Whether lace up, flat, wedge or sandal, the timeless espadrille shoe is a Summer essential. But espadrilles haven’t always been the height of Summer style, and were originally designed as an easy-to-wear utility shoe.
Since at least the 14th century, espadrilles were made in Catalonia and the Occitania region, and you can still pick up a pair in the shops of the Basque country that have been making espadrilles for over one hundred years. These original espadrilles have a canvas upper and seamed-to-the-rope sole at the sides, laces wrapped around the ankle to hold the shoes securely in place.
Worn by both men and women, the workwear shoe caught on across Europe and became widely known as a warm-weather essential, due to its flexible sole and lightweight feel. Artist Salvador Dali was frequently spotted in espadrilles, and actress Lauren Bacall wore them in the film Key Largo in 1948 further popularising them. By 1970, Yves Saint Laurent had worked his magic, adding a wedge to the frequently flat shoe and solidified their stylish status.