The word “espadrille” can be traced back to the Greek word “Sparta” (”σπαρτος”), which produced the Old Provençal word for “sparterie” (“espart”) and eventually the Occitan-language version “espardille”.
The espadrille is a light canvas (originally hemp) shoe with a rope sole. It originated in the Catalan and Basque Pyrenees (home of the beret) where it is part of traditional folk dress worn for working, mountain hiking, dancing and even rugby! The ankle-tie option has been around since the Middle Ages, with laces often produced in a contrasting color.
Espadrille production methods were for a long time a closely-guarded secret in this part of the world: up until the 17th century, manufacture or sale to outsiders was banned!
If you are faithful to the classic version, then go for our espadrilles featuring a tiger head - they are available in denim or thick white canvas. If you are looking for something new, you will love the contemporary lace-up espadrille featuring our KENZO Basket Weave motif.