Once peasant footwear, espadrilles have grown in popularity, especially in the Catalan region and the Basque countries, where many men and women wear them during the spring and summer months. Designer espadrilles are now widely available. They are usually manufactured in Spain and South Asia. Modern espadrilles are predominantly for women, though some men’s shoes are made in this style.[divclear]
The soles of espadrilles may be flat, platform, or wedge shaped made of natural fiber. 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.[divclear]
Wedge shaped espadrilles were first popularized by French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. At a trade fair in Paris in 1970, he came into contact with the Spanish espadrille manufacturer Castañer. Yves Saint Laurent had been looking in vain for months for someone to make him a wedge espadrille. Castañer managed to interpret Yves Saint Laurent’s vision and the wedge espadrilles were an instant hit, influencing fashion even today.