Yes, summer 2022 has proven to be a scorcher. But you needn’t resort to flip-flops to keep feet cool. Instead, do as the Spanish have done since before the end of the Reconquista and slip into a pair of espadrilles.
From medieval times, espadrilles have served as peasant footwear in Spain and France’s Basque regions. It’s easy to understand their appeal from a pre-Industrial Revolution standpoint: Traditionally built with a cotton canvas upper and a roped sole, the easily and inexpensively made espadrille was the sneaker of its time.
Of course, much has changed since the shoe was most likely to be found on the feet of Catalonian shepherds. The style was first picked up on the fashion radar in 1948, when Lauren Bacall sported a pair in the tropical noir flick Key Largo. The shoe was soon adopted by the post-war jet set and elevated to high fashion by Yves Saint Laurent.
Today the espadrille is as relevant as ever, and available in a wide array of interpretations. Somewhere between a loafer and a sandal, the design is a smart-casual summer staple. From wallet-friendly classic canvas executions to stylistic mashups to elevated suede numbers you can wear to a wedding without hesitation (so long as a body of water is in sight), these are the best espadrilles for our moment in the sun.