Launching The Espadrille

Have you ever celebrated something by “launching the espadrille“? Odds are you haven’t. To be honest, neither have I. In fact, it was only a couple of days ago that through a few taps on my phone I came across the following piece of news: “Saturday, September the 2nd, Cervera celebrated its traditional launching of the espadrille.” This statement was accompanied by photos of men, women, and children competing in who can throw a traditional jute-rope espadrille sole the farthest.

launching the espadrille
A local girl is “launching the espadrille“, taking part in a traditional competition that takes place in Cervera, an espadrille making hub in the Spanish region of La Rioja. Source:

Cervera Del Rio Alhama is a village in La Rioja, a famous wine and footwear producing region. It is home to an espadrille-producing collective. Most of Cervera’s residents are employed in the espadrille production business. The collective supplies espadrilles for many footwear brands, including some that are featured on this blog, like Vidorreta and Diegos.

launching the espadrille
This cheeky little espadrille sole is the official “face” of Cervera‘s espadrille making collective.

The little espadrille sole in the Cervera logo above is the very thing that this whole “launching the espadrille revolves around. As it turns out, this is a celebration that residents of Cervera put on every year. They literally take an espadrille sole, mark a starting line, organize themselves into categories, and let the games begin.

launching the espadrille
A little boy is keeping well behind the line as he launching his espadrille. Image source:

If you have read a few posts on this blog, you may have already noticed that the Spanish are very fun-loving people. Spanish shoe makers are no exception. They never cease to surprise me with the things they get up to, including this espadrille launching festival. I don’t know how much exactly a traditional jute-roped espadrille sole weighs, but definitely enough to travel quite a distance. Obviously, the organizers pick a relatively small one, so that it can have a better flying trajectory.

launching the espadrille
The sole itself is small, but weighty. How far will it get? It all depends on the contestant’s skill. Image source:
launching the espadrille
Image source:

Looking at the smiling faces made me forget that in PR parlance the word “launch” is usually associated with branding and promotion, as in “launching a campaign” or “launching a blog“. (It’s the same with the Spanish equivalent – “lanzar“). In Cervera launching the espadrille simply means hurling it as far as possible beyond the line. You may even win a little trophy. Most importantly, you are guaranteed a good laugh.

launching the espadrille
The proud winners of Cervera del Rio Alhama espadrille launching contest. Image source:

As we all know, laughter is the best recipe for happiness. People who make good shoes recognize that and that’s why you will never find a happy person wearing bad shoes. If I’ve learned anything in my four years of writing the Spanishoegallery Blog (it is hard to believe, but the blog is celebrating its fourth anniversary this year), it is that Spanish shoe makers know a thing or two about people and happiness. They may not be in the possession of the ultimate secret, but they are hovering very near it, I think. Writing about them has certainly made me happier. Not only because of the excellent shoes made by them (my entire shoe closet now consists of shoes Made in Spain), but also because of the people who I have met through writing the Spanishoegallery Blog.

It’s people like Naiara Elgarresta, an up-and-coming shoe designer from San-Sebastian, who is totally passionate about her craft, and Patricia (Patri) Jorge, a shoe blogger from the Canary Islands, who is a fountain of knowledge about shoe collections by both Spanish and international brands. It’s also people like Mariela Dabbah, the US-based author of Find Your Inner Red Shoes and the inspirational head of the Red Shoe Movement – a Hispanic women leadership empowerment program. All these women have supported and inspired me with their stories and their enthusiasm throughout this past year, as the blog was undergoing a very challenging and frustrating process of upgrade and optimization. When things seem shaky and uncertain I think of them. These women keep me going and I for that am deeply grateful.

launching the espadrille
Naiara Elgarresta of San-Sebastian, here attending the prestigious MICAM shoe fair in Milan as the shoe designer behind the espadrille brand Calzanor.
launching the espadrille
Patri Jorge, a prominent shoe blogger from the Canary Islands, Spain. Visit her blog at Los Zapatos de Patricia.
launching the espadrille
Mariela Dabbah (center), a women leadership advocate and creator of the Red Shoe Tuesday.

I am also grateful to all the people with whom I have had no contact whatsoever, but who inspire me daily. Like the people who comment on my blog, or the people launching the espadrille in the pictures above. Thank you for being out there and for continuously giving me reasons to write!

The Spanishoegallery Blog is looking forward to its fifth year. I will continue updating you on the hot new shoe collections and on the people who create them. I will also be introducing you more properly to brands that I have already mentioned many times on this blog, but who deserve closer attention. Among them, for example, are Sendra Boots and Angel Infantes from the Almansa region of Spain. I have to finally put Almansa on this blog’s Shoe Map!

Also huge thanks to my affiliate partners YOOX and FarFetch – entrepreneurial giants that include a lot of Spanish shoe designers in their impressive line-ups. And, last but not least, Sasha Naumov, the illustrator of this blog, for his friendship and his art.

Yours with Spanish shoes,



About Me

Ann Mailsi is a writer and social media buff based in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada. Her interests include fashion, technology, and nature adventures.

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