Espadrilles are one of our favorite shoes for summer all long. Over the past years they became a must-have trend shoe with ongoing popularity. But their origin dates back much much longer. These shoes have a very old and quite interesting history.
Born in a region in the Pyrenees at the French-Spanish border in the 13th century, espadrilles were worn by the infantry of the King of Aragon. Intended for both, men and women as an easy-to-wear shoe, they were liked by clergymen, workers and dancers and came handy as casual shoes as well. They soon became a traditional footwear in the Basque country and stood the test of time and the change in the way of dressing in Europe over the centuries. Their big, fashionable break-through they had in the 1940s, when Hollywood icons as Lauren Bacall and Rita Hayworth were watched on movie screens wearing jute soles. In the 60s Yves Saint Laurent first launched a high-heeled wedge model.
Lauren Bacall in The Key Largo and Rita Hayworth in The Lady From Shanghai
Also famous men of history were fans of the convenient footwear. The artist Salvador Dalí used to wear it on the seaside, likewise John F. Kennedy.
The term Espadrille is French and derives from the Catalan espardenya, which is an expression for a shoe made of espart (esparto), a grass that was used to make ropes with. Today, there still exist some manufacturers in the north of Spain that are producing them for over a hundred years.
JFK with his sisters in 1938 and Salvador Dalí posing in espadrilles
Espadrilles are characterized by their sole of jute rope whereas the upper part varies in fabric and style but usually covers the bridge of the foot. By now there are many different styles and types of them. They come with flat or high-heeled soles, to slip on or lace, and with various upper materials, such as leather, linen or cotton.