How to Make Gladiator Sandals

texture of leather image by vnlit from

Things You'll Need

  • Leather soles
  • Foam shoe cushioning or insoles
  • Leather fabric
  • Polyurethane adhesive
  • Scissors
  • 6-foot leather cord
  • 2 flat ornate beads
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread

Gladiator sandals are attractive summer shoes but they can be expensive to purchase in the stores. You can fashion your own gladiator sandals at home for a fraction of the cost and can make multiple pairs to accessorize a variety of outfits. Use leather straps for a traditional look or replace the leather with ribbon for a pretty and decorative shoe.

Lay the leather soles on the ground and place your feet in the center of each sole. Trace around your feet, leaving at least 1 inch of extra space between each foot and the tracing.

Cut out the tracings and use these as templates for the foam shoe cushioning. Trace the leather sole cutout onto the shoe cushioning. Cut out the shoe cushioning, cutting just inside the traced line all the way around. Repeat for the other foot.

Trace the leather sole template onto a piece of leather fabric material and cut out the leather 1/2 inch larger all the way around. Repeat for the other leather sole.

Align the fabric material on top of the foam shoe cushioning and use a polyurethane adhesive to attach the foam shoe cushioning to the leather fabric material for both shoes. Let the adhesive dry for 30 minutes.

Use your scissors to make a small slit through the joined shoe pieces, 2 inches from the top of the shoe. Align the slit 1 1/2 inches from the right edge for the left shoe and 1 1/2 inches from the left edge for the right shoe.

Fold the leather fabric material over the edges of the shoe cushioning and use a small zigzag stitch on the sewing machine to sew the leather fabric to the underside of the shoe cushioning. Cut off any excess material beyond the stitching. If you do not have a sewing machine, use a tight straight stitch by hand instead.

Cut two pieces of soft leather cord to a length of 2 1/2 inches. Thread a flat ornate bead onto each piece of cord. Insert the ends of the leather cord through the slit in the shoe to make a loop and adhere it to the back of the shoe with the polyurethane adhesive.

Make four more 2.5-inch lengths of the leather cord. Bend one piece of cord to make a loop and use the polyurethane adhesive to attach the ends of the loop to the side of the shoe, three inches away from the heel. Repeat for the other side of the shoe as well as for the other shoe.

Spread some of the polyurethane adhesive over the entire back of the shoe cushioning, align the leather sole cutout on the cushioning and press firmly to adhere the pieces together. Allow the adhesive to dry for 30 minutes.

Thread a 4-foot length of the leather cord through the loop at the top of the shoe. Thread one end of the cord through the loop at the left side of the shoe and the other end of the cord through the loop at the right side of the shoe. Put the shoes on, wrap the cords around your calves and tie the ends in a bow.


  • Allow the sandals to dry for at least 12 hours before you wear them.


About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

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