Remember these gladiators?
I bought them a little while before BlogHer’09; it was one of the last pairs of shoes I bought before leaving New York. Even though they are strictly a summer shoe, this is the pair I have used the most in the past couple of years, which is why they featured heavily in my summer OOTWs (like here, here, and here).
I loved how wearable they were, the soft black leather that went with everything and the tarnished gold studs and hardware that added a little edge without making them too “blingy”.
I am sad to say that my beloved gladiators are no more After two years of hard work and much walking down the streets of New York City, Zurich, Nuoro (and brief stints in Chicago, Alicante and Barcelona), they gave up and cracked while I was vacationing in Sardinia.
I know what you are thinking: you were in Italy, you doofus, why didn’t you find another cool pair? I tried my dears, I really did: but truth be told, Italian footwear as a whole is generally a lot more classic and less egdy than, say, something you’d find in New York. So compared to my precioussss all sandals came up flat and boring.
Which is why I have been scouring the internets to find a replacement, since the Pacha is no longer available in my size in this color combo (or even in brown – however if you are interested they can be found in white and fuchsia, at a 50-75% discount). This is what I have found so far that I have deemed acceptable substitutes:
This Beam Me Up sandal from Naughty Monkey has the right vibe, and at $79.99, it gets bonus points for a great price. I love the braiding motif, however I am hesitating because of the thin straps, which in my experience tend to be much more uncomfortable when the foot swells a little (or a lot) because of hot weather and lots of walking. But I do like them so I’ll keep them in the list for now.
I just love the Campbell sandal by Dolce Vita! Though they have no hardware, I really like the criss-cross pattern and the tassel in the back. I also think that the tiny bit of wedge will probably make them a bit more comfortable than a completely flat sandal, and on sale they are priced very nicely at $79.99! A strong contender.
The Alda sandal by Isola is like a more polished, feminine version of my gladiators. The leather is textured and has a sheen to it, not quite patent but also not totally matte. The studs are tiny, barely there, and the straps are thinner, with more buckles and an additional toe strap that would probably keep the foot from sliding up and down in hot weather. The result is a similar sandal that manages to somehow look daintier, which means it would be easier to dress up. However I wonder if it’s too plain, in which case I’d get bored of it quickly; I am not sure I want to shell out $139.90 for it. I do like it though, so it’s staying on the list.
Admittedly, the Jasmine sandal from Calvin Klein is not a flat sandal; but with the 1-inch platform the wedge is only 2 3/4” high, and cork to boot, which means these would probably be super-comfortable to walk in and also easy to drive in (I don’t like driving in heels or thick-soled shoes.) The sale price of 97.80 is good, and I love the wide straps and small studs. I am a little concerned that the synthetic sole might get hot and uncomfortable in hot weather, but I could always add some Dr. Scholl’s inserts and be done with it.
The Turn Me Loose sandal by JOIE is a great find, since it’s probably the one that most resembles my defunct fave. The studs are great, if a tad too shiny for my taste, and the wide straps must be really comfortable, though suede tends to be really delicate, so I wonder if they are sturdy enough for an everyday summer sandal. Still, it’s a strong contender, especially since with the summer sales I can get it for $84.50.
Ah, I love this Frida sandal from National Jean Company! The sole and small heel are the most similar to my Pacha gladiators, so is the back. The wide strap means more support for my wide feet, and while there are no studs, the chain detail at the ankle is really fun. At $198 (on sale!) it’s almost double what I had budgeted, but it’s my favorite of the bunch! Only the fact that they are suede gives me pause, ’cause as I said I feel they might be too delicate for an everyday summer sandal.
What do you think? Which one of these do you prefer?
What do you do when a favorite item of clothing or footwear goes kaput?