The history of the Alpargata (Espadrille)

Step into the past with your espadrilles!

Espadrilles are shoes that have been around for centuries and have a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The espadrille is a type of footwear that is traditionally made from natural materials like jute, hemp, or cotton. The shoe's sole is typically made of jute rope or braided fibers, while the upper part of the shoe is made from canvas or cotton.

The origins of the espadrille can be traced back to the Mediterranean, where they were worn by farmers and peasants as a practical and comfortable shoe. The shoe's design was simple and functional, featuring a flat sole and lightweight materials that allowed the foot to breathe in hot climates.

In the 14th century, espadrilles became popular among the aristocracy in Spain, who wore them as a fashionable alternative to heavy leather shoes. The shoes were often decorated with embroidery, lace, and even precious metals, making them a symbol of status and wealth.

During the 19th century, espadrilles became popular in France, where they were worn by artists and intellectuals. The shoes were seen as a symbol of bohemian culture and were often worn by painters, writers, and poets.

In the early 20th century, espadrilles became popular in the United States, where they were sold as a comfortable and stylish summer shoe. The shoes were marketed as a practical alternative to heavy leather shoes and were popular among vacationers and beachgoers.

During the mid-20th century, espadrilles experienced a resurgence in popularity and the unfortunate rise of mass-produced fake-espadrilles from Asia. The shoes were produced on a large scale, using manufacturing techniques and often cheating the process by making the soles out of plastic and adding a thin layer of rope to make it look like the traditional espadrille.
Today there are still a few villages in France and Spain that survived the wave of fake espadrilles from China, and we can proudly say that our espasrilles are still done the old fashion way, entirely by hand.

Today, espadrilles are still popular around the world and are worn by both men and women as a comfortable and stylish shoe. The shoes are available in a wide range of colors and designs, from traditional canvas and jute styles to more modern versions made from leather and synthetic materials. The espadrille has evolved over time, but its roots as a practical and comfortable shoe are still evident in its design and construction.

Only real espadrilles amigos!!



I just got my hands on a 1909 hand painted postcard from my village in la Rioja where you can see the espadrilles artisans making the rope soles on the benches that are called called banco alpargatero.