A simple leather sandal is the keystone of summer basics, especially in and around the Mediterranean. To somebody from the Mediterranean, a big part of summer enjoyment comes from being able to move around freely, with comfort and ease. Stylistically, this translates into minimalist design and an almost fanatical preoccupation with quality, beauty, and practicality of the materials. The classic Mediterranean sandal has not changed much since the times Romans ruled there – summer basics around those shores are still pretty much the same. Spain (or Hispania as the Romans called it) has a great supply of designers who come up with infinite variations on this basic sandal and skilled artisans who make it. You don’t have to live near the Mediterranean to be inspired by the Mediterranean art of life. We all look forward to enjoying the summer and we all try to get the most out of it.
Naguisa is a young Barcelona-based company that wants to draw the attention of the world to the universality of the espadrille. Instead of viewing the espadrille as a “local flavor” type of shoe, the brand aims to demonstrate espadrille’s strong points – its ruggedness, its natural appeal, its ecological friendliness, and the creative opportunities it presents. Naguisa also strives to show that these strengths can be successfully merged with the newest advances in footwear, from the point of view of both fashion and technology.
This Naguisa sandal is carefully hand-crafted from pliable terracotta colored leather straps that hug your foot with the help of two buckles in the back. At the same time, it is also very airy. The sandal features a white EVA sole (EVA is a plastic material that has the softness and flexibility of real rubber while being lighter and more shock absorbent than rubber). It also has a jute rope layer sewn in between the sandal and the outer sole. The layered sole lifts the sandal from the ground giving it a bit of a platform. The Naguisa website ships to many countries worldwide.
RAS is a specialist in extravagantly embellished shoes, but with this sandal, it proves that it is also good at summer basics. Of course, the brand’s showy DNA still comes through in the rhinestone setting of the buckles. Just a reminder: RAS designs are on the narrower side, so ordering one size up may help.
Beatriz Furest is known for its minimalist design style and beautifully finished leather. The brand prides itself on the artisan quality of its shoes and bags. The “Marina” sandal is also available in white, turquoise, white & denim, and hunter green.
The last sandal from this summer basics collection comes from a Spanish brand that, like the Naguisa brand above, is young (established 2011) and has not yet been featured on this blog. It is called Abarca Shoes and it is based in Murcia, an artisan tradition-rich region in southeastern Spain (the brand Espartéame that creates beautiful interior decoration objects from esparto grass is also from there).
Abarca Shoes uses both leather and textile for its designs, which largely include bluchers and slip-on type of shoes for both women and men. The brand is strongly committed to sustainable production practices.
And another thing about these summer basics sandals and the Mediterranean spirit. One of the reasons for the sandals’ simplicity is that they are there to showcase your feet. The Spanish definitely have a bit of a foot fetish. Whether it is a woman or a man, they appreciate nice-looking, healthy feet. They fuss over their feet and design shoes that take care of them. And that’s a great add-on value if you ask me! Wearing Spanish shoes exclusively in the past four-plus years has really improved the overall condition of my feet.
I’m sure that the sandals from the above list will not disappoint. Whichever of them you like best depends on your individual taste. My favorite this round is the one by Naguisa, but that’s just me. All these brands deliver to North America. (By the way, like with all other brands I feature, none of them paid me to feature their shoes, so all choices are completely mine).
Happily awaiting summer days,