Spring is upon us and that means summer is not too far away. It’s that time of year when almost everyone wants a fresh haircut and a change in their wardrobe. And if you just so happen to need a new shoe for the advent of warm weather, we suggest the espadrille. A shoe with historic ties to Catalonia and Basque Country going back centuries, the espadrille has always been a staple in those regions. And with its capture on the silver screen in the costumes of leading ladies like Rita Hayworth and Lauren Bacall, the espadrille grew in popularity around the world during the 1940s. Now a classic in the footwear lexicon, espadrilles are a warm-weather must-have.
It’s no secret that espadrilles have evolved over the decades. Now a favorite for frolicking in warmer climates, almost every brand has its own spin on the ever-popular shoe. To help you select the best espadrille, we’ve enlisted the expertise of stylist Marissa Pelly. Having worked with celebrity clients like Nicky Hilton and with publications including Hypebeast and Complex, Pely is no stranger to understanding the versatility and nuances of different pieces. And she has the best advice on how to navigate well-loved espadrilles.
Meet the Expert
“I think what attracts people most to espadrilles for summer is that they are comfortable and breathable while also being elevated,” Pelly explained. “Espadrilles are a great alternative to a flat sandal or flip flop. Summer style [and] vacationing style is all about being comfortable and chic. That's where the espadrille shines.”
And, of course, Pelly has her own preferred way of styling the shoe. “I love a flat, slip-on espadrille paired with a silky tailored pant or matching lounge set,” she continued. “Espadrilles are perfect for a relaxed look or vacation vibe.”
Since there are easily hundreds of options from different brands, we’ve made a list of the top styles that fit anyone’s needs—check out the best espadrilles below.
Best Overall: Castañer Carina Wedge Espadrilles
With a 2.5-inch wedge heel, the Carina espadrilles have duality as a comfortable and fashionable shoe for a reasonable price of around $140. Made in Spain, these iconic espadrilles were first made in the 1970s, originally commissioned by the one and only Yves Saint Laurent—and haven’t gone out of style since. Because they’re only available in whole sizes, we recommend going up a size if you typically wear a half size.
Material: Canvas, leather, jute, cotton, rubber | Colors: Black, Ivory, Sand, Azul Marin +more | Size: US 5-11
Best Budget: ASOS DESIGN Jane Mary-Jane Espadrilles
These Mary Jane espadrilles are a great budget option with a below-$40 price point that doesn’t sacrifice style.
Material: Faux leather and other materials | Colors: Black, White | Size Range: US 4-11
Best Statement: Solana Beige Cotton Borneo Artisanal Espadrille Shoes
These $286 espadrilles combine the shape of the classic shoe with a fun design detail that makes them a statement piece.
Material: 100% jute | Colors: Beige | Size Range: US 6-11
Best Designer: Chanel Espadrilles
This wouldn’t be a roundup of espadrilles without mentioning the fan-favorite Chanel espadrilles. While the storied fashion house releases new renditions of the classic shoe each year, the original style deserves a spot on this list—if you have $800 to spare.
Material: Lambskin and grosgrain | Colors: Black, Cream, Navy +more | Size: EU 35-40
Best Platform: Stella McCartney Gaia Logo Strap Espadrille
You get the best of both worlds with the Gaia espadrille. Sustainability and a 2-inch platform make up this $595 modern take on the warm-weather shoe.
Material: Textile and rubber | Colors: Deep Black, Camelia/White, Mango/Orange, Silver | Size: US 5-11
Best Flats: Marc Jacobs The Mouse Espadrille Lace-Up Flat
While these Marc Jacobs espadrilles certainly have personality, they’re a perfect flat for walking around town that also meets your sartorial needs.
Material: Leather and synthetic fabric | Colors: Black, Navy, Light Pink | Size: US 5-11
Best for Work: Journee Collection Monte Espadrille Wedge Sandal
Don’t be intimidated by the 3-inch wedge heel on these espadrilles. The Monte pair from Journee is composed of espadrille staple canvas along with a comfort footbed and an ankle tie that provides flair and stability support. And they’re not too expensive for a work commute—at around $60, they’re OK to wear down and replace after long wear.
Material: Canvas and faux leather | Colors: Light Brown, Black, Navy, Coral | Size: US 5.5-12
Best for Vacation: Brother Vellies Whiskey Lace Up Huarache
Huaraches technically aren’t espadrilles, but we couldn’t leave this pair from Brother Vellies out of the mix. With handwoven leather made in Mexico, these are perfect for a summer trip.
Material: 100% leather | Colors: Brown | Size: US 5-12
Best Value: Soludos Dali Espadrille
Would this be a roundup for espadrilles if Soludos wasn’t mentioned? Of course, the ever-popular Dali espadrille is on the list—with organic materials and an accessible price point, these are a great value.
Material: Organic woven cotton, braided jute, and rubber | Colors: Black, White, Chambray, Red Stripe, Sunshine Stripe +more | Size: US 5-11
Most Comfortable: Dr. Scholl's Sunray Slip-On Espadrille Sneaker
When it comes to comfort, Dr. Scholl's is always top of mind. These shoes have the look of espadrilles with the support and cushion that makes Dr. Scholl's renowned.
Material: Jute and insole technology | Colors: Black, Lemon Meringue +more | Size: US 6.5-11
Best Mary Jane: Free People Surfside Mary Jane Espadrilles
Mary Janes are a fun shoe to add to your wardrobe if you like retro style. These under-$150 espadrilles have the look of Mary Janes with styling and composition that makes them the perfect summertime shoe.
Material: Canvas and rubber | Colors: Natural, Saffron, Red, White, Blue | Size: US 6-11
Best Sustainable: Alohas Ibizas Espadrilles
It’s nearly impossible to have a sustainable shoe on the list without mentioning Alohas. Based in the Balearic region of Spain, the slow fashion brand may be more known for their boots, but these espadrilles are a great option for espadrille lovers that don’t want to contribute to fast fashion.
Material: 100% leather | Colors: Camel, Ivory, Black +more | Size: EU 35-42
What to Look for in a Pair of Espadrilles
It’s no secret that there are several versions of espadrilles available to shop everywhere. Since there are so many options, it’s important to note what you want and need in your espadrille. Whether it’s a flat sole for easy walkability or a platform for extra height, it’s good to know what will work best for you.
At the same time, fabrication also matters—do you prefer satin, leather, suede, or the traditional canvas? While this adds variety, it also makes deciding that more difficult. But the great thing about all of these is the range of prices. You can always find espadrilles if you’re on a budget or willing to splurge.
What are espadrilles?
Once known as a peasant shoe of Spain, espadrilles were utilitarian footwear. Made of a canvas upper and a jute sole, the shoes were relatively easy to produce for cobblers. They were even once associated with rebellion during the Catalan independence movement and the Spanish Civil War. Over time, they’ve become a fashion statement with the addition of ankle ties and luxe fabrications, but they’ll always have their revolutionary roots.
How do you tie espadrilles?
If your espadrilles have long ties, it can be confusing how to situate them. If that’s the case with your shoes, stylist Pelly prefers to tie any ribbons or strings to the back, creating a sleek, slimming line to the leg.
How do you wear espadrilles with jeans?
Of course, it’s always best to embrace your own style go-tos, but if you’re at a loss, then the expert has an easy solution. “With denim, I would style espadrilles with a relaxed fit boyfriend jean that tapers at the ankle, a simple tee, and layered jewelry for an easy relaxed look,” Pelly says.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Mallori Albright has six years of experience writing fashion and beauty content and is also a lover of espadrilles for vacation and strolling around New York City. You can check out more of Mallori’s work at Marie Claire and NYLON Magazine.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough espadrilles from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.