Take a Roman holiday with espadrilles that will make you feel like Audrey Hepburn!
One of the best aspects of the “Roman Holiday” costumes from Audrey Hepburn was her espadrilles. Her skimmers slipped on and laced up her leg, meeting her full-skirted bottom at about mid-calf.
They were casual, yet elegant; classic, yet cool-girl all at the same time. And guess what? You, too, can master that look this summer.
But what are espadrilles exactly? You may think of the braided fiber sole, but what distinguishes them from other shoes? Or you may have heard the term alpargatas, but how does that relate to espadrilles?
Pro Tip: what is a espadrille shoe?
Espadrilles, or alpargatas, are the same shoe, just in the term in French and Spanish.
Historically, they were flat shoes worn by men and women with a sole made of an esparto rope that’s made from the coarse, fibrous grass of the esparto plant and a canvas or cotton upper material.
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The Modern Take
Modern espadrilles aren’t far from their traditional counterparts, using a hemp or jute braided rope sole with rubber secured to the bottom for comfort and support while extending the life of the shoes.
The textile upper can be made of anything from cotton canvas to felts and fleeces.
The classic espadrille is still in very high demand. They are flat and either slip on with a simple backed silhouette, or they lace up the ankle.
That said, more modern styles have come to be in recent years that have taken the iconic favorite to new heights. Some sneakers now feature that signature braided jute sole, while others elevate you to flatform heights.
Viva Cabana Pick!
Best classic lace up espadrilles. Affordable and comes in 4 different colors!
We guarantee we’ve found the espadrille version of your favorite shoe.
Style Tip: summer style
Espadrille sandals are a fantastic alternative to the usual summer sandals and slides that are just as effortless but add extra style to any look.
RELATED: Our Favorite Designer Slides for Women
The world is your oyster, just make sure to dip your toe into the hemp base of a summertime espadrille this season and beyond.
Our Top Picks
Why We Love: The ease of an espadrille just got even better with these slip-into mules. Shop them in bright pink for a whimsical addition to your every summertime look.
You’ll love the part-bohemian, part-prepster vibe they exude.
Helpful Tip! For a more polished yet summery look, try pairing espadrille mules with linen pants or shorts with a collared shirt.
Best Espadrille Sneakers
Why We Love: Sneakers have gotten the espadrille treatment thanks to Superga, who crafted their iconic low-top lace-up sneakers with the addition of a jute braid around the foot.
While they might feel like your favorite everyday sneakers, they look just like espadrilles!
Helpful Tip!: If you like to rock sneakers year round these Supergas are the best way to try out espadrilles.
Why We Love: Leave it to Isabel Marant to harken back to the ultimate classics when it comes to espadrilles.
Though crafted in a pretty periwinkle floral pattern, the two-part fabric construction on top and woven jute sole is just like the espadrilles that have been worn for generations.
Best Socially Conscious
Why We Love: You already love Toms for their one-for-you, one-for-them business model, where shoes are donated to those in need with each purchase you make for yourself.
What’s more, the canvas upper is partially made of recycled cotton, making them environmentally conscious as well. Now you can do good while you look good—in your espadrilles, of course.
Best Subdued Femininity
Why We Love: When you can’t decide if you want to be edgy or sweet, shop these Alexandre Birman espadrilles.
They feature a chunky elevated sole for that ‘90s vibe, with three simple bow-tied leather straps crossing your foot for a more ladylike appeal.
Helpful Tip! We recommend sizing up, the brand runs small.
Best Go-Anywhere Option
Why We Love: The OG espadrilles looked a little something like this, and Boden has brought it back for your 2023 wardrobe and beyond.
This classic style is available in everything from a nautical-inspired stripes to paisleys to bright florals to fit any style.
Helpful Tip! With a slip-on style and flat jute sole, you can take these espadrilles anywhere, with little more than a sundress, all season long.
Best Budget Option
Why We Love: These black lace-up espadrilles can be effortlessly styled for day or night, pairing expertly with skirts and jean shorts alike, all summer.
And in black canvas, they feel elevated while also casual, depending on how you wear them. The best part is, at less than $35 they won’t break the bank.
Reviewers also love the price point and style: “This shoe is well made…The sole is stable and comfortable. The price was great for my budget.”
Best Classic Wedge
Why We Love: Wearing these Castaner espadrille heels, featuring that retro-style braided exterior, you’ll feel as though you’re Audrey Hepburn during “Roman Holiday.” And who doesn’t want that?
Helpful Tip! Show off the lace-up ankle straps and pair them with cropped white jeans or a midi-length summer skirt.
Best for a Lift
Why We Love: If you want a lift, but looking for a comfortable choice, shop these flatform espadrilles from See by Chloé.
With a simple black leather style, these flatforms are part sporty with a rubber base, and part sweet featuring that espadrille jute exterior.
Helpful Tip! The sporty black and white base is easy to dress up with a white jumpsuit or dress down with some linen shorts and your favorite tee.
Material: smooth calfskin
Best Retro Style
Why We Love: You’re likely familiar with Amazon’s brand, The Drop. Their permanent collection is chock full of trendy favorites, like these platform espadrille sandals.
They feature a slightly elevated heel and three leather straps that feel classic and retro, all at the same time.
Reviewers have worn these for practically every occasion: “I knew as soon as I put them on that these were going to be my favorite summer shoes. They look adorable with short and long sundresses and pants of various lengths.”
Material: 100% polyurethane
Why We Love: When you want a little bit of extra detail without going over-the-top, these are the espadrilles for you.
They’re flat, so they will remain comfortable all day long, but feature not only an ankle tie-up but also a grosgrain ribbon trim for a little bit of extra detail.
Helpful Tip! Pair these sweet espadrilles with a white midi dress for the ultimate breezy and effortless summer look.
Best Breton Stripes
Why We Love: The only thing more classic than a slip-on espadrille? A striped slip-on espadrille.
And, there’s no better place to go than Soludos, one of the best espadrille designers out there right now.
Helpful Tip! You’ll love these striped kicks in lieu of sandals or sneakers when wearing ankle crop jeans and sundresses alike.
Material: organic woven cotton, biodegradable jute midsole, rubber outsole
Why We Love: If you love a classic skimmer but looking for ways to make your everyday sneakers feel cooler, consider these from Tory Burch.
Not only do they feature a trendy platform sole, but they are also crafted with jute braiding and a stitched detail to look just like your favorite pair of espadrilles for summer.
Helpful Tip! Style these platforms the same way you would your white sneakers.
Best Mary Jane
Why We Love: Who knew that a pair of Mary Janes could be made the espadrille way?
Leave it to fashion house Marni to perfect the cool-girl look, featuring not only the iconic jute sole but also a chunky white base that takes the look to the next level.
Helpful Tip! Style these with some wide leg jeans to elongate your figure even more.
There’s a reason why espadrilles have been around for nearly 4,000 years. They’re effortless, comfortable, and fashionable.
Office style: Instead of a sandal this summer, try a mule or Mary Jane style with your favorite white work shirt or work dress.
Beach vacation: When you pack your beach sandals and sneakers, opt for an espadrille wedge or platform espadrille for your outings instead of a pair of heels.
Every day looks: Swap your slides for a classic flat espadrille or your sneakers with their espadrille counterpart.
Whether you’re throwing on your favorite jeans or linen dress, they’re guaranteed to add extra summer style to every look.
How to Pick
If you’re looking to add your first pair of espadrilles to your shoe collection, opt for a style you already know and love, be it a flat shoe or trendy platform Mary Jane.
What to Look for
A hemp sole is the signature of an espadrille. Better yet with a rubber base for durability and elongated wear.
Material: Most espadrilles are made of a heavy-weight canvas, though the material can certainly vary.
Fit: At first espadrilles might fit quite snugly, though they will all stretch.
Size: There is no one espadrille size. Some lace up, others slip on; the classics are slim skimmers, while more modern versions feature high heels or even flatforms.
Pro Tip 😎
Shop espadrilles with a rubber sole to preserve the natural jute sole of your espadrilles.
Whether you’re styling yours with a dress or skirt like Audrey Hepburn once did, or keeping them casual with a pair of Daisy Dukes, stock up on espadrilles of every color, shape, and size this summer.
What is an espadrille shoe?
Traditionally, an espadrille shoe is a canvas shoe with a braided hemp or jute sole. The sole itself has expanded in recent years to marry with the designs of sneakers and mules alike, so that classic definition has changed ever so slightly as of late.
What are the benefits of espadrilles?
Espadrilles are super durable. Many classic styles are sustainably natural, and they offer that carefree retro look that is still quite timeless.
Are espadrilles comfortable for walking?
While espadrilles are among the most comfortable of shoes, it must be noted that there is very little, if any, actual support in the shoes. So they might not be the best option if you’re planning a day of walking or even hiking.
What happens when espadrilles get wet? How do you clean them?
Espadrilles are very difficult to salvage when they get wet. Because of their braided jute soles, they take an awfully long time to dry and often warp when they do so.
What’s more, keep in mind that the canvas upper will shrink as they dry, so you should keep them stuffed while drying them out.
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