Though the silhouette may reach way, way back in time, you'd be remiss to think of the gladiator sandal as old news. Along with classic iterations, the
best gladiator sandals update the iconic, century-spanning design with details like braided straps, chunky soles, stud embellishments, and bold colors in unexpected materials.
The gladiator sandal has its roots in Ancient Rome, where it was initially developed as a boot-adjacent shoe
intended solely to protect the foot. Over the centuries, it's morphed into a sartorial staple, with new styles popping up every season. What has remained the same, however, is the basic design: A structured, strappy silhouette that fastens at the ankle with either buckles or laces (and sometimes, as you'll see below, with an added back zipper for convenience). From there, you can choose from a slew of design details that really cater to your personal style.
The biggest differentiator among gladiator sandals is shaft height. Many pairs hit just under the ankle, but there are plenty that lace up to mid-calf or even knee-high. Lace-up styles also present an opportunity to bring this style firmly into the modern day — for instance,
wrapping the laces over the ankles of your pants for an editorial touch. Though the same can be said for heel height, too, with options ranging from fully flat to sky-high stiletto to ultra-modern platforms. Lastly, you'll want to consider textile. Most gladiator sandals are made of leather or a high-quality imitation, though you can also find pairs made from stretchy elastic, '90s-style clear plastic, or faux suede.
Scroll on to shop 13 of the
best gladiator sandals you can get on Amazon, from hippie-chic flats to edgy Dr. Martens and beyond. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team. 01
These Classic Flat Gladiator Sandals
faux-leather sandals are the quintessential gladiator style thanks to their caged straps and flat soles, but the buckled ankle straps offer a more secure fit than ties. They're also outfitted with concealed elastic panels for an extra-comfortable fit, as well as back zips and lightly padded footbeds. The nonslip rubber soles are a thoughtful touch, too. Get them in classic neutrals, like the camel hue pictured above, as well as metallic gold or silver. Available sizes: 6 — 11 Available colors: 6 02
Some Knee-High, Flat Gladiator Sandals With A Crisscross Front
The gladiator silhouette reaches new heights with these
knee-high sandals. Made from a laser-cut synthetic leather, these feature crisscrossing front laces that you can tighten and tie yourself, but a zipper down the back makes them much easier to slip into and out of than you may expect. While this style may seem challenging to incorporate into an outfit, you can't go wrong pairing them with a chambray dress, a mini skirt, or cutoff jean shorts. Keep accessories to a minimum and let these showstoppers be the centerpiece of your outfit. Available sizes: 5 — 11 Available colors: 4 03
These Gladiator Sandals With An Ultra-Low Wedge
The ultra-low, 3/4-inch wedges on these
faux-leather gladiator sandals offer a unique twist on an otherwise classic style, while the braided, crisscross straps and thong toe make these suitable for both day and night. The padded insoles and back zipper make these feel comfortable and durable, too, as confirmed by rave Amazon reviewers. "I've been wearing them all day long, about five days a week," one customer reported. "I love these shoes. They are comfortable, sturdy, and fashionable. I barely wear any other shoes anymore!" Choose from plenty of shades, including neutrals, two-tone options, and metallics. Available sizes: 6 — 11 Available colors: 11 04
These Cool, Lug-Sole Flatforms For A Modern Take On The Style
With a 2-inch, lug-sole platform and shoelace-style ankle laces, these
sandals from Dr. Martens are undoubtedly one of the coolest takes on gladiator sandals you'll find. They're designed with a few of the brand's calling cards, like their comfortable "bouncing soles," iconic yellow stitching, and 100% leather construction, but they're much lighter-weight than their combat boots. Best of all, they add an instant edge to any warm-weather look, whether you're rocking them with jeans, bike shorts, summer dresses, and more. Snag them in classic black, or make a statement in crisp white. Available sizes: 5 — 11 Available colors: 2 05
A Pair Of Gladiator Sandals With A Tough, Chunky Heel
gladiator sandals flip the switch on your typical summer sandal thanks to their chunky, 3-inch heel and tough lug soles. The lug soles also give these sandals some grip, so they're relatively easy to walk in, too. The white straps pictured above offer a graphic contrast with the black soles (and it's embossed with a subtle crocodile design), but you can also get them in brown faux leather, black faux suede, or camo-print canvas. Available sizes: 5 — 11 Available colors: 4 06
These Lace-Up Birkenstock Sandals
If you're obsessed with your Birkenstock slides, consider adding these
gladiator-style Birks to your sandal collection. Harkening back to those iconic slides, this pair also features the label's signature cork footbed that molds to your foot over time, suede lining, and rich leather construction. And, as you'd expect, they're so comfortable.
"Love love love the gladiator sandals!" wrote one Amazon reviewer. "I have been hoping a good brand like Birkenstock would make this style with the known support and comfort you get with them [...] I practically live in them in the summer! So cute, comfy, stylish and practical!"
Available sizes: 5-5.5 Narrow — 10-10.5 Narrow Available colors: 5 07
These Lace-Up Sandals At An Unbeatable Price
With a look that borders on minimalist, these flat
gladiator sandals are a super accessible way to try the trend — both in look and price. The faux-suede, caged upper is reminiscent of a slide sandal, while the self-tie ankle straps allow you to style them however you want. At such an affordable price, you may want to collect these in multiple colors — choose from camel, cherry red, black, white, or hunter green (shown here). Available sizes: 5 — 11 Available colors: 5 08
These Comfortable Gladiator Wedges With Cork Soles
Equal parts gladiator sandal, ankle bootie, and wedge,
these sandals will become a welcome addition to your warm-weather wardrobe. Their caged upper is made of genuine leather (hence their slightly elevated price point), and feature stretchy ankle straps, an ultra-subtle Velcro closure, and back zipper for ease. The cork sole adds major style points, while a lightly padded insole brings extra comfort to the 2.5-inch wedge.
"These are the most comfortable wedge shoes I have ever worn," confirmed one reviewer. "I will always prefer flat sandals but I wanted cute summer sandals for an event and these delivered! [...] I swear this is probably best well-crafted, great quality shoe I have ever worn."
Available sizes: 5 — 11 (available in wide sizes) Available colors: 4 09
These Gorgeous Golden Heels With Lace-Up Gladiator Straps
not to make a statement in these gladiator stilettos, whose heel hits just under 4.5 inches. Made from a vegan-friendly faux leather, these feature crisscross laces that wrap around your leg and can be styled in so many ways, whether bunched around your ankles or stretched to just beneath your knees. The gleaming gold linked here is so glam, but you can also get them in black, white, or canary yellow. Available sizes: 5 — 15 Available colors: 4 10
A Pair Of Studded Gladiator Sandals That Look So Edgy
If you've ever found yourself swooning over Valentino's Rockstud collection, consider these
gladiator sandals from Steve Madden as a budget-friendly way to get the look. Featuring a 1/2-inch heel, three top straps, and an adjustable slingback ankle, they're embellished in edgy pyramid studs and available in several materials and shades — like PVC (featured here), faux leather, and raffia. Though if you a prefer a softer look, you can opt for a pair with rhinestone or faux-pearl embellishments, instead. With over 2,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, these sandals are a serious fan favorite: One shopper raved that they're "even more beautiful in person," and another described them as "absolutely stunning." Available sizes: 5 — 11 Available colors: 11 11
These Gladiator Sandals With Arch Support
You may not immediately think "walking shoe" when you picture a gladiator sandal, but that's exactly what
this pair is designed for. They're built with concealed orthotic arch support that's covered with a soft, microfiber footbed to cradle your foot in comfort, while five, fully adjustable hook-and-loop straps let you customize the fit. Note that a few of the available styles are made of genuine leather (including the pair pictured above), but you can also get them in a reptile-print faux leather or cork.
Several Amazon reviewers noted that they're comfortable for traveling or walking all day long, too. One reviewer, who bought these for a walking trip in Italy, reported: "I have plantar fasciitis and was worried about my being able to keep up without pain. I ended up wearing these sandals the entire trip [...] Once we settled into a more normal routine (10,000 steps or so a day) [...] I had no more pain and the sandals were so comfortable. After 10 days in Europe and lots of wearing the rest of summer, they still look brand new."
Available sizes: 5 — 11 (available in wide sizes) Available colors: 6 12
These Sleek Gladiator Sandals That Come In So Many Fun Colors
sporty-yet-sleek sandals are backed by thousands of glowing reviews, thanks to their comfortable fit and wide range of fun colors, like army green, bright red, and the cobalt blue pictured above. (In fact, one shopper loved them so much they "went back and bought every color they come in.") They're designed with stretchy, crisscross straps that conform to your foot, while back zips, slip-resistant soles, 1-inch wedges, and cushioned insoles make them worthy of wearing all day, every day. Available sizes: 5 — 11 Available colors: 9 13
A Pair Of Block-Heeled Sandals With Chic Ankle Laces
For a softer take on the tough gladiator sandal, consider these
lace-up heels. Made of plush, faux suede, these feature an intricate, knotted design and ankle-tied straps for a romantic yet modern interpretation of the style. The chunky heel and bouncy, padded insole makes these surprisingly comfortable, too. The blush-nude shade pictured here would pair well with anything white and floaty (can't you just see it with an eyelet summer dress?), but this style is also available in edgier shades like leopard print and fire-engine red. Available sizes: 5 — 11 Available colors: 5