HOT FOR ALPARGATAS
From Peasant Wear To Runway Chic, This Timeless Shoe Is A Summer Must
Jackie O, Pablo Picasso, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren - just a few of the famous feet that have sported the beloved alpargata (AKA espadrille). But long before the comfy kicks were the go-to shoe for actors, artists and princesses, they served as functional footwear for peasants, soldiers and farmers. Regardless of who wore them, they're pretty darn cute, so we're taking notes and eager to score a pair.
Alpargatas first made their debut around the 1300s in the Pyrenees, along the border between France and Spain. But now, given their sweet look and relaxed fit, they’ve become a modern-day wardrobe staple for the Spaniards and French, not to mention those in Latin America and elsewhere. Made with rope soles and a canvas upper, the no-frills construction of the unisex shoe means a yearly restock might be in order – but at only about 5-10 euros a pair, the investment will hardly break the bank. In fact, all the more reason to skip the decision making and just purchase one of every colour, design and pattern.
When visiting Madrid, you can acquire your own personal pair (or several) at popular alpargaterías like Casa Hernanz or Antigua Casa Crespo. As spring and summer approach, don’t be surprised if you get stuck in long lines, however, as Madrileños prepare their warm-weather wardrobes for the impending spring and summer exodus to the beach. Then, if high-fashion is more your style, don’t fret. Spanish designer brands, like Castañer, have taken notice of the timeless shoe, and sell irresistibly adorable variations featuring straps, heals, buckles and more.
Whether you invest in an assortment of colours, or in something a bit more couture, rest assured – if they’ve been trendy for some 700 years, they won’t lose their appeal anytime soon.
-by Erin Ridley
Photos: Erin Ridley