Originally worn by the Spanish infantry in the 13th century, the espadrille evolved to become a key element of pastoral life in Spain and France. By the 1800s, factories in the Pyrenees were mass-producing them in hundreds of colors, with each combination unique to different communities throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
Before long, the humble rope-and-canvas shoe had become a global phenomenon and a hallmark of Catalan style. It was not until the middle of the 20th century, however, that fashion embraced the espadrille, with designers recasting it in high heels, sumptuous textures and refined silhouettes.
Yet despite its sudden ubiquity, the shoe’s bohemian spirit still translates well in summer and imbues classic seasonal looks—from nautical stripes to tennis whites—with an earthy, worldly allure.
Today the espadrille looks as chic on city streets as it does in country fields, or from the beach to the backyard. Whether rendered with a traditional flat sole or modern wedge heel, its authentic elements remain much the same as they did so many centuries ago in rural Spain—a celebrated legacy befitting a true RL Classic.