Halifax: Gladiators fight on in the port city

Gladitorial footwear from Steve Madden
Gladitorial footwear from Steve Madden

To be honest, I thought we might be over them. I mean, once a shoe has been molded into a jelly version of itself, you expect it’s on the way out—one can only stretch a trend so far. But not so with the gladiator, a shoe still storming the streets this season, and storming them in classier, sleeker and downright gorgeous styles.

A recent birthday trip to NYC provided the slap in the face (or kick in the pants, I suppose): within my five-day visit, I had collected a mental catalogue of nearly a hundred pairs of the strappy shoe parading about town. How could I have been so blind to the gladiator’s obvious victory over shoedom? My recovery from the blow was quick. Feelings of revelation were rapidly replaced with twangs of desire and a moment of weakness in Zara even had six pairs slung up one arm as I bent over, nearly perspiring, zipping, sliding and buckling my tired feet into a deep brown pair of the warrior wears.

Now that I’m back on familiar ground, I’ve scoured the shops and filled my arms with gladiator shoes yet again—but this time with Halifax finds—letting you know where to find the sweetest sandals in this city.

Aldo $95

A stop by the ol’ faithfuls will deliver: Aldo has every possible take on the trend, playing with colour and textures and swaying from the elegantly subtle to the super-strapped bold. My top picks: the silver high-top “Scire” (shown, $95), a sleek sandal fit for the modern warrior, and the woven “Wierson” ($60) a relaxed, more traditional alternative. My favourite find amidst the Town Shoes lineup: a turquoise low wedge by David Dixon ($115) that found inspiration in the ancient trend and took it to a flirty, feminine place.

Payless $40

To satisfy your inner gladiator on a budget, Spring has got what you’re looking for with well over a dozen different styles, including the minimalist “Hamsik” ($40) in a snowy white, which has ditched all the gladiator glam nay the heel cup and ankle strap. Payless has even strapped in for the ride with a no-fuss golden pair (shown, $40) that’s right on the mark.

The boutiques downtown also failed to disappoint. Biscuit General Store (1661 Argyle St., 902-425-5436, biscuitgeneralstore.com) housed arguably the city’s most practical gladiator, a rubber-soled sandal in chocolate and lime equipped with bubbly treads and a cushiony foot bead by J.J’s Footwear ($49). And at Kick Ass Shoes (5475 Spring Garden Rd., 902-444-7527), find Steve Madden’s soft leather “Tunisia” ($90), a coliseum worthy sandal that will only ripen with age, and a daintier choice, the patent and sophisticated “Karma” ($100, both shown at top).

You’ve got no excuse, Haligonians: these sandals are both fashionable and functional—the ideal package for the stylishly sensible East Coaster.

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