The landscapes of La Rioja. Photo credit:

La Rioja, the autonomous region in north-central Spain, is known throughout the world for its fine wine of the same name. That said, La Rioja is also a notable footwear producer. The Neosens brand from Quel is known for its extravagant Baroque-inspired designs. The Art brand, also from Quel, targets the metropolitan urban crowd with cheeky, street-art inspired footwear. The brand Gaimo from Arnedo opts for simplicity and subdued elegance, producing espadrille-inspired sandals with quality leather uppers. The Jose Saenz Shoes brand, also from Arnedo,  makes technologically innovative edgy urban footwear, with a strong emphasis on comfort and practicality. Another Arnedo-based brand and also technology-driven, Callaghan, specializes in performance footwear that can range from sporty to urban, using a variety of textured leathers used in the manufacturing of fashion shoes.

The village of Cervera del Rio Alhama functions as an umbrella brand for several espadrille makers. The word “espadrille” or “espardenya” comes from esparto, a tough reed that was used to make the sole. Today the traditional rope soles are made from jute, also a natural fiber. Cervera brands include Suyute, Aedo, Vidorreta and others.

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