People who worked the land needed comfortable shoes that would hold their feet tightly, and espadrilles were perfect for that.
Esparto grass, due to its rustic and hard sensation, gave way over time to the hemp, with the soles feeling soft and gentle. Ideal for stepping into the garden, climbing rocks, or walking the narrowest paths.
It is a resistant and off-road shoe, but you have to know how to clean, conserve, and maintain it. That is why we at La Manual Alpargatera have decided to share some tips to prolong their life.
There were no washing machines in the past. Today they can save time and effort. Before following our recommendations, make sure your espadrilles are sewn to the sole and not glued.
We usually only recommend washing flat and single wedge espadrilles. If so, go ahead. Use a short program with cold water. The idea is to spin cycle them several times to get off as much water as possible, speed up drying, and improve conservation.
To finish drying them, you can leave them in the open air, avoid the sun, which could dull their color.
If you dry them in the sun, face the soles upwards to protect the canvas from the sun's rays and speed up drying on the sole, as this is where most water accumulates.
**Remember that the espadrilles with flat soles at 3 cm can be put in the washing machine, only if they are sewn by hand.**
Normally, espadrilles should be left a bit loose so that when you wash them, they do not become small, as they are made (or all of them or their lining) of cotton, which tends to shrink.
In the case of high-heeled espadrilles, you better not take any chances. They are usually two pieces stuck together with glue that, with the detergent and the movement of the washing machine, could soften them and they could come off.
The washing machine is not the best solution for double-soled espadrilles (platforms) for the same reason. We do not recommend it.
How to keep them and maintain them?Espadrilles are made of natural plant fibers, for optimal conservation, it is best to use them on dry soils. With water, the sole could become soaked, and, with the weight of the body, it could end up deforming. If this happens, you should wash them and dry them as soon as possible.
Be careful if you do it by hand, it will be challenging to get rid of the excess water because it will take longer to dry, and they could be more exposed to humidity, which could damage them.
Also, as we have already mentioned, we recommend that you spin the shoes several times and let them dry in the open air (remember that it is always better in the shade so that the sun does not change the color of the canvas)
The canvas of the espadrilles usually dries faster than the soles. Drying them in the sun can be change the color of white espadrilles. If they are exposed to the sun too long, they can get a yellowish shade (the longer the soles are soaked when washing them - the higher the chance of this happening. This is why we recommend a short wash with cold water).
To remedy this, once the sole is completely dry, you can rub a little lye (chlorine) reduced with water (50%) to return its white color. Never dry lye in the sun!
Another trick is to put newspaper inside espadrilles to help absorb any excess of water while preventing them from losing their shape.
Don't just wash them, pamper them. In La Manual Alpargatera, we defend the craft. We believe that doing things with our own hands brings value and unique personal touch.
We encourage you to make your own cotton or linen bags filled with your favorite aromatic herb. Your could us lavender, rosemary, fennel, or even dried roses.
1. Cut a small piece of fabric into a square.
2. Fill the center with the herb or dried flower petals.
3. Finally, tie the material with a ribbon and put them inside your espadrilles.
If you don't have that much time, you can replace these bags with natural and organic essential oils, ideal for personalizing the smell of your espadrilles. It is as easy as applying a few drops on a piece of fabric and leaving it inside the espadrilles while they rest, thus avoiding oiling the jute. Besides, these oils will also improve the health of your feet.
We recommend using quality essences you know of. It can be any essence that suits you, tea tree, lemon, rosemary, or orange blossom, to name a few examples.
These little tricks will be perfect for autumn or winter. When storing espadrilles for the next season or any other reason, remember that your best option is to place them in a cardboard box, away from humidity, next to a small aromatic bag or a little bit of your favorite essence. That way, when you want to get them back, they will be waiting for you in perfect condition and incredibly scented.
The best thing about an espadrille is the comfort it provides. In recent years we have seen a growing demand for insoles and foam to be added to this type of footwear, to feel the soft insoles from the very first moment. However, jute is a material that becomes more comfortable as time goes by and therefore does not need any accessories if we have a little patience.
Walking barefoot on jute is a bit like walking on beach and sand. Learning to enjoy espadrilles "au naturel," as they are, will help us to benefit more from their advantages.