What are the Best Gladiator Heels for 2021?

What are the Best Gladiator Heels for 2021?

Are Gladiator Heels in Style?

Gladiator heels are one of the most iconic footwear pieces to ever come out. In fact, this style spans thousands of years worth of history, yet remains a timeless classic to this day. What started as a purely utilitarian piece has become one of the most stylish and fashionable footwear to date. Recently, it has once again experienced a resurgence thanks to its distinct look and versatility. This trend started in 2019 and is expected to carry on towards 2021. 

In this article, we break down what makes this aged-old piece so popular thousands of years since it first made its entrance. We also list our top tips in styling so you can start rocking these bad boys. If all this sounds good, keep on reading.

What are Gladiator Heels, Exactly?

A gladiator heel is a kind of footwear that is known for its distinct look of straps or strings paired with high heels. They are offshoots from the traditional gladiator sandals worn in ancient Greece and Rome. The footwear is part of a larger family of footwear types with varying looks, materials, and functions.

Though named after the ancient Roman equivalent of combat sports athletes, this type of footwear was widely used by both Greek and Roman citizens alike. The sandals were usually made from leather both for the sole and the straps, though sandals from plant-based fibers can be found too. Back then, these sandals were regarded as status symbols. High-born women were said to be followed by an entourage of maidservants bringing with them several pairs of footwear to match any situation or event. That sounds ideal to us! 

The style fell into obscurity as newer shoe types came to be. It wasn’t until the 1960s that we saw its reemergence into public consciousness. During the time, fashion was influenced by the Space Age and the aesthetic of Futurisms. Miniskirts were all the rage which means more exposed legs. The designers turned to classical influences to draw inspiration giving birth to the modern gladiator high heels we see today.

What are the Best Styles of Gladiator Heels?

Though traditionally flat, the modern incarnation of the gladiator sandals come in various types and forms. Material choices have also increased, offering even more variety to choose from. Generally, however, they all share a similar feature of straps or laces that wrap around the leg or ankles to keep the shoes secure. Below are the categories that define what gladiator sandals are

Flat vs High Heeled Gladiator Sandals

Gladiator sandals can either come in flat or high heeled variants. Flat heeled models stay true to the sandal’s traditional sensibilities. They are the preferred type by people who like something comfortable and easy on the feet. Perfect for running errands or at the beach. 

The high-heeled version, like the Rancho Cucamonga from Lyon Cherie, is a modern take on this timeless classic. It started during the sixties and has since stayed ever since. The heels can be big and chunky heels or slender stilettos. These stylish pieces are perfect if you want a classic and sophisticated look.

High Cut vs Low Cut Gladiator Heels

Another defining characteristic is the height of the straps. Generally, they come as high up as the knees or thighs, as low as the ankles, or somewhere in between. High cut gladiator heels are definite eye-catchers. They are flashy and generally made to call attention. 

Meanwhile, low cut gladiator sandals⁠—like Lyon Cherie’s Mundelein⁠—are more subdued and less flashy. They are relatively easier to wear too as the straps or laces are much shorter. These are great for days when you just need a good pair of sandals to wear that’s less fussy and hassle-free.

Zipped vs Laced vs Strappy Gladiator Heels

Finally, gladiator heels can come in three types when it comes to securing the feet: strappy, laced, or zipped. Laces are the traditional way to secure gladiator sandals. They are usually tied behind the knees securely but without restricting movement. Straps are used together with buckles much like belts. Zippers came later than the previous two. They are easier to wear and remove and are widely available. There are no great differences among the three and choices usually boil down to personal preference.

What to Wear With Gladiator Heels in 2021

Summer 2021 will be the best time to rock these awesome and stylish pieces. Their airy feel and striking aesthetics pair perfectly with everything Summer. To give you some inspiration on how to make the most out of your pairs, here are a few of our suggestions:

Dresses and Skirts

Dresses and gladiator heels are the perfect match. In fact, this has been the staple combo since ancient Greece! Sundresses and other loose and flowy summer dresses give a delightful contrast to the tight and structured look of either strapped or laced up heels. Mini and above the knee dresses paired with Lyon Cherie’s Fort Pierce will bring out your inner Amazon warrior. Likewise, what looks awesome with a dress would also look awesome with a skirt.


Traditionally feminine choices aren’t the only ones that work well with these bad boys. The previous year saw the rise of jeans and high heeled gladiator sandals combo. This trend will continue well into 2021 and is still a great option to spice up your wardrobe. Your regular blue jeans paired with low cut gladiator heels like the Largo Bardonecchia from Lyon Cherie will instantly make you look and feel like a badass.


Another summer staple that is made awesome when paired with gladiator sandals. A solid color top and denim short combo can be instantly spruced up when paired with a striking knee-high laced pair. This enhances your silhouette and the eye-catching look of the gladiator sandals is balanced out by the other simple pieces. A perfect go-to outfit if you feel like strutting out on an awesome summer day.

How to Tie Gladiator Heels

Though strapped and zipped variants are easier to wear, nothing beats laced gladiator heels when it comes to versatility. Because, essentially, it’s just soles with long laces, they can be made to suit any style or look. Though it looks daunting at first, with enough practice, you can nail this just like the countless others back in ancient times. 

You would want to wrap the laces just right. Wrap it too tight and it will cut off circulation to your feet. Too loose and it will come undone. Both scenarios would make for a really bad time. Keep in mind that some materials do stretch over time. Leather is especially known to need time to “break-in” period before you find the perfect fit.

Where to Buy Gladiator Heels

Because of their sheer versatility, you will surely find a thousand reasons to rock them at every chance you get! This means your pair⁠—or pairs⁠—should be durable and made from high-quality materials. But just because something is expertly made does not mean it should be costly. Your favorite boutiques and stores are great places to look at. Artisan shops and bespoke shoe shops are also great places to find high-quality pieces. These specialty shops can also custom fit your sandals to your needs. Of course, Lyon Cherie is your best to secure amazing deals on high-quality footwear. We specialize in stylish women’s pieces with a collection sourced worldwide. Visit our store to browse Gladiator Sandals here or Gladiator Heels here. 

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