Espadrilles are casual, summer shoes originating from the Pyrenees Mountains, bordering France and Spain. Instances of the traditional shoe appear as far back as 4,000 years ago. The foot covering was originally made from rope and canvas – it was considered a peasant’s clothing item. They were even being worn around the XIII Century by the King of Aragons’ infantry men!
The biggest volume of espadrilles was sold to mine-workers in northern France. The shoe was particularly popular because the natural soles molded to the user’s foot and were considered very comfortable. An important craftsman during that century was referred to as an alpargatero, espadrille maker.
Excerpt from the Dolce & Gabbana 2013 Spring/Summer Ad Campaign.
The term espadrille is French and loosely related to the Catalan word for esparto, a wiry Mediterranean grass used in making rope. Today, many espadrilles are made with braided jute, raffia, twine, straw, hemp and other tough, natural fibers. Have I whet your appetite for shoe history? Enjoy a complete and thorough origin story – here.
Espadrilles became fashionable in the US of A in the 1940’s because of Lauren Bacall’s character in the 1948 movie Key Largo. Audrey Hepburn, Pablo Picasso, Grace Kelly, Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy and Salvador Dali were also known to sport these chic, unisex, summer footwear.
Join the ranks of famous espadrille wearers – choose your own pair, below:
(clockwise from top right) Nine West Immunity Espadrille; DIANE von FURSTENBERG Espadrille Platform Wedge Sandals – Origenes; ASOS HIPPY Wedges; Stella McCartney Zebra-printed Espadrille Wedge; Kate Spade New York ‘lucie’ Espadrille Sandal in Cobalt Patent; Enzo Angiolini – Nomas High Platform Wedge Espadrille Sandals; Pierre Hardy Cube Print Espadrille – Red/Black/White; Chloé Platform Espadrille Sandal – Nude.