Haute History: Espadrilles

all about espadrilles | via vmac+cheese

espadrille wedges

It’s been a while since I kicked off the Haute History series, so I thought it was high time for another installment! With May just around the corner, I was inspired to research something that’s classically summer — the espadrille. But what was once a simple flat shoe has evolved into so many more style options: sandals, wedges, heels, and loafers. Here’s the low down on this summer staple (with lots of stylish options to check out too!):

Espadrilles have been made in southern France and northern Spain (or, more accurately, the regions of Occitania and Catalonia) since the 14th century. In the Basque country, you can still find shops who have produced espadrilles for over a century! And, just like Mary Janes, espadrilles were traditionally worn by both men and women (what is it with men starting off shoe trends??).

Funnily enough, espadrilles were originally shoes for peasants. They had a canvas upper, cut and fashioned from a single piece of fabric, with side seams made of rope. Some versions also had fabric laces that would tie around the ankle (like this).

So when did espadrilles become popular? Not until the 1940s in the US — in fact, Lauren Bacall can be seen wearing espadrilles in her 1948 film Key Largo. The shoes had a bit of a renaissance in the 80s, when Don Johnson’s character wore them in Miami Vice, and if my 90s and 00s fashion memory serves me correctly, they’ve been a popular summer trend ever since!

espadrille flats

espadrille wedges and sandles

1. Earthy and Casual | 2. Printed and Preppy |  3. Soft and Bohemian | 4. Glittery and Fun

5. Dressier and a Little Glam | 6. Seventies and Neutral | 7. Goes with Everything

8. Perfect for the Fourth | 9. Everyday Ladylike | 10. For Running Errands

11. Missoni Inspired | 12. Flirty and Retro | 13. A Timeless Classic


{Image Credits: J.Crew with graphics added by me, Stockholm Street Style. Info on espadrilles found via Wikipedia}


  1. 4.25.13
    Abby said:

    The second picture is fab… I think espadrilles are so comfy, in fact I have on a pair right now! Neat post!

  2. 4.25.13
    Kayla said:

    Lovin’ the history of these! Cute cute picks! I think #12 is my fav!! : )


  3. 4.25.13

    I don’t own a pair but have been tempted, I have been wondering about the chanel ones I guess they would be a good investment!

  4. 4.25.13

    These are going to become a summer wardrobe staple for me this year! My favourite pair would have to be #12!

  5. 4.25.13

    A summer must-have!!! Love the printed ones! xxx

  6. 4.25.13
    Blair said:

    I have one pair of espadrille wedges that I wear with everything in the summer…this makes me want to add a few more to my collection!

  7. 4.25.13
    chelsie said:

    so interesting! i’ll feel 100% more informed when I wear my tried and true espadrille wedges! :)

  8. 4.25.13

    Love espadrilles! SUCH great picks. xo, Julie

  9. 4.25.13

    Great post, love the espradille.

  10. 4.25.13
    Nnenna said:

    I love these little fashion history lessons! I think espadrilles are so classic for summer and when I was in Spain a few summers ago, I saw people wearing them all the time.

  11. 4.26.13
    Emily said:

    Okay #6 is amazing and on serious sale!!!

  12. 12.1.14
    Dolna said:

    oh, hi, I just stopped by to let you know I have linked to this fantastic article of yours on my website, cause this post just has every information you want to know about espadrilles.. but now I can see that my posts (english and german) are here, in the comments above (?!) .. :) so thank you anyway :)

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