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Gladiator Sandals. Why Are They Still ‘in’?
It has been three years and the power of the gladiator is stronger than ever. Sandals or flip-flops are necessary hot weather footwear. So why is it that in the past few years the gladiator has managed to dominate so thoroughly?
 guinevere   30 Jul 2008 14:28
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Aargh, I scream. First of all: bad tan lines. Enough said. Secondly: they’re nice, fine, nothing wrong with them, but when did they graduate from ubiquitous to mandatory and the be-all-and-end-all? Fashion ceases to be fun or exciting when magazines and shops simply tell you what to wear. Where’s the sense of adventure? Mix and match? Vintage pieces mixed with designer mixed with high street mixed with jumble sale? The joy of fashion is not to pick up your fashion magazine of choice, find a ‘look’ you like, and run out to the high street to purchase each item required. The joy is in the discovery. Expressing your personality through the choices you make. Heels or flats. Short skirt or long. Skinny or flared jeans. Stripes, spots, or tartan. Mixed prints or careful and complimentary co-ordination. Belt or no belt. Chain accessories or butterflies. No one person’s ‘look’ should be exactly like another’s: Reminiscent, maybe, but not an imitation.

Why must all our feet look identically gladiatorally-clad as we all march to our own drums? Any non-gladiator footwear is considered passé and gauche. The Top 10 lists are devoted to the gladiator and nothing but.
Sure the gladiator has made such a splash this year that they come in at least a few dozen incarnations such as wedge, knee-high, bejewelled, rope, ‘blush’ suede but is this what is meant by diversity? Surely not! These are seriously cute and what about these? Then there is also these or perhaps these. It bears remarking that for every non-gladiator styled sandal I found whilst ‘researching’, I found about 12 gladiators.

Contrast is good. Pairing a flirty chiffon piece with gladiators gives a girly piece a more up-to-date edginess. Fair enough. One has to beware looking like a Gwyneth Paltrow clone however after her Iron Man premieres look kind of ruined the look for anyone else (and even Gwynie should be wary of repeating this look now but I suspect she can afford to buy some new clobber). But let’s remember we are all individuals, not fashion clones identified by the nuances of our gladiators.

What would happen if, for example, only one style of skirt were ‘in’ next season? Those of us shopping for sandals this year know all too well how the high street is a slave to the trend: most shops stock 6 variations on the gladiator to choose from and maybe one other lonely little ‘other’ sandal. Woe is us if the ‘other’ wasn’t to our liking and off we trot to the next shop, if we can be bothered. In fact, I’m willing to share a little personal detail here. So strong is my dislike for the gladiator sandal’s unrivalled popularity that I refused to buy a pair this year. My old sandals finally walked their last mile last year and I had looked forward all winter to replacing them this summer. But faced with little choice, I finally buckled: my feet were hot, oh so hot, and I just couldn’t take the closed shoes any longer so I bought a pair of cheap, generic… flip-flops. They are neither fashionable nor particularly comfortable. They are convenient but they will not catch anyone’s eye nor will they compliment any outfit. Ever. But, they are not gladiators.

So, why is the gladiator sandal any different from the, say, pencil skirt? We’ve certainly never endured a fashion season where only one type of skirt was available or considered fashionable. Of course there have been trends to short or long; full or fitted styles, but even in years when Vogue has declared: ‘It’s the year of the pencil skirt’, we have still had choice and we have still witnessed the majority of women happy to flaunt their non-pencil skirts. The gladiator is a warrior http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladiator , that’s why. The other sandals are fearful. They cower in submission. They are meeker than the ballet flat. Less full of self-humour than the platform. And thus the reign of the gladiator has continued.

It is time for revolt and the masses, yes, you, are going to have to rise up together. A united force for summer footwear options! I know I’m not the only one. I have seen you, my sisters, out there on the high street with furrowed brow and last year’s tatty sandals. You carry bags: you have updated the other ruined pieces of your 2007 summer wardrobe. You have! I know this because you are wearing them now. Your nautical look is up-to-date: you wear navy and cream stripes, not black and white. Your Ray-Bans are now comical red or white having replaced last season’s black Wayfarers. Your city shorts are now insanely short jean shorts – with skinny roll-up, of course. And finally, your florals are both pretty and edgy… You are all about 2008… minus the gladiator. Sure, some of you have succumbed; lured primarily by all the celebrity magazine covers that have led you to believe there is no other option. And it is for you too that I sound the alarm. It is time. It is time to tell the fashion police that we are not going to follow the rest of the gladiator sandaled herd off the fashion cliff to a watery grave.
 We still use them in honor of the past gladiators that have bravely fallen in the arena so many centuries ago.
by  verum
 16 Aug 2010 03:18
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