Festival-goers, street-style Instagrammers, Roman gods, and women’s gift card lovers rejoice! First of all, because it’s Fashion Friday… but also because gladiator sandals will never go out of style. (Hit it, Tay).
They’re one of the oldest, boldest, and timeless-est (new word alert) trends in footwear, and they seem to make an appearance on the runway every single season. And it’s no secret why. Gladiator sandals pair perfectly with breezy summer dresses, dare-to-bare mini skirts, and any romper of your choosing. They’re also guaranteed to stay put when you’re running to catch the elevator… and stay comfortable when you miss the elevator and have to take the stairs.
These Roman-esque sandals weren’t always designed with the fashion elite in mind, though. In fact, they were designed with brutal battling on the brain, and no, we’re not talking about battling the brutal mid-summer heat.
While everyone back in the Roman Gladiator days wore sandals—it was a sign of dire poverty to walk the streets barefoot—it was the Roman soldiers who rocked the look best, as they needed strong shoes that would endure miles and miles of walking (and not on a paved sidewalk, ladies).
And just how exactly did they make these super strong sandals? The lace-ups worn by soldiers and Gladiators were crafted with tough leather and studded with hobnails. Now, while you may be thinking, “Studs? On gladiators? Groundbreaking,” hobnails aren’t exactly fashion friendly. They were added to the soles of Gladiator’s sandals for extra durability. So while the click of your new Louboutins may be music to your ears, the clack of a hobnailed sandal on the pavement would probably make you cringe.
Overall, the style of glads hasn’t changed much over the years—save for those hobnails—but do come in a variety of lengths and colors.
Two of our fave gift card-worthy picks are from Lori’s Shoes in Chicago, and both can be dressed up or down.
The Jeffrey Campbell Redondo sandal is a more traditional take on the trend, sporting a flat sole and an armor-esque lace up to the mid-calf. When worn with a floppy hat and an off-the-shoulder white dress, these flats will take you straight from brunch to the park for some relaxation (unfortunately, they won’t last in the arena).
For an updated version of the gladiator, we think your shoes gift cards would be put to good use with the Jeffrey Campbell Nador sandal. Complete with tough buckles and a slight wedge—and umm, are those treaded soles the 2015 version of hobnails?—these are the perfect addition to an evening ensemble that you want to scream style but whisper comfort.
Still not sole-d on the trend? Maybe you just need a little more info. We’re obsessed with this “through the ages” vid Vogue put together a few months back. Get your gift cards to Lori’s now, because you’ll soon be a convert. The rest of the fashion world already is.