As spring and summer start to roll around, I always get excited because it’s time to bring out the espadrilles again. These are my “go to” shoe for warm weather. I would never be caught dead in flip-flops these days. The only only only place that I can see flip-flops working is if you are a lifeguard or if you live on the beach, which I did so I’m partially excused. That’s it. Flip-flops do not belong anywhere else, especially not with a Juicy sweatsuit for God’s sake. Espadrilles are classic, fun and you can wear them to a summer afternoon lunch without looking trashy. They work with shorts, jeans, a skirt or dress and even a pareo. Chic women wear espadrilles. Chic men wear espadrilles. Chic kids wear espadrilles.
According to espadrilles.com,"The espadrille has been around for centuries maybe even thousands of years. The Archaeological museum of Granada owns a pair of espadrilles that were found on human remains inside the “cueva de los murielagos” (the bat-cave). It is estimated that these shoes are around 4000 years old.
This light sandal, made with jute rope or braided hemp and with linen fabric, comes from Spain, where, already, they were being worn around the XIII century by the King of Aragons’ infantry men. Its name is derived from “esparto” which is a kind of plant that was originally burned then braided to make the soles.
It was during the XIII century that the production of these shoes truly spread. Since it is a handcrafted shoe, making the treads employs many workers. The alpargatero’s (or espadrille maker) only job was to make the rope soles, while the seamstresses sewed the fabric and the band. At the beginning of the XIX century, Mauléon (a French city located in the Atlantic Pyrenees) began selling them in vast quantities. The first people to wear them were the catalano-aragonese military soldiers then subsequently by the priests. Around 1880, most espadrilles were sold to mine workers, but they were also exported to South America. It was the time of the “hirondelles”, which were young girls from the aragonese valleys who came to work in the espadrille factories between the fall and winter seasons."