What makes a gladiator a gladiator? There’s working full time for Olivia Pope, and then there’s the ankle-to-knee bands of black leather resting on Elle Macpherson’s tub (Paul Andrew’s craftsmanship, if you’re curious). All Scandal jokes aside (it’s just too easy, guys), sandals worthy of a Shonda Rhimes spinoff will probably be inescapable for the next several months, thanks to the likes of Chloe and Valentino, so maybe it’s best to just lean into the trend. Now, if you’re thinking: A) I’m no runway model (and those straps look like they’re inching mighty high up the calf) and/or B) Those shoes sound expensive, that’s OK. We’re with you, and we’ve found some options that can appeal to many a style sensibility. Thumbs up (but disregard the historical meaning).
1. Tomas Maier Leather Sandals: If you enjoy long walks on the beach and simple, easy-fitting clothing, you’re going to want everything from Tomas Maier’s line (or from his side gig, being creative director at Bottega Veneta). These sandals are pretty much perfect—they sit low on the leg and leave your heel free, so walking is comfortable.
2. Ancient Greek Sandals Ikaria Metallic Leather Wing Sandals: For those who want to approach humid, 90-degree days on the subway with a sense of humor and the perseverance of Russell Crowe.
3. Zara Leather Gladiator Sandals: This shoe might not look overly exciting right now, but when you see Anja Rubik’s After Dark in a few weeks, I guarantee you’ll be on board. It may not be Valentino, but….
4. Proenza Schouler Studded Gladiator Sandals: Welcome to the glam side of the spectrum. A heel, studs, and being at least 50-percent off make this a good bet for summer nights out and about.
5. Freda Salvador Fly Gladiator Sandals: For your inner hippie—or not. This fringe is removable, so you can have it both ways.
Image of Chloe S/S 2015 Runway via Getty.