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The Revolutionary Wore: Espadrilles

  • Kempt Staff
The Revolutionary Wore: Espadrilles

Some wardrobe staples have gone in and out of style many times over the course of their existences. But on-trend or not, they’ll always have a place in our hearts, and likely always make their way back into our good graces at some point in the great wheel of style. We want to take a look at some of these eternal gems, where they came from and how you can get them now. We call it The Revolutionary Wore.

In this installment, we look at the platonic ideal of beachy footwear, the espadrille.

Wearing Summer Fabrics on Your Feet

  • Najib Benouar

Summer Shoes

By this time of year, white canvas sneakers are thick on the ground.

And while we’re fans of the simple, utilitarian pleasures of the common plimsoll, they’re nearing their saturation point—meaning, it’s about time you started venturing into the even summerier depths of footwear. Madras. Linen. Seersucker. Swimsuit material. All proven summer fabrics that have found their way onto shoes, so we rounded up your best options.

Your summer footwear, beyond the white canvas sneaker.»

Fell Off the Truck

  • Najib Benouar

Here’s something fresh in from Pitti Uomo that you won’t have to wait till 2013 to get your hands on: Manebí footwear.

They’re part espadrille (with a rope sole), part tuxedo slipper (some are embroidered with an octopus, for instance), and you can even get them in suede. They’re basically the physical manifestation of the spirit of Saint-Tropez. (Where they were designed, naturally.) Keep them handy for your next semiformal beach bonfire.

Take a closer look at some of our favorites after the jump.»

Joyce Verheyen Is Moving to the Country

  • Najib Benouar

Joyce Verheyenvia WBE

Playing the Field: An in-depth look at the cotton field jacket from “high-end Italian casualwear brand” Aspesi. [Die Workwear]

If They’re Good Enough for Crocket: Everything you ever wanted to know about espadrilles—from their origins to how you’ll look wearing them while holding a gun. [GQ]

Building Britches: Theorizing on the fit of your trousers, from a couple of fellows who ought to know: Ethan Desu and Mark Cho of the Armoury. [Put This On]

Hard Snyder: Mr. Lean makes a visit to Todd Snyder’s showroom. Handsomeness ensues. [ACL]


Maisa Faverovia YHBTI

Against the Mandal: Kurt Soller offers the espadrille as both a suggestion and a desperate plea that you not wear sandals. [Esquire]

Brunello Speaks: Simon Crompton talks with Brunello Cucinelli about the latter’s abiding love for soft, neutral colors. [Permanent Style]

Looking Good, Ariel: Some great shots from Justin Bridges. [Complex]

Massimo Overdrive: The new MP by Massimo Piombo is looking pretty sharp, guys. Heads up. [A Continuous Lean]

The Summer Dress Code

Silly Hat

You’ll be seeing a lot of summer gear in the blogodome over the next few weeks, and to the untrained eye it might seem like everyone’s going to spend the next three months in shades, shorts and brightly colored t-shirts.

Not so.

They’re all good things to have in your closet, provided you know when and where to break them out—but in the wrong hands, they're a faux pas waiting to happen.

So as a public service, we thought we’d share the sartorial code we live by during the summer.

Gentlemen, take notes»

Jute Force


We like patent loafers. We like espadrilles. But there is a larger issue at stake here, and we’re resisting the temptation to make it in all caps:

You can’t just mash together random shoes. Honestly.

We realize this is cheeky and deconstructivist and all those things, but there is no plausible reason for anyone to ever wear this shoe, other than to bask in the fact that they’re wearing something nonsensical. It’s even worse because jute soles are actually a cool thing if you’re dressing one notch above barefoot. But if you put a heel on them—or any material you don’t want to get sand on—they just look silly and pointless.

Kind of like this.

Julian Hibbard Moonlights as a Cactus Wrangler

Presumably, She Already Has a Favorite Biscotti: A worldwide search for the perfect cappuccino, in documentary form. [Lost at E Minor]

Give Them Enough Rope: Jesse Thorn settles on the perfect espadrille, and provides a frank put-down of Tom’s Shoes while he’s at it. [Put This On]

I Don’t Understand Why They Don’t Pick Up the Ball: Dave Eggers gives a quick rundown on the state of soccer in America. [Slate]

Just Because It’s Not Friday Yet: The Flaming Lips—with a backing orchestra, naturally—cover Yo La Tengo’s “Sugarcube.” [Pitchfork]

The Plimsadrille

  • Najib Benouar


In our continuing coverage of the summer shoe, we present you with the “plimsadrille” as we’ve begun to affectionately call it. A combination of an old standby in our summer footwear arsenal the plimsoll and a more recent favorite the espadrille, that should serve to meet your need for either.

On a recent trip to Uruguay, the fellows at Industry of All Nations stumbled upon a small factory producing these shoes by hand, exclusively, for the past century or so, and decided that these were too good to let live in obscurity forever. We totally agree. If you want to snag a pair for your weekend sunning, take a look at the list of boutiques that have already begun to carry the shoe, and if there aren’t any in your ‘hood, you’ve got a few webshop options as well.

And if you’re averse to portmanteaus, you can always just call them what they are: laced espadrilles. But where's the fun in that?

Drille-ing Down


With sockless weather in full swing, we’ve been rediscovering an Iberian alternative to mandals or the usual deck shoe. Welcome to the wonderful world of espadrilles.

A footwear tradition in the Pyrenees—where rugged ventilation is a necessity—espadrilles date back to the 1300s, but recent years have seen them adopted as a unisex shoe by high fashion crowds. While they're a common sight on the streets of Paris, they're still catching on stateside. The trick to the canvas wonders is the braided jute rope bottoms, both surprisingly soft and slick enough to keep the shoes from getting too funky over the course of the summer.

More on the rope-soled moc»