Best Gladiator Sandals Reviewed

Nothing says summer has arrived like slipping into your favorite pair of gladiator sandals. Inspired by the heat and sand of the gladiatorial arena, this fashion ‘trend’ is not going anywhere anytime soon. That’s because gladiator style is not just a trend, it’s airflow, comfort, ease, and casual style all bundled into a single package.

It was the gladiator sandal, the first with uppers, reinforced studded soles, and secure straps, that allowed the Roman army to march further, conquering much of the known world (known to them at least). The same sandal offered their gladiators better grip in the sands of the arena, improving their performance and the show for the spectators.

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These days the gladiator has been given an upgrade. No longer designed for long marches and life or death combat, they are instead designed for the beach, for hiking, for walking long miles on that vacation tour, or that day at the amusement park with the kids. They have been given a fashion upgrade from functional leather foot protector to elegant, stylish, fashion statement.

The interpretation of this ancient style provides something for everyone – low and functional for a summer workdays, slip on for a casual day at the beach, knee high and laced to suit that beautiful new summer dress, or ankle height and sturdy for climbing up to that perfect lookout to watch the summer sun rising in the distance. Face it, the gladiators have you covered.

 

10 Best Gladiator Sandals

 

1. Naot Flirt

Inspired by the arena but updated for modern life, this Naot Flirt sandal will look great and feel even better. The shoes are 100% leather with a superbly comfortable 2-inch synthetic sole, including the platform. The comfort is really no surprise since it is what Naot aims to - create comfortable shoes that look great. With understated accents, you can walk all day and dance all night.
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Comfort
Made of cork with a soft suede bed to rest your feet on, these platform sandals could not be more comfortable.The straps adjust at the ankle and are spaced to give your feet a lot of airflow all summer long.

Quality
These shoes are made of 100% leather, giving the straps extra durability. The footbed is cork that will adjust to your feet as you wear them and to show they’ve thought of everything, the soles won’t mark up floors.

Cost and Value
These shoes will cost a little more than many sandals on this list but they are designed with you comfort and the shoe’s durability in mind. You will be able to walk in these all day while still sporting a fashionable platform heel with a gladiator flair!
Pros
  • All day comfort
  • Solid build
  • Casual yet fashionable
  • Quality Material
  • Excellent width variety
Cons
  • Fit large

2. Aerosoles Conchlusion

Aerosoles has a reputation for building quality, comfortable shoes that are stylish and all for a reasonable price. This gladiator inspired thong sandal has a double layer of memory foam in the insole, so you can walk for miles. With a choice of styles and colors to choose from, these will be just as enjoyable at home or on a beach as they will hiking on that vacation adventure.
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Double Memory Foam Insoles
Doubled up memory foam insoles, suede lining, and shock-absorbing diamond patterned soles make for very happy feet. The thong has enough space over the arch for a comfortable fit without being loose.

Open Design
With a wide variety of styles to choose from, there is a shoe here for every taste and every wardrobe. The open design on these sandals provides for plenty of airflow, keeping you cool on those hot summer days.

Cost and Value
Aerosoles puts a lot of comfort technology into this shoe for a very affordable price, which is mid-range compared relative to other sandals on our list. With so many styles to choose from, you are sure to find a sandal that you will want to wear all summer long, everywhere you go.
Pros
  • Diamond sole
  • Great insole
  • Great style variety
  • Great airflow
  • Adjustable strap
Cons
  • Fits small

3. Blowfish Bungalow

With these sandals, we move toward a youthful, casual style that Blowfish has come to be known for. With a zippered back and adjustable straps over the foot and around the ankle, you adjust once to your fit and go. Available in a large variety of colors with a simple, unembellished style, you will find a pair to match any outfit.
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Youthful and Simple
These flats are all about a youthful, simple, gladiator-inspired style. The shoes come in a variety of colors from classic black or white to roses, tans, browns and greys to suit any preference, with a zipper back to make it easy.

True to Size
The shoes fit true to size. With two adjustable straps you can adjust the fit over the top of the foot and at the ankle once and then take them on and off with the zipper back. The fit of the straps is relatively snug, preventing slipping.

Cost and Value
These sandals are priced in the low range relative to the other sandals on our list. For that you get a true sized shoe that is fashionable, casual and a lot of fun. The zippered back means you won’t be opening and closing buckles on the straps repeatedly. The textured bottom also provides a better grip than many other sandals with the same look and feel.
Pros
  • Variety of colors
  • Two adjustable straps
  • Fits true to size
  • Zippered back
  • Simple, clean style
Cons
  • No padding in footbed

4. Sketchers Regga

4. Sketchers Regga
These sandals are another comfort meets style superstar. At only 6 ounces each, these sandals are lightweight and easy for the beach, hiking, or walking around town. The straps are made from durable material with a soft lining to prevent chafing and blisters and the sole guarantees good traction in almost any conditions. These sandals are convertible - remove the heel strap and you have an equally comfortable slip-on.
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High-Quality Material
These sandals are made with a flexible rubber sole to prevent slipping and provide shock absorption. The footbed is made with memory foam and the straps are made from soft but sturdy faux leather with a fabric lining.

All Day Comfort
Adjustable straps and buckles make adjusting the fit to any foot easy. The footbed is comfortable and contoured with some extra arch support, to prevent the aches and pains that come with a day on your feet.

Cost and Value
WIth a mid-range price tag, these sandals are durable, easy to clean, comfortable and they adjust to however you want to wear them - ankle strapped for more support or slip on for a more relaxed feel. A lot of thought has been put into the design of these shoes and the quality of the materials used to make them.
Pros
  • Removable ankle strap
  • Memory foam footbed
  • Arch support
  • Durable
  • Great walking sandal
Cons
  • Loose on Slim Feet

5. Alegria Kleo

5.  Alegria Kleo
These one-inch platform gladiator sandals are great for summer. They have a removable footbed made from cork, memory foam and a soft suede finish for comfortable, happy foot bottoms. Leather straps with fabric linings ensure the tops of your feet are equally comfortable. A variety of designs and prints to choose from make this shoe suitable for any casual outfit and the rocker sole will have you rolling along in style.
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Happy Feet
These sandals come with a superbly comfortable footbed of memory foam, cork, and suede. The footbed is removable for easy cleaning of the suede finish or to let them dry out after a day of playing in the surf. Fabric lined straps ensure no sore spots.

Range of Styles
All of the shoes in this line are patterned and come with a different strap embellishment for every print, from buttons to leaves to peace signs. From retro and bright to dark and sleek, there is a style choice and color to suit every personality.

Cost and Value
These sandals are priced in the middle range relative to the other sandals on our list. For a reasonable cost, you are really getting superior comfort and fit. The removable footbed allows for easy maintenance of the shoe even in wet conditions. The range of styles and colours to choose from ensure that there is something for everyone with this pick.
Pros
  • Removable footbed
  • Superior comfort
  • Lined straps
  • Wide style range
  • Adjustable strap
Cons
  • May fit larger
  • May fit wider

6. Breckelle’s Suede Gilly

6. Breckelle’s Suede Gilly
With these very fashionable, knee-high gladiator boots from Breckelle’s, we come back to the trendy, fashionable gladiator-inspired flat sandal. The long laces bring this sandal all the way up the calf to wrap around at the top. Made with no animal products whatsoever, these sandals are ethical footwear at a great price.
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Style
These sandals are all about the gladiator trend in footwear, lacing leather-like straps from the foot all the way up the calf to the knee without any hooks to adjust. These come in three basic colors, black, tan and ready-for-the-Colosseum gold.

Secure fit
The lacing on this shoe works from the toe through the ankle and all the way up to the knee, allowing you to adjust the fit to your needs throughout. You get all the airflow of a simpler sandal with none of the slipping.

Cost and Value
These sandals are priced on the lower end of the price range relative to the other sandals in our top 10 list. They are very fashionable, hitting the nail on this trend dead on. With solid lacing and wide straps throughout, you take control of the best fit for your feet. The insoles are padded for a comfortable day (or night) of wear.
Pros
  • Padded insoles
  • Wider straps
  • Fits true to size
  • True to the style
  • Zippered back
Cons
  • Limited color choices
  • Straps not for slim legs

7. Earth Bay Gladiator

7. Earth Bay Gladiator
These ankle height, fashionable gladiator sandals are designed for comfort without compromising on the aesthetic appeal. The unique straps on this shoe are gladiator meets boho chic. Zippered back for easy slip on and off makes up for the lack of adjustable straps on this shoe. The variety of colors and color mixes in this line will make it easy for everyone to find something they like.
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Thoughtful Style
A lot of thought went into the style of this shoe, with their unique boho cuts meets gladiator straps. There are a variety of colors to choose from in the calf leather strapping including funky pairings of color in some styles.

Designed for Comfort
The zipper closure makes it easy to slip in and out of this shoe. Arch support in the insole makes for a comfortable wear all day. The molded insole is also padded with a polyurethane foam cushion.

Cost and Value
These shoes are priced at the low end of the range relative to our other picks. For the price, you get good comfort and great style with a range of colors to suit any wardrobe. The calf leather straps are easy on the top of your foot and the textured outsole will do well on any urban terrain.
Pros
  • Variety of colour
  • Zippered back
  • Molded and padded insole
  • Textured outsole
  • Great price point
Cons
  • Straps are not adjustable
  • Not available in a wide

8. Cobb Hill Gabby-CH

8. Cobb Hill Gabby-CH
True to the gladiator style, these ankle high, leather gladiator sandals from Cobb Hill have thick straps and a lace-up that offers peek-a-boo style for your toes without the thong, while providing full coverage for your foot. A rubber outsole provides for durability and comfort when walking on any urban surface. Available in a range of standard colors but also fashionable blue and red standouts.
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High-Quality Construction
EVA insoles provide a cushion for your feet while a rubber outsole provides durability and grip on wet or slick surfaces. The leather straps aren’t just fashionable, they are durable as well. A rear zipper prevents wear from relacing.

True to the Style
These sandals are true to the gladiator style - low, strappy and laced up to the ankle. The straps are wide to allow your foot to peek through while mid strap stitching adds subtle, arena-ready detail.

Cost and Value
These sandals are priced at the higher end of the range of sandals in our list. Their style makes them suitable almost anywhere with a wide variety of outfits. Made of high quality materials with design elements that prevent early wear, these sandals will last a long time. The rubber outsole and EVA insole will ensure comfort over their life.
Pros
  • High quality materials
  • True to the style
  • Zipper back
  • Simple design
  • Available in multiple widths
Cons
  • Narrow fit even in wides

9. Guilty Shoes Cutout

9. Guilty Shoes Cutout
Stiletto heeled gladiator sandals from Guilty Shoes come in a variety of cutouts from narrow slits to strappy to webbed and a variety of traditional colors from black to browns and tans. There is truly something here for everyone for that night out on the town or for wearing with your favorite pair of jeans. Versatility and fashion come together in this take on the gladiator sandal for a very reasonable price.
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Suede Style
These sandals have a soft suede upper with a variety of cut out styles. Whether you are looking for the look of narrow straps, thick straps, webbed strapping or a more traditional wrapped style, this line will have what you are looking for.

Comfort in a Stiletto
Stiletto shoes are not normally equated with comfort, however, with these 1.25-inch platforms and 4 ½ inch heel, you’re adding almost 6 inches of height without sacrificing stability and comfort that come with a padded insole and solid strap for fitting.

Cost and Value
These sandals are among the least expensive on our list. These stiletto sandals will take you from summer wedding to partying at the club to meeting friends for a day of shopping in casual wear with ease. They are extremely versatile and with a solid platform and insole cushioning, you will be comfortable through the day and night. The fashionable but sturdy ankle strap adds to the stability of this shoe.
Pros
  • Ankle strap
  • Solid platform
  • Suede upper
  • Insole cushioning
  • Fit is true to size
Cons
  • Straps may cause blistering

10. Sam Edelman Eavan

10. Sam Edelman Eavan
With polished dome studs and sturdy leather straps, this Sam Edelman sandal stays true to the gladiator form. With a low heel and synthetic sole, this ankle-height sandal features three buckles for fit and stability. Available in your standards - brown and black these shoes also come in blue and a bright, fun yellow. Sam Edelman shoes are known for youthfulness and style and these sandals won’t disappoint in that area.
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Quality Construction
These sandals are high-quality leather. The reinforced stitching where the straps meet is hidden by the polished dome studs on the straps. Three buckles ensure a secure fit while a synthetic sole makes for a durable wear.

Ancient Style Made Modern
These sandals shout “gladiator” without the need for shields and tridents. The leather straps are high quality and sleek while the domed studs add an ancient, worldly feel to the shoe, which is available in nontraditional colors to match their youthful appeal.

Cost and Value
These are priced at the higher end of the range of sandals on, our list. However, for the price, you are also getting quality workmanship, thoughtful construction, and an aesthetic that is young, chic and modern. These sandals also offer durability and a great fit for a stable feel that will outlast many other similar sandals. These sandals will not disappoint.
Pros
  • High quality materials
  • True to the style
  • Stable fit
  • Durable construction
  • Comfortable and fashionable
Cons
  • Studs may become loose

The gladiator sandal is a timeless classic that has been revitalized in the last few years, as shoemakers and stylists have looked to the ancients for inspiration. There is a reason the shoes worked so well in ancient Greece and Rome, offering the wearer greater support and performance than barefoot or simple sole options.  For reasons that are entirely different than the needs of gladiators and warriors, they still work today. Versatile, attractive, and comfortable, they are perfect for the heat of summer and a modern life.

Our 10 best gladiator sandal list offers a range of sandals that will suit anyone’s tastes, purposes, and preferences this summer. From the lightweight but sturdy hiker/walker that can double as easy beach footwear to the high fashion, rock that party, lace-up or stiletto, gladiator shoes have a versatility and it’s easy to see why so many love them.

Criteria for Evaluating the Best Gladiator Sandals

Criteria Best Gladiator Sandals

Comfort

Sandals are great for summer but if you are planning to wear them for any length of time, you will want a sandal that is secure and supports your feet comfortably. Arch support, adjustable straps to keep the sandal secure, and a properly fitted, cushioning sole are factors you want to consider. In fact, podiatrists suggest that you make comfort a priority when choosing summer footwear.  A thicker sole with a low heel will provide the most shock absorption for your feet. You should look for materials that cushion the feet but also are solid enough to offer good support.

  • Great Material for Cushion + Shock Absorption:
    • Leather
    • Neoprene
    • Memory Foam
    • Cork
  • Sandals:
    You want sandals with a contoured arch as they will provide more support to your arches. Arch support is important because when not supported, the arches become strained and can cause other problems, like plantar fasciitis.
  • Wide Toe Box:
    This will provide the most comfort to your feet, preventing your toes from crowding and giving your toes lots of room to move.
  • Orthotic Arch Supports:
    You will want to find a sandal with a removable footbed. That will leave you room to wear the support and still be ready for summer.
  • Sandals with Laces:
    Those that have laces, especially those that rise up the calf, offer great support, but be sure not to lace the sandal too tight.  Your leg and foot should have good, unrestricted circulation.

Converse Best Gladiator Sandals

Fit

When determining the correct fit for a sandal, your heel should be kept at the back to prevent your foot from sliding back and forth. This prevents blisters by preventing your feet from rubbing up against the straps repeatedly. Your feet may swell a little (or more) while you are walking which can change the way your skin and the straps interact. To test the correct placement, you should walk some distance in the shoe and note where your foot is placed and any spots that may be irritated. It is important to note, podiatrists also suggest that sandals should be slightly larger than enclosed shoes, to allow your feet to swell in the humid, warm weather.  

Your feet need to flex as you walk. Your sandals need to be flexible too. A proper fit will include a sandal that flexes where your foot flexes, at the front in line with the ball, while providing stability to the rest of the foot. Even sandals that are molded to a typical foot still need to flex in the forefoot while you are walking. If you have arthritis or other foot problems, you should avoid any sandal that can flex in half from toe to heel.

If you are going to be walking long distances in your sandals, or hiking, you may want to wear socks. It is important to note, wearing socks with sandals will cause extra heat and should be considered in hot climates. In addition, know any sandal will fit differently on a barefoot and one encased in a sock.

Our feet get larger as we age. They do, I know, it’s so counterintuitive but it’s true. Also, some of us have one foot that is a little larger than the other.  In that case, podiatrists say that you should always fit the larger foot. If you are in doubt, a podiatrist can give you your exact measurements to help ensure a proper fit. Correct measuring will ensure a good fit and should be taken seriously. 

Podiatrists recommend that sandals should match the shape of your foot. The width of your foot should fit onto the sole without spilling over to provide your foot with the right support. The length should also be correct – no toes hanging over the edge and no gaps between the back of your foot and the back of the sandal.  

Traction Best Gladiator Sandals

Traction & Stability

Sandals can be flimsy and hard on your feet. A lack of traction can lead to a fall and a lack of stability can lead to short-term or long-term injuries, pain, and joint problems. It is important, even when eyeing that super sexy gladiator with the laces up to the knees, that you consider how much traction and stability the sandal will offer and the environment you will be wearing them in.

An adjustable strap, with a buckle or Velcro closure, will help to anchor your feet into the correct position on the sandal. This will provide the best stability and support even when the shoe begins to wear. Also look for straps that are wide enough to stop your foot from slipping in the sandal.  Straps that are too thin will not provide sufficient stability. Also, if your sandal has a platform, it should be wide enough to provide solid stability while standing and walking.

Podiatrists say that shoes with rubber soles that provide traction are very good options to prevent accidental injuries.  All shoes should have a textured outsole, as opposed to smooth and flat, as these will provide traction between you and the ground.  Surfaces that are smooth and slippery result too often in sprains and strains in the ankle and knee.

Material Best Gladiator Sandals

Quality of Material

Feet need to breathe and a good summer sandal will allow for airflow and comfortable, dry feet. It is suggested that you avoid jelly type shoes which cause sweaty feet. Choose a gladiator sandal that will give your feet plenty of air while also providing support and stability.  Canvases are very good, breathable options.

  • Soft leathers:
    These will accommodate more swelling than synthetics will.  If you are considering a synthetic sandal, choose one with adjustable straps to accommodate post-walk or end of day foot swelling.
  • Memory Foam:
    This type of material is great for cushioning but if it’s not thick enough or of poor quality, it may collapse under your weight and lose most of its benefit.  Cork is also a great cushion for your feet if it’s well made. Flimsy or cork layers that are too thin will quickly lose their ability to provide comfort.

Also look for secure adjustment mechanisms like velcro, buckles or straps that do not stretch too readily under pressure. Leathers stretch but are usually strong enough not to stretch too easily. Canvases also provide stretch, though a little less than leathers.  In the end, looking for higher quality materials is going to provide you with a longer lasting, better fitting shoe that is healthier for your feet.

FAQ Best Gladiator Sandals

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there other things I should consider when buying a gladiator sandal?
A: Absolutely!  Their purpose is an important factor to consider when buying a sandal. Do you want a hiker?  A walker? Something comfortable for the beach? Something a little more formal for that summer wedding you’re attending. The purpose for the sandal will likely be your first consideration. After determining the purpose and the corresponding style, you should still consider comfort, fit, traction, quality, stability, and durability to give you the very best experience.

Q: What sandals are most appropriate for work?
A: That will depend on where you work. Construction workers, heavy equipment operators, and those that shovel iron into burning ovens should probably avoid sandals altogether. All kidding aside though, some employers frown upon open-toed sandals at work and either bans them or require a closed toe. You should speak with your employer to be sure that your gladiator sandal purchase will fit with your employer’s policies.

Q: I love my sandals but I wore them a little tight and they gave me a blister. Should I pop it?
A: The Mayo Clinic suggests that if the blister isn’t very painful you should try to let it be. The skin over the blister acts as a bandage to prevent infection. Put a bandage on it to cover it and let it heal. If it looks infected, get advice from your doctor, especially if you have diabetes or circulation problems. If the blister is painful and not infected, you can drain it but you still want to leave the skin intact. Here’s how.

  1. Wash your hands and wash the blister with some warm water and soap.
  2. Sterilize a sharp needle by wiping it several times with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Swab a little iodine on the blister and then puncture it with the needle near the edge in several spots.
  4. Let the fluid drain out but don’t press down to force it out.
  5. Cover the blister with a bandage and keep it clean.   

Q: I have high arches. The straps and laces leave red marks on the tops of my feet is there anything I can do?
A: It’s recommended that if you have very high arches and are wearing a lace up, you can lace your shoes to the sides near the center top of your foot to prevent pressure from building there. What you may lose in stability, you will gain in comfort. For some gladiator sandals, you will be able to do this. Look for a sandal that laces rather than one with only straps. The lace loops should be close enough together to provide support on your forefoot and around the ankle without interfering with the arch.

Q: I have a wide foot.  How will I know if sandals I purchase online are going to fit me?
A: Most manufacturers will provide the dimensions of their shoes for one particular size.  If you are in doubt, it is a good idea to read all the reviews that you can for the sandals that you are considering.  Often, someone will have offered information for people with wider feet. Or, in some cases, you will be able to post a question that the manufacturer or other questions can answer about the fitting for a wider foot.  


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