Hopefully you’ve gotten your first pedicure of the new year, because it’s time to put away your closed-toe shoes and break out the sandals! Your closet should already have the two warm-weather
classics: a pair of simple leather flip flops and a bright, feminine pair of peep-toe slingbacks. This year, your big addition should be the tough, brazen gladiator sandals.

The gladiator sandal imitates the Roman-warrior uniform of its name, with a flat sole and leather straps over the foot and around the ankle. The ankle straps can reach all the way up the leg to the knee. Gladiator sandals can be completely granola and earthy, in deep-brown leather like Jeffrey Campbell’s Akira 2 style, accented with colorful beaded leather discs ($79.95 at But this year, gladiator sandals are incredibly luxe in metallics and animal skins like python. My faves are the Sam Edelman Gilda sandals in silver snakeskin ($84.95 also at

Ankle straps can cut the leg in an unflattering way, so these shoes are best worn with floating skirts or dresses that show lots of skin. Skinny jeans and a trapeze top would work as well with lower styles. Either way, enjoy a modern take on this ancient footwear.

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