Espadrilles have been produced and handmade all over Spain and in Southern France for centuries. Artisans, called “alpargateros” have kept the tradition alive that has been handed down to them from generation to generation.
Rope shoes have been used for over one thousand years all over the world. The materials were and are easily available and affordable. The art of espadrille-making has a long tradition. The espadrilles as we know them are typically hand crafted in the Pyrenee region, that is northern part of Spain and formerly also in southern France.
Once peasant footwear and then worn by urban workers and by republican Spanish soldiers during the Spanish civil war, espadrilles have come a long way and have grown in popularity. In the late 1940s renowned artists like Dali and Picasso as well as silver screen actors Lauren Bacall and Grace Kelly would make the humble footwear fashionable throughout the western world. Nowadays espadrilles have become a summer essential in every wardrobe.
It is not easy to determine who was the first country to invent espadrilles. Rope shoes have been around for centuries especially in the warm and dry countries around the Mediterranean sea. The oldest, most primitive form of espadrilles dates as far back as 4000 years ago. The earliest records of an espadrille as we know it today, consisting of a rope sole and a hand sewn cotton fabric upper, were found in Catalonia and date from the13th Century.
In Spain a store that sells traditionally handmade espadrilles is called “Alpargateria”. Today we can still find a few Alpargaterias in Spain and in southern France. DIEGOS® is classic online Alpargateria that offers true handmade traditional espadrilles at affordable prices worldwide.
A wedge heel runs under the entire length of the foot, from the back of the shoe to the front. As the name implies, this type of shoe has a somewhat triangular, wedge shape. Espadrille wedges were first spotted on catwalks around the late sixties, when designer Yves St Laurent had the vision to add wedges made out of cork and rope to the classic flat rope sole espadrille. It was an instant hit and is still highly fashionable today.
Espadrilles are made with natural fibers that absorb humidity and allow the foot to breathe. These natural fibers will also absorb water, if worn in the rain. But do not worry, if you get caught in a rain shower by surprise while wearing your espadrilles. Just let them dry for 5 – 7 days until the rope is thoroughly dry and your espadrilles will be good to go again.
Espadrilles are not bound to a single style. They are immensely versatile and easy to combine with any look, from elegant to casual. They will look great if combined with summer dresses, shorts, denim, beachwear or classic wear.
The origin of the modern word “espadrille” comes from the olden times when the braided rope used for the soles was made out of a weed called “Esparto”. The name espadrille is most probably derived from the Catalan word Espardenya.
If your feel that your flat espadrilles slip off your feet, we can offer you two ways to fix this: We can either add laces to the espadrilles that you can wrap around your ankles for a better hold or we can make two invisible stitches on the sides of the espadrilles (behind the seams) that will tighten them and downsize them by one or two sizes.
There are several steps in the making of an espadrille shoe. From the rope that has to be braided into solid strands to the hand stitching of the cotton uppers to the rope soles. Please visit our section “how it's made” (insert link here) for further details about all the steps of this fascinating traditional craft.
We offer a great variety of colors that you can combine with your favorite jeans and even have a denim flat espadrille for purists. No matter if you choose flat espadrilles or wedges, they always look fabulous combined with denim.
There are no limits to your creativity. You can have us add colorful lace patterns for you or create your very own personal design by decorating them with embroidery, by drawing with fabric paint on the sturdy cotton canvas or by sewing buttons or badges onto the upper of your espadrilles.
We recommend to use a soft brush and natural soap to clean your espadrilles. If you decide to clean them in the washer, please keep in mind to always let the sole dry thoroughly afterwards (5-7 days). Our espadrilles can be machine washed due to fact that they are hand stitched. We would not recommend to do this with non-traditional espadrilles because they are glued and machine stitched and may unravel in the process. Use a
Espadrilles should be quite tight when you first try them on. One of the characteristics of this footwear is that the cotton upper will eventually stretch and comfortably mold to your feet. If they are loose when you purchase them they will most probably slip off your feet shortly afterwards.
One of the qualities of an espadrille is that the fabric stretches and adapts to the shape of your foot. They grow as you go. We recommend to wear your new espadrilles for 30 min to an hour indoors to allow them to mold to your feet.
Espadrilles are made out of natural fibers that keep the feet dry by releasing the natural humidity of the foot. We like to say that the sole “breathes”. The soles are protected against damp floors by a thin layer of natural rubber, but if the soles get soaked, just let them dry thoroughly in a dry and warm place inside of your home and they will be as good as new once they are dry again.
We are convinced that espadrilles should be affordable. Although they have become fashionable footwear over time, they are still humble in their origin, being handcrafted out of simple materials by traditional Spanish artisans.
We do suggest to wash your espadrilles by hand, using a soft brush and natural soap. You can machine wash them as a last resort, using a short cold cycle and not tumble drying them afterwards. Let the shoes dry thoroughly for a week until the rope is 100% dry. Please keep in mind that you can only do this with authentic espadrilles that are hand stitched and not glued.
Espadrilles have been an integral part of fashion since the late 1940s and they have become a classic over time. Every summer, fashion icons wear them all over the world. This evergreen is an integral part of every summer wardrobe. The pretty colors of our espadrilles are easy to match to all styles, from casual to elegant.
Espadrilles are mainly worn outdoors during the warm and dry summer months. In winter they can be used as comfortable slippers inside your home. The rope has the quality to isolate the cold emanating from the floors. Espadrilles are always comfortable, whether worn inside or outdoors.
The answer is: yes, absolutely! Espadrilles are among the most comfortable summer shoes to wear. They're light, they allow the foot to breathe, they mold to your feet like second layer of skin and it is a very pleasant feeling to walk on the smooth and silky rope sole.