Espadrilles are a typical Spanish shoe that first appeared in the Pyrenees area in Catalonia. The name of the shoe comes from the Catalan word espardenya, since the shoes are made of espart, a rough and resistant Mediterranean grass used to make rope.
The espadrilles were initially considered a shoe of the peasants but today they are a highly popular item, sought after by locals and tourists alike. The traditional espadrille has a flat sole and closed toes but in modern times, many variations started appearing, like the open-toed espadrilles and espadrilles with wedges. This type of shoe can be found in local, artisan shops, selling for an affordable price, and also as part of the collections of some of the greatest names in the fashion world, catering to a more upscale crowd.
If you would like to buy your very first pair of espadrilles, pay a visit to one of the following stores.
La Manual Alpargatera
La Manual Alpargatera was the first espadrilles store in Barcelona, having first opened its doors in 1940. It started out as an espadrille workshop just after the civil war and soon became recognized as one of the symbols of the Catalan capital. Today, the seventy-five-year-old store is popular not only among locals but also among foreigners, having served clients like Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Juliane Moore.
Location: Carrer d’Avinyo, 7.
Related article: The best women’s shoe stores in Barcelona
sells a collection of espadrilles by Toni Pons, a centenary manufacturer that creates high-quality handmade shoes. This family business has been working in the shoe trade for over 60 years, initially offering a number of Spanish and internationally-made shoes. Almost 40 years after first opening its doors, the store started selling exclusively Spanish-produced footwear. A year later, the family decided that the store should focus on Toni Pons‘s products. Pons is one of the most important espadrilles manufacturers in the world, offering espadrilles for both men and women.
Paloma Barceló is a highly-respected footwear brand which first appeared near Alicante, in the south of Spain, during the 60s. The story of the Paloma Barceló brand begins with Manolo Barceló, a creative genius, master in the art of rope work and braiding, who created high-quality espadrilles for the main international fashion brands. Years later, Manolo’s son, Manuel, after having learned the trade from his father, decided to create his own brand. And thus, Paloma Barceló was born. Created using artisanal methods, each shoe at Paloma Barceló combines both a traditional and modern style, which has captivated a large number of national and international clients.
Paloma Barceló doesn’t have a physical location in the city but you can shop for their products online.
Nösolo Barcelona is a brand that was created in Barcelona in 2008 with the intention of reinventing the traditional Catalan espadrilles. They have since created a unique shoe collection to cater to a young, cosmopolitan crowd with a wild and rebel spirit. Breaking away from the concept of the traditional espadrilles, Nösolo sells tennis shoes-shaped espadrilles, besides other, more formal models. Each of their shoes is created by hand using noble materials such as cotton and jute, which allow the foot to breathe, perfect for the warmer seasons.
Nösolo Barcelona is another brand that does not have a physical store. Visit their Facebook page to shop.
Gaimo is a Spanish brand from La Rioja that creates artisan-made shoes. Created by José Luis Iturriaga in 1975, Gaimo is one of the most famous names in the espadrilles industry. The brand offers a collection of stylish espadrilles and other types of shoes. Combining old traditions with new technologies, the brand creates shoes that stand out due to their style and personality. Each shoe is created using the best quality textiles available and finishing touches that give each model a unique character.
Related article: Best local brands in Barcelona
Castañer‘s story begins in the year of 1927 when cousins Luis Castañer and Tomás Serra opened their very own Castañer workshop. During the 60s, the espadrilles started to gain popularity, attracting famous artists, actors and intellectuals, which helped business pick up and started introducing this unique type of shoe to the rest of the world. In the 70s, Castañer designs an exclusive high wedge espadrille for Yves Saint Laurent, becoming the first shoe brand ever to create this variation of the espadrille. From then on, Castañer started to design shoes for a variety of fashion houses. The first Castañer store in Barcelona opened its doors in 1994, followed by the opening of stores in cities such as Saint Tropez, Tokio, and Paris.
Location: Carrer de Rosselló, 230
Naguisa is a shoe brand that was born in Barcelona in 2012, founded by architect Pablo Izquierdo López, and product designer Claudia Pérez Polo. The couple created the brand in order to open the espadrilles to a wider public by combining the traditional rope with daring new materials. Every single one of Naguisa’s shoes are hand made in Spain using artisanal techniques and sold both nationally and internationally. The brand describes their shoes as “timeless, natural, feminine, honest, contemporary, gracious and Mediterranean”.
Visit Naguisa’s website to discover a variety of espadrilles models for all shapes and sizes.
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* Main photo by Bertrand Pichène via Wikimedia Commons