The gladiator sandal, or caligae as the Romans called it, is a classic shoe whose striking aesthetic has enjoyed universal appeal and withstood the test of time.
Often depicted adorning the feet of the gods, the gladiator sandal was actually conceived as part of the traditional military uniform of the Roman Empire. Designed with extreme practicality, each sandal was made from three main pieces of leather – the upper, the sole, and an insole, fastened together with hobnails for traction, which further served as an effective weapon against a fallen foe. As legend has it, the hobnailed sandals became synonymous with the military, and the distinctive sound of the caligae on the paved city streets would alert the civilians to the presence of the often-brutal Roman soldiers.
Although renowned as staunchly utilitarian footwear, the gladiator sandal was far from mundane in its execution. Elaborate patterns, coloured leathers and even precious stones were combined to elevate the classic design and became an indication of the status, rank, and personal style of its wearer.
A shoe that is symbolic of the expansion of a civilisation, the gladiator sandal has earned its place in fashion history due to its classic shape and versatility. Over the course of the 20th century, the sandal became a popular resort shoe for men and women alike, particularly during the hippie counterculture of 1960 and 70s. Today, the gladiator sandal has become a mainstay in the glamorous gypset wardrobe, and one can find it laced up the bronzed legs of bohemian goddesses the world over.
At Galet, we believe that there is much to be said for a shoe with a classic design yet striking aesthetic. Much like the caligae of the Roman era, our loafer combines functionality and robust quality with a touch of glamour. A contemporary classic, Galet shoes are the perfect footwear choice for the modern warrior.