoes will go with almost any length and style of shorts. We’re talking denim shorts, tailored shorts, chinos, cut-offs, skorts—you name it. For your top, you’ve got options. Tank tops, blouses, crop tops, and simple t-shirts are all excellent choices.

Gladiator Sandals with Jeans

Denim is truly seasonless, but can you wear gladiator sandals with jeans? You bet! In fact, they’re one of the cutest shoes to wear with jeans in the summer. But, how do you wear gladiator sandals with jeans? Of course, long pants will cover the straps that wrap above your ankle. However, some people opt to wear knee-high gladiator sandals over a pair of skinny jeans. If this look is a little bolder than you’re used to, consider wearing ankle gladiator sandals with boot-cut, straight-leg, flared, boyfriend, slim-fit, distressed, or ripped jeans. For your shirt, go for a tank, crop, button-down, or basic tee.

Gladiator Sandals with Jumpsuit

For a chic and sophisticated look, wear a jumpsuit with gladiator sandals. Similar to jeans, jumpsuits can be worn any time of year, day or night. They can be super casual, work-appropriate, or dressed up for a fancy occasion. Full-length and calf-length jumpsuits should be paired with short gladiator sandals. But if you have a short jumpsuit (AKA a romper), both tall and ankle-high gladiators will work. To complete the ensemble, grab your favorite sun hat, some jewelry, and a pair of stylish sunglasses.

Gladiator Sandals with Swimwear

Gladiator sandals are also the perfect pair of shoes to rock with a swimsuit, especially Vionic’s Roman-style Harissa ankle sandal. Whether you have plans to hit the beach, lounge by the pool, or hang out on a dock, we love the laid-back look of gladiators with swimwear. As for the rest of your outfit, you’ve got options. Shorts, tanks, t-shirts, and sundresses are great choices to throw on over a bathing suit. But if you prefer something a little more flowy, we also adore the look of tunic dresses, maxis, kimonos, caftans, and sarongs. Grab a sunhat and your most flattering sunglasses, slather on some sunscreen, and you’re good to go!


Types of Gladiator Sandals You Can Style

Modern gladiator sandals come in a wide range of styles and configurations, which is part of what makes them so versatile[3]. Plus, they can be worn multiple ways.

Type of gladiator sandals include:

  • Ankle gladiator sandals
  • Casual gladiator sandals
  • Heel gladiator sandals
  • Platform gladiator sandals
  • Knee-high gladiator sandals

Much like how boots come in a multitude of styles—some of which are more versatile and practical than others—gladiators vary drastically. When you shop for gladiator sandals, the main thing to consider is height, as in how high they go up your leg. Gladiators that go higher up your leg may rub against your skin and make you feel uncomfortable. This may not be the best option for those hot summer days when you want your legs to breathe.

You’ll also want to consider how your gladiators fit. While these are sandals that are good for your feet, it doesn’t mean anything if they don’t fit properly. If you’re wondering how should sandals fit, consider measuring your feet before purchasing a pair of gladiators.


Comfortable Sandals for All Occasions from Vionic

Gladiator sandals are notably comfortable and supportive, which the foot health enthusiasts at Vionic are totally on board with. We have an appreciation for the history of gladiators and their iconic place in the world of fashion. That’s why we’re proud to offer a wide range of leather gladiator-inspired strappy sandals that nod to the first stiff-soled shoes.

When you browse the collections of orthotic sandals for men and women from Vionic, you’ll find supportive styles with ankle straps, hook-and-loop straps, buckles, and thin strappy uppers. Many have artisanal touches, such as basket-weave leather straps, metallic detailing, raffia-wrapped heels, and espadrilles soles. We also carry flip-flops, toe-post sandals, slides, wedge heels, platform sandals, and block-heel sandals.

Some of our women’s sandal options most reminiscent of Roman-style shoes include the:

  • Harissa Sandal, a strappy, open-toe option with hook-and-loop straps
  • Sami Heeled Sandal, which is made from luxurious leather, crafted with artisanal techniques, and has a perfect block heel
  • Colleen Sandal, which has rich leather uppers and adjustable straps
  • Fara Sandal, which has flattering features, a customizable silhouette, and adjustable straps
  • Amber Adjustable Sandal, a stylish option with four adjustable straps and pretty detailing on the uppers
  • Lupe Sandal, a flattering, minimalist shoe with hook-and-loop straps and a toe-post design

Every pair of Vionic shoes is embedded with Vio-Motion Support technology, which is designed to reduce pain and benefit foot health. And the orthotics are completely hidden within each shoe. Strappy leather sandals are a summertime essential. Why not get the styles you love with built-in arch support, deep heel cups, and cushioned soles that hug your natural foot shape?

Shop Vionic’s extensive footwear selection to find warm-weather beach sandals for every occasion. And for more sandal inspiration, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube!







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