You may have noticed; I am a big fan of espadrilles !
I was curious to know when and how these simple, timeless and effortless shoes had made their first appearance in the world… So I made some research and here is a short story about the ‘espardenyas’ (=espadrilles) and their evolution.
A humble origin :
Originated from the South-Western French and North-Eastern Spanish area (Basque Country and Catalonia) around the 14th Century, espadrilles – then called ‘espardenyas’- were initially created and worn by peasants due to their affordability (cheap material and hand fabrication).
Cheaper than military boots, they were even worn by the infantry in the 18th Century (hey! Can you picture the army guys in espadrilles? :-))
Until the mid 20th Century, these slip-ons with braided jute sole and canvas upper were being used for many purposes ; from farm work to sports and trekkings…
A symbol of rebellion :
Witness of the 60’s youth emancipation period and proudly worn by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, espadrilles became popular and trendy among the bohemian crowd.
Their popularity reached a peak when Yves-Saint-Laurent came up with the very first runway espadrilles – a beautiful wedge heel- , marking the fashion history.
Nowadays, most espadrilles are conceived in India and Bangladesh due to their major jute production and affordability. They remain nonetheless very pleasant shoes to wear.
From cheap and practical to trendy and luxurious, espadrilles have gone a long way !
Flats, embroidered, wedges, mules, laced, platforms, sneakers, ‘Oxford’, slides, slingback, open or closed toes, … they now come in all shapes, fabrics and colours.
I personally love them comfy and simple … and with prints … or with an extra height (platforms are the best !) and a girly knot. Oh well, let’s be honest, I love them all !!!!
But espadrilles have a weak spot : their short lifespan.
In fact, the jute used for the sole does not do good with rainy days and it’s most probable that your espadrilles will only last for a Summer (or 2).
So love and treat them well ! ❤