9 Fresh Ways to Wear Gladiator Sandals in 2023

The strappy style has reentered the fashion arena.

A woman wears gladiator sandals in Paris

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If the mere mention of the words “gladiator sandals” sends you spiraling into a mid-aughts fashion wormhole, rest assured your are not alone. The lace up or “caged’ style of sandal has ebbed in and out of style since the 1960s and ‘70s, when global fashion stars like Sophia Loren and Jackie O. wore the extremely strappy sandals along with the short hemlines and boho style that colored the era. And, in true form, the gladiator sandal has already cycled back into our wardrobes, promising to be one of the most popular footwear trends of 2023. 

From simple lace-up styles to embellished high-heeled versions, gladiators have been spotted everywhere from runways to red carpets in the past few months alone. But assuming that most of us who plan to purchase new gladiator sandals this year are not going to be wearing them in a battle to the death, it’s important to consider how to wear this iconic footwear style in the modern era. Fortunately, there are several styles of gladiator sandals from which to choose. Ahead, take a look at how celebs and street stytle stars are sporting the trend, for all of your some summer ‘23 outfit inspo. 

With All of the Metallics

A guest is seen wearing cropped golden white top, skirt, laced outside during Paris Fashion Week

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High heel gladiator sandals were basically made for evening and summer celebrations. Think of them as an elevated, slightly more complicated strappy sandal; they’ll instantly elevate any outfit. Shop Similar: Cult Gaia Kacey Metallic Ankle-Coil Sandals ($298)

In an Unexpected Shade

A woman in a white dress and white sandals

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We love metallics, black, and brown, but a strappy white sandal is an underrated choice during summer. Team it with an airy white dress, and you've got a look worthy of any daytime event. Shop Similar: BCBGeneration Marxa Sandal ($109)

With an LBD

Emily Ratajkowski in a LBD and black gladiators

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There's something inherently sexy about both an LBD and a gladiator sandal. Leave it to Emily Ratajkowski to pair them together for maximum appeal. Shop Similar: Steve Madden Khari Heeled Sandal ($70)

As a Laid-Back Espadrille

A woman in a suede jacket and espadrille gladiators

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The hybrid gladiator-espadrille sandal landed on our radar during fashion weeks in in Paris, Milan, and London. Swap these in for your worn-out flip flops and instantly look 10 times more polished; we’re can totally see it becoming the It shoe of the summer. Shop Similar: Alohas Black Leather Espadrilles ($119)

With Elegant Neutrals

A woman in a cream dress and espadrilles

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The espadrille is low-key by nature; pair it with similarly muted colors for a look that feels of-the-moment but also timeless. Shop Similar: Amazon Lace-Up Hemp Sandals ($60)

Laced All the Way Up

A woman in a LBD and studded gladiators

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No one said wearing gladiators would always be easy. This pair is a puzzle to put on, but the wow factor is worth it; pairing them with a relatively simply black dress and minimal accessories is the move to keep the focus on the shoes. Shop Similar: Lala Ikai Lace-Up Strappy Flat Sandals ($36)

With a Micro Mini

Simone Ashley in a mini dress and gladiators

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Flats, but make ‘em fancy, right? We’re all in on simple gladiator sandals with eye-catching laces. This style look just as good with ripped jean shorts as it does with a mini dress, as seen on Simone Ashley here, and help make your legs look extra long. Shop Similar: Jeffrey Campbell Ophelia Studded Wrap Sandals ($168)

Dress Down a Blazer

A woman in a pink blazer and gladiators

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If you purchase just one pair of gladiator sandals this year, make it the classic, strappy style. Less trendy than some of the other styles on this list, a simple pair of gladiator sandals are all but guaranteed to stand the test of time. As a bonus, they go with just about everything, including a business casual look like this one. Shop Similar: Marc Fisher LTD Monnie Caged Ankle-Wrap Flat Sandals ($130)

With a Maxi

A woman in a maxi dress and gladiators

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A maxidress is a summer staple, but figuring out the right shoe to wear with one is somehow harder than it needs to be. Gladiators to the rescue: We love the juxtaposition of the leather sandals with the gauzy hem. Shop Similar: Anthropologie Tie-Up Gladiator Sandals ($110)

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