Extreme Gladiator Shoes

Though gladiator shoes have long been a staple of outdoor music festivals and casual summer dressing, this season designers are elevating the trend to new heights (quite literally) with an assortment of sleek, knee-grazing styles. Paired with everything from tailored dresses to barely-there skirts, these bondage-influenced sandals and heels took center stage on the spring runways, bringing new meaning to the term “statement shoes.” While the look may be intimidating for everyday scenarios, we’re here to prove that when styled with the right pieces, the outcome is not only polished and sophisticated, but also appropriate for a slew of occasions too.

On The Runways
?At Altuzarra, extreme leather cage shoes--namely the Dark Brown Knee High Gladiator Boots ($2715)--were a striking accompaniment to the designer’s workwear-inspired pieces, giving tailored looks, like the Nina Sleeveless Shirt Day Dress with White Deco Print Skirt ($1495) a fetishistic finish. Meanwhile, Acne Studio’s chunky, to-the-knee Aurelia High Sandals ($1150, the brand’s Salma High Sandals are a similar style) in White served as the perfect contrast to the spring collection’s more feminine Valerie Top ($1350) and skirt with center slit.

Our Look
?For a gladiator-centric look that’s chic and a bit more formal, tailored pieces and minimal accessories are key. Grab Stuart Weitzman’s Gladiator Sandals ($398), which have a comfortable, low heel and hit just below the knee. To create a flattering, streamlined silhouette on top, tuck Steven Alan’s Crossover Shirt ($178) into Maje’s Tweed Mini Skirt ($260). (Note: the collared shirt helps balance the leggy skirt-and-sandal combo, keeping your look refined and pulled-together.) Make sure your gladiators are the accessory focal point of your outfit by picking a bag that’s simple in design and understated in colour, like Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent’s Coachella Cross Body Bag ($99), and slipping on a few of Fay Andrada’s Suippo Bracelets ($115) in Brass for a luxe touch. The resulting look will take you from Saturday afternoon errands to an outdoor dinner with friends.