Once peasant footwear, espadrilles have grown in popularity, especially in Catalonia and the Basque Country, where many men and women wear them during the spring and summer months. Espadrilles can now be found designed by top designers such as Donna Karan, Pare Gabia etc.
The soles of espadrilles may be flat, platform or wedge shaped, and can be made of natural fiber or synthetic fiber rope, or flexible synthetic materials cast to resemble rope. Uppers may be made from nearly any substance, and may have open or closed toes, open or closed backs, and can be slip-on or tied to the ankle with laces. Thousands of varieties of espadrilles can be found, from inexpensive bargain brands to high priced designer brands.
The manufacture of espadrilles is generally more complex than that of sandals. The jute soles are the most critical part. The jute twines are first machine braided. These braids are then manually formed into the shape of the sole and hydraulically pressed with heat to form the final shape, and completed with vertical stitching. These basic soles are then vulcanized underneath. EVA foam or wooden heels are glued in place and more jute braids are wrapped around it to complete the soles. Uppers of different styles are then built on the jute soles to complete the espadrille.