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Knee High Gladiator Sandals For Women - My Favorite Types Of Roman Sandals

Updated on January 15, 2014

KHG Sandals Are One Of The Most Popular Footwear Trends Today

So what's this fascination with the knee high gladiator sandals that women (and men) love to wear anyway? Well, if you've watched any recent fashion news, you might have seen more than one superstar wearing them - and I mean names like Anne Hathaway, Rita Ora, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez - need I give more names?

And you know how it goes - even if something is not overly popular or exciting, as soon as a well known diva is seen on the red carpet with The Pair, everyone immediately assumes that it's indeed the thing to wear today, which indeed makes The Pair the thing to be worn this summer.

And indeed for 2013 gladiator sandals - especially the knee high ones - are what one should wear if they care about fashion even a bit.

Shown in the image above: This is how a pair of knee high open toe strappy gladiator sandal heels looks like, in case you were not quite sure what exactly I'm talking about.

Does the pair above remind you in a loose sense of something from the movie Gladiator? Then you are quite right, and below I will tell you all about the history of these sandals - it's quite exciting.

gladiator women sandals
gladiator women sandals

From Gladiators....To This Fashion Statement

Can you see how much the style remained the same, yet how much it evolved? From comfort during fights to a true fashion statement that make legs really stand out. This pair is probably one of my most favorites when it comes to the knee high sandals in the gladiator style.

You can find this pair in black and in gold, but personally black is my very favorite - whether on white skin or on tanned skin it all looks great, especially if you have a pretty dress or a lovely mini skirt (or even shorts) that beg to be worn with something that stands out on the calves.

This pair is 100% handmade, with an open toe front, with pretty lace as closure zipper on the back for easy take off / take on. Just beautiful, don't you think?

Where Do The Gladiator Sandals Come From Anyway?

gladiators wearing sandals in ancient times
gladiators wearing sandals in ancient times

The knee high gladiator (also called KHG) sandals have indeed a very long history - maybe longer than many other types of footwear. They go back right to the Roman empire where gladiators wore in during their battles. Gladiators were prisoners for wars for Romans who made them slaves, sold them to the highest bidder and then trained them to become fierce fighters.

There were also the gladiators that were in fact doing it for money and fame, of their own free will, but regardless of why one became this type of warrior, the sandals were very useful because first of all they were extremely lightweight on the body, which helped with being agile and fast on the toes during fights. The second reason for wearing these types of knee high footwear is because they fastened extremely securely, much more so that other types of sandals or shoes that would not encumber the fighter during the training or the actual encounter.

In the modern times, these types of sandals really became popular once the movie Gladiator with Russel Crowe came out and became an instant hit (also making Russel Crowe the popular actor he is now). Of course, these sandals were for men, but do you think anything stopped women from making them popular fashion accessories for them? Noway.

In fact back in 2008 Gwyneth Paltrow was the first start to be seen wearing such a pair in the open. Soon after more stars and superstarts were caught wearing them, and well, it didn't take long until the masses also caught on when the manufacturers started to produce them in higher quantities, a larger selection and a wide variety of colors and designs, sensing a new trend to become really explosive really soon.

And the history.

Image credits: Creative Commons

Russel Crowe In The Movie Gladiator - Wearing this particular footwear in the arena

Funtasma Women's Gladiator Sandals - If you go for this trend, then at least do it with style

First of all, let me tell you that this type of footwear doesn't really look good on anyone. In my opinion it makes the legs look less feminine and you really need guts to pull it off. But it can be done, especially if you wear high quality sandals that are made in an elegant way. Trust me, I've seen some that I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to wear.

So just because you see loads of these in shops (online or retail stores), it doesn't mean that you shouldn't look for something that will make your features stand out rather than looking like you're the poorest of the bunch.

Funtasma by Pleaser Women's Gladiator-208/B Boot
Funtasma by Pleaser Women's Gladiator-208/B Boot

This particular pair I actually like. It's elegant, it has nice soft curves, and while the ancient sandals were all flat, here you can see the high heel version that is great for legs that can wear it.

You can find this pair in all sizes, and the upper area is man made. They are made in synthetic material, not leather, but then again the price is adjusted to this, it is not expensive at all. Perfect for that day out, that night out or any time you want to stand out and impress your peers.

Funtasma Women's Gladiator-208/T
Funtasma Women's Gladiator-208/T

Here is another rather flattering pair, this time in light brown/cream color that easily integrates itself with the overall clothes without standing out on their own. It's actually a very elegant pair.


Tips To Wear Your KHG Sandals

The knee high version is just one of the many styles that you can find today, however it seems that this type is the most commonly worn one. However it's not the easiest to wear. If you wear ankle high ones, you can wear them with jeans or any other trousers, regardless whether they are high heels or flats, but the those that touch the knees, well that's another story altogether.

So how do you wear your KHG sandals?

You wear them with dresses or skirts that are either mini or end a bit above your knees. Of course shorts go also very well with this type of footwear. They wear best if the knees are not overly bony, but the legs shouldn't be very thick either.

If you are shorter, the good thing about wearing these is that they make the legs seem taller.

When choosing your outfit for the gladiator footwear, don't make your clothes compete with the shoes. Make them less extravagant, and let the shoes stand out. Afteral that's what you want to focus on anyway, since they are a fashion statement, not simply a pair of sandals.

So go for bright colored sandals and rather bland ones for clothes. Unless of course you want to make them part of your overall outfit, in which case a simple black, white or cream pair is the best.

You Can Pull It Off Wearing Them With A Long Dress

As this video shows, while it is not overly popular, you CAN actually wear these sandals with a long skirt or dress, and Rocker Boho shows you exactly what to wear and what to do to make the whole outfit a success.

Rubie's Costume Goddess Sandals

For something less typical, here is a pair that will really show off your elegant legs. It is not full of material, but it leaves the legs and feel to be the center of attention. While the title says they are costume sandals, they're perfectly wearable for regular occasions with regular clothes as well, so don't mind what the manufacturer says that they should be. Off for an evening out dancing? Wear them and draw all the eyes to your calves!

Secret Wishes Goddess Costume Sandals
Secret Wishes Goddess Costume Sandals

Adorable pair that makes the legs look even better. The material is faux gold leather, hence the lower price. Very comfy to wear - some people might have to punch another hole at the top for better fit, but that's easily done. A great pair that can be worn for many occasions, not only for parties and costume events.


Looking For More Styles?

Here are a few more gladiator sandals in the knee high design in different colors and particular styles. Not everyone likes the very same style, so if you want something different the ones below might just fit the bill where the previous ones didn't.

wearing shorter gladiator sandals
wearing shorter gladiator sandals

More Tips On Wearing Your Roman Sandals

So are the knee high sandals the best ones for you to wear? What if you can still stick to the style, but with a different size, such an ankle, or mid-calf, which will be much better for your body type?

For short legs and rather full legs, the ankle style will be much better suited, especially with a skin tone color pair of sandals.

If you want to avoid bringing too much attention to your legs, while still wanting to follow this particular trend, as I mentioned more above, avoid bright colors and overly complex designs. Stick with a single color (skin type, black, cream color, etc) and with less detail overall.

The knee-high sandals are perfect for taller girls with long and slim legs. For slim ankles, choose ones with thinner straps without too much detail. Larger straps work perfectly for long legs. For thicker ankles, choose instead wider straps.

If you're a person who loves to wear trousers, while this type of footwear does go better with dresses and skirts, you can wear them if you roll up the pants a bit so the shoes do show off, even if not fully.

Image credits: Creative Commons Flickr

Check Out The Various Sizes Of Gladiator Sandals Worn At Fashion Shows - From knee high to only ankle high, everything goes

And see what clothes are popularly worn (at least by the models) with each of this pair of footwear.

Other Sizes of Gladiator Sandals - In Case You Decide Knee High Is Just Not For You

It might be that while your eyes initially stopped at the KHG sandals, that you now realize that shorter ones are better for you. It really depends on your body type, how long your legs us, how wide, full, etc. So here are a few carefully chosen styles and sizes that could fit different types of persons. They are all elegant and recommended by others who actually bought them.

Can You See Yourself Wearing This Type Of Footwear?

Can You See Yourself Wearing This Type Of Footwear?

See results

Which Of The KHG Pair Above Would Look Best When Worn?

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    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      I would definitely go for the ones with low heels. These are so cute, I have never seen anything like them. Pinned to my shoes board and out by FB.

    • gina1209 profile image

      Gina Valley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Wow those are so awesome! I love the knee high ones!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      5 years ago from Europe

      I like the fashion statement knee highs, I can't get along with heels but that black floral twist on the style looks great.


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