Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Finds: Gladiator Sandals

When I first came across this picture of Mary Kate Olsen wearing these sandals, my only thought was to the poor gladiators who must be offended by being associated with such hideous footwear, which more closely resemble a giant game of calf tic tac toe than anything a real Roman would wear. And can you imagine the tan lines?


I've been seeing versions of the knee high gladiator sandal everywhere lately. Personally, I'm turned off by any shoe that resembles a torture device, but there's no denying that the gladiator is back and bigger (literally) than ever.

In trying to decipher what would motivate designers to create the scariest leather concoctions not available for purchase at a fetish shop, I did a little research into the history of the gladiator sandal. The obvious first stop was IMDB, where close examination of still shots from the 2000 classic "Gladiator" proved that not only did Russell Crowe not wear gladiator sandals, he wore closed-toe boots. It makes perfect sense to avoid the open-toed look when your job is not to get eaten by a large, hungry tiger.

Historical accuracy aside, there's absolutely no excuse for a Mary Kate-style gladiator sandal, especially when there are so many cute, less extreme, versions available. I love these sandals for their strong, masculine overtones, which work so well when paired with a feminine, pretty outfit. They're practical for walking and look great with shorts or miniskirts to tone down to sexiness of showing off a lot of skin. And they're versatile enough to dress up or down, depending on your mood. For those of us who prefer battling makeup meltdown to live animals, it's a great shoe for feeling like you could conquer anything. Here are a few of my favorite styles:



Athena Alexander "Ava" Sandal, $79.95, from Nordstrom



Dolce Vita "Athens-12" Thong Sandal, $69.95, from Nordstrom


MICHAEL Michael Kors "Alexandra" Toe Ring Sandal, $108.95, from Nordstrom

Frye Lola Gladiator Sandal, from Piper Lime, $140.00

Anthropologie Olympia Sandals, $58

4 comments:

EthidiumBromide said...

Judging from the footwear of everyone I pass on the street, I think I am the only person against this trend. I think it's so harsh and sloppy looking -- the only thing worse are flip flops. While a pair of stilettos is certainly not appropriate for any situation, there are loads of cute flats, wedge sandals, and casual heel sandals that are much better looking. You couldn't pay me enough to get me to wear any of the above shoes -- I would never let myself look so sloppy!

Katherine said...

Haha, nice post! Several funny lines in here. "hideous footwear, which more closely resemble a giant game of calf tic tac toe than anything a real Roman would wear. And can you imagine the tan lines?" "It makes perfect sense to avoid the open-toed look when your job is not to get eaten by a large, hungry tiger."

The sandals that you posted are really quite cute, but as is my beef with most shoes, how do people wear these things with zero arch support?? I went into a shoe store the other day and the lady told me that I actually have a fairly normal height arch, yet still I have trouble finding shoes with good support. I think that any shoe above $20 should be more than a flat piece of hard material and some pretty straps.

Great Face said...

Gotta agree with Katherine. It's a health issue. A summer wearing those sandals would leave me with aching, fallen arches.

Anonymous said...

I really like how you took a huge trend and gave us a few suggestions on how to turn it into something we can wear everyday and not look ridiculous. Thanks!