Knee High Gladiator Sandals – Yes Or No Over 40?

Kardashian knee high gladiator sandals
Cute in your 20’s – Yes, but what about your 40’s or 50’s?

Hi Deborah,

I’m a  petite woman, over 45, and I like those knee-high gladiator sandals. Do you think they are age appropriate? Jane

Hi Jane,

Knee high gladiators are a real statement piece. They attract a lot of attention because they are unusual and send a sexy message.


They look best worn with very short skirts or very short- shorts, which is not a look a lot of mature women embrace.

Only you can decide if they are “age appropriate.”  Myself, I would vote no to knee-high gladiators at 45+.

If you still on the fence about wearing them, there are other things to consider besides age. For example, it’s also about your body. Your legs have to be pretty darn good. Also, do these suit your personality and the image you want to project? Finally, you need to have the right attitude to look cool in these. Confidence is key.

For the average middle age woman, I would suggest a low gladiator sandal or wedge, or a high-heeled gladiator that comes up to the ankle only or just above the ankle. This way you get the sexy vibe without going overboard and possibly looking desperate.

Above are a few you could try. I’ve although thrown in some knee-high ones that are more on the refined side if knee-high is what you want. Too many buckles and a lot of hardware and these start looking too trendy and costume-like on a mature gal.

Thanks for writing in Jane!


Join the Conversation

27 thoughts on “Knee High Gladiator Sandals – Yes Or No Over 40?

  1. I wear gladiator sandals and am 56. I look great I don’t look at what society wants me to wear life is to short. I wear what ever I want period so all you middle age women get out there and strut it’s a new age for us.

  2. I’ve been reading these comments and I don’t believe what some people say about the wearing of gladiator sandals, especially the knee high, caged with 7 shinny brass buckles up the side of the legs.. I wear mine with a flippy skirt just above the knees and they look great. When I first wore them I said “I don’t think so”, but the more I wear them, the better I like them. I currently have them in a light brown color, but I’m going to black for my next pair. Love to read these comments. Perhaps we’ll get more knee high wearers.

  3. I love the knee high gladiator sandals. I have great legs and these sandals show them off. Don’t let age be a factor. You only go around once so enjoy the trip. My favorite pair is the knee high, 3 inch heels, caged, buckles.

  4. I agree that it really is a personal preference, not so much your age. I have always loved gladiator sandals. I prefer the mid calf or shorter versions for me only because I think you have to be tall to be able to get away with the high ones. I once bought a high one and eventually had my shoe repair guy shorten it. Actually I will be wearing it for my blog story for this week. I have been wearing them for years and I am so glad they are finally a more accepted trend. They definetly add a trendy and cool vibe to ones outfit.

  5. Personally I like the low version and as you said, Deborah, they add a trendy, cool vibe.
    Besides age I also feel it is a matter of personal style and the high version isn’t part of mine.
    I love the Stuart Weitzman and the Michael Kors sandals from your collection and would definitely wear those!

    Annette | Lady of Style

  6. I am not sure it is a matter of age. More like a matter of whether it suits your style and the rest of your wardrobe. I bought a pair last year. Wore them twice, both times with jeans. Hated them. Not comfy, no arch support. Too flat. I have rather long legs for a petite person, but these sandals just made my legs look shorter. This year they went in the Goodwill bin, despite the hefty price tag that they originally bore. I never seem to learn my lesson when it comes to flats. Everyone else wears them and looks cool. They say they are comfy and I get sucked in again, only to end up hating the look and the feel of them on me.

  7. Frump is a state of mind.

    I think what you wear is also very much a matter of how much you look after yourself as much as the “BIG NUMBER 40”. I’ve friends in their twenties and early 30s who, quite frankly, look and dress years older than me (I’m 41), and friends in their fifties who dress very trendy and look fabulous, because they have stayed fit and trim and looked after themselves.

    I wear a lot of clothes that are probably not “age appropriate” in the strictest sense, but am careful to tone down the overall look a bit. So I might wear a young shoe, but won’t wear it with the crochet mini that a 20-something might wear it with – I’ll pair it with a trendy jeans style and a cute top instead.

    (Actually, crochet minis are something I’m definitely NOT going to wear again! But I’d also argue a lot of the 20-somethings who are wearing them probably shouldn’t be either!)

    In the end, it’s about balance. Showing a bit of the sexy / trendy, but not too much. And, of course, the advantage of being older is you’ve learned what suits you, and can usually afford to invest in better quality cuts and styles. I’ve managed to build a wardrobe over time that is very much me, and that, as a teenager, I would have envied :)

  8. Life is too short to “give up” and wear mom-jeans and shoes geared for comfort alone. Yes, it is important to be tasteful, but you won’t catch me considering comfort before fashion or the reverse for that matter. There can be a balance.
    Your personal style is a way of celebrating your femininity. Gladiator Sandals are a great way to do so. I especially love the metallics and the way they play nicely off of denim. Just remember with statement items like these, a little goes a long way and you’ll be fine. I am 47 and take care of myself so I can enjoy an appropriate amount of trend mixed with the classics that continue to serve me well.

  9. I have a pair of low gladiator sandals, but mine are in turquoise. They look fabulous on me with black leggings and a long black narrow top. I am 5′ 4” and 62 years old. Throw a cool scarf on with a touch of the turquoise in it and you’re good to go. I also add a Chan Lu wrap bracelet with the color in it. I hate the hippie, tie-dyed, ripped jean, etc. looks, but this is completely different … very sophisticated.

  10. I am 48 and I love the gladiator sandal! I have always dressed trendy so why stop? I am getting older not less stylish
    I am 5 foot 6 and med build but have long thin legs… I dont wear the knee high ones (yet) and love the look of them with shorts or skinny jeans…
    I am far more comfortable dressing in skinny jeans than I would be in granny pants and crocks!

    1. Hi Kat,
      Fantastic, that you are still wearing the trends!!! .. You sound FAB and like you know how to pull it off! Nothing like feeling the energy of stepping out and looking hip and chic!
      We are so glad to hear that you are wearing your skinny jeans with confidence, we do too!!!

  11. Hi Deborah,

    This is a post I can truly relate to on a few levels. Wearing Gladiator Sandals when you have thicker ankles and also if you’re shorter, those straps definitely can make you appear shorter than you really are. Also, you’re so right about wearing a trendy shoe with an outdated outfit–not a good mix. I think the bottom line is if you’re comfortable with how your legs, ankles and feet look with them on and you’ve got a contemporary enough outfit to wear with them, then wear ’em with confidence! ;) You’ll feel good about the way you look and it will radiate outward. I’m still trying to find a great pair that don’t make my ankles look TOO thin and make me look shorter than I am, either! Maybe I’ll have better luck this season! I sure hope so. Some of them are so great looking!

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Ankle straps can make your ankles look thick if you have very thick ankles, but they’re fine on most women. Most of us are just too critical of ourselves and limit our fashion choices to the point where we think we can’t wear anything. That’s so limiting. It’s good that you are trying different gladiators on, experimenting, instead of automatically saying no to them all ( There are thousands of variations out there and you will find one that will suit you). Too many women start to look and feel old because they get stuck in their old ways.

  12. Hi Deb!
    Gladiator sandals are very feminine & delicate. It doesn’t matter your age. Feel free to wear them all the summer. A good pedicure helps a lot.
    I’m 47 and love them. All kind of styles.

  13. I love them and I am over 70!!! I think it depends on the woman and her style. No one I know would think I looked silly in them.

  14. I think the real issue with gladiator or any other sandal is that our feet are often no longer attractive after a certain age – or a certain number of years wearing shoes. When I was in grade school I had wide feet and children’s feet were scrunched into a shoe. When I was in my 20s and for many, many years after I wore various heights of high heels with various toe boxes from pointy, pointy to square. More strain on the foot and bumps and callouses. Now I’m 60. I wear mostly flat shoes and my toes from years of being scrunched in tight and probably ill-fitting shoes are not that attractive, even with a good pedicure.

    Therefore, I say if your toes and feet are in an attractive shape and nice looking you can wear any type of sandal but for the majority of us, unless you are in the company of your best friend or family, feet should be covered. Unfair but true.

  15. Hi Deborah,

    I’d wear the ‘Jeweled Gladiator’ with capris or slacks. I’m over 60 and not exactly petite in height or weight and definitely know my limits with trendy fashions. Naturaly, I’d pair the sandals with a good pedicure and nice red polish–nothing along the lines of real subdued colors or the ‘dark’ colrich ors so popular nowadays.

    Well, ‘way back in the 1960s my Mom was over 60, chunky and a titch on the matronly side loved and wore with sun dresses or ‘shifts’ a very similar style to ‘Relaxed and Realistic’ shown above. I recall they looked great with slacks or capris on her.

    Back then I loved the ‘Grecian Goddess’ Style AND I was built like Twiggy.’Nuf said.

  16. I think all of these shoes are hideous – regardless of your age. Just because others wear it (like tie-dye or ripped, cut up jeans) doesn’t make attractive.

    1. Hi Connie,
      You are right, all fashion is not attractive, to all, but we think they are fun!!! Best of all they are comfortable and we would rather see my Fabulous ladies in these than clogs!!!

  17. Personally, I would leave these sandals for the young who look good on just about anything. I do not find them attractive at all for women our age, I am 45. I would much rather wear something more comfortable and attractive.

    1. Hi Maria,
      I’m glad to hear your comment. It is true that these sandals can be hard to wear for those with wide ankles. Also, it can be tricky putting an outfit with them if you have not updated your wardrobe in a while!

  18. All of the sandals are beautiful, but they all have straps up around the ankle. Wouldn’t all these styles look best on someone with long legs and thin ankles? For a lot of us I think this style would shorten our legs.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      You do have a point about these ankle straps. They can look unflattering if you have thick anskles and can shorten your legs. Thanks for your comment it is a good one!

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