Espadrilles are classic summer shoes that can be perfect for casual wear during the warmer months.
The following guide covers everything you need to know about Men’s Espadrille Shoes including:
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Best Espadrilles For Men
What Are Espadrilles?
Espadrilles are traditionally sandals with canvas uppers and a sole made from esparto rope. Originally worn by dock workers in Spain and France, the shoes have developed significantly over the years. The canvas upper has been retained and expanded upon (you can now find lace-up espadrilles, for example), and the soles are now made from jute.
Their end use has gone from labor to leisure, too. They’re beach shoes.
Top 10 Best Espadrilles (Men)
Åpoint currently offer the best quality and most traditional espadrilles that you can easily buy online. Crafted in Alicante, just down the coast from Barcelona, they’re crafted by only 10 expert artisans from a workshop that has been family-owned for three generations.
These artisans are among the last traditional rope makers in the region and the quality of their work is reflect in their robust espadrilles. Although canvas models are available, we’re extremely fond of the calfskin leather version, which are comfortable, supple, and breathe well even in the summer.
Named after Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, who was known to wear a pair of espadrilles himself, the Original Dali is Soludos’ signature shoe and embodies the traditional style of the espadrille.
These classic espadrilles feature a canvas upper that is available in a Natural Beige color (see above), as well as Navy Blue, Charcoal Gray and Black. If you’re looking for your first pair of espadrilles then we’d recommend going with beige and pairing them with some lightweight chino pants or shorts for a casual summer look.
Polo Ralph Lauren does a great job with their take on the espadrille shoe. The Barron Twill Espadrille features a washed twill upper that gives the shoe a distinct faded look that would be expected after several seasons in the sun, sea and sand. The breathable fabric is perfect for when you need casual and comfortable footwear on a hot summer day.
We really like the Newport Navy color for a preppy beach look, however you can also opt for other colors including soft grey, light tan, black or haricot.
Soludos Convertible Originals have a classic espadrille design with a convertible heel counter for extra versatility and functionality. These shoes can be worn just like traditional espadrilles, but feature a leather heel counter that can be pushed down so that you can wear them like a pair of slides.
We’re particularly fond of the dark navy blue and white fine striped pattern shown above, however these are also available in a solid dark gray canvas material with a beige heel counter.
TOMS University Classics are a fun take on the popular Seasonal Classics by TOMS. These striped espadrilles feature the same traditional characteristics of the Seasonal Classics, like a canvas upper and rope sole, but in a fun striped color combinations.
We like the blue and white striped pattern above, but there are several other great color options available as well.
TOMS Deconstructed Alpagarta Rope is another well-made espadrille shoe from TOMS with tons of versatility. These comfortable slip-on espadrilles are available in several canvas colors including the Black Washed Canvas shown above, as well as navy blue suede and mid-brown suede options.
Overall they’re a great casual footwear option during the warmer months and can even be paired with jeans or chinos for a more stylish look on a cool summer’s eve.
The Soludos Smoking Slipper is another quintessentially summer shoe with a slip-on design. This particular pair features a palm tree embroidery on the upper which is perfect for laid-back summer occasions.
Soludos also makes these in plenty of other fun summer-inspired designs, such as a beige canvas with blue waves or beige canvas with surfboard and van combo.
The New Prill Slip-On by Ben Sherman is a cool take on the classic espadrille shoe. These slip-ons feature a canvas upper and jute midsole with a low-cut design which gives them a more contemporary look.
We favor the natural beige color for a classic espadrille style, but you can also purchase these shoes in navy blue and charcoal grey.
Espadrille History, Or “Those Are Men’s Shoes?”
It’s no secret that espadrilles have become ubiquitous in the women’s fashion world. As a good-looking, comfortable alternative to a sneaker, it’s an incredibly popular shoe for women. The ladies can get them in any version imaginable, from wedges to strappy sandals.
Their history, however, puts them on the feet of men. Dating back as early as the 14th century, these shoes were worn by dock workers in the Pyrenees region of France and Spain. In fact, the etymology of the word espadrille is based on the material from which the soles were made: esparto rope. Here’s the briefest foreign language lesson you’ll ever receive:
- French: espadrille
- Spanish: esparteña
- Catalán (language native to the Catalonia region of Spain): espardenya
One of the oldest pair of shoes ever discovered was a pair of flip-flops made from esparto rope.
Though they saw their beginnings as shoes for dock workers and then urban laborers, espadrilles are now considered classic beach wear. Many Spaniards (men and women alike) wear them in the spring and summer months around town, and Tom’s has a version whose popularity has skyrocketed in the U.S. in recent years.
How To Wear Espadrilles
Espadrilles are relatively unstructured and thus should be worn casually. No suits, no dress trousers, and certainly no evening wear. The only exceptions we can think of are two-fold:
- You’re getting married on the beach and are wearing a linen suit with no tie.
- You are Don Johnson playing Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice
Don’t wear socks with espadrilles. This defeats the purpose entirely.
Casual shoes are often best paired with casual outfits. Espadrilles work particularly well with:
- Bathing trunks and other beach wear
- Casual trousers (perhaps for an outdoor brunch outing in the summertime)
As you’ve probably deduced, the espadrille is not a shoe that plays nicely with temperatures that dip below 75 degrees. Here’s our season-by-season breakdown with color suggestions:
- Spring: If it’s a warm enough spring day, try these in a beige, grey, or denim-y blue
- Summer: Try any color available, have some fun
- Autumn: N/A
- Winter: You are pretty much begging the universe for frostbite if you choose to wear espadrilles in the winter
Espadrilles Versus Flip-Flops
These shoes can be a tough sell for some men. When most guys think summer shoes, they think of the flip-flops they’ve owned for years but will simply not get rid of. They’re comfortable and the epitome of easygoing. We understand.
Espadrilles succeed in a place where flip-flops can fail, however: city wear. Many arguments are made against wearing flip-flops in town, not the least of which is a lot of folks’ revulsion at seeing men’s nearly-bare feet in public. Whether or not this revulsion is well-deserved is a discussion for another place and time, but know that it exists and it makes a strong case for espadrilles.
If you have feet that are perhaps a bit unsightly, espadrilles are a lifesaver in the summer months. Lighter than a regular shoe, they’re easier to wear in sweltering heat. Offering more coverage than flip-flops, your toe fungus will go unnoticed.
*Editor’s Note:* Do something about that toe fungus, man. It’s a medical issue.
Finally, espadrilles can actually be worn like flip-flops by simply folding the quarters down. This is a particularly popular look in the South of France where people often wear espadrilles as alternatives to slippers.
To Own Or Not To Own?
Espadrilles are not a shoe we’d recommend for most guys who are beginning to build their shoe wardrobes. It’s not terribly versatile and can’t be worn to most offices.
Not everyone fits into that mold, however. If you live in a mild or hot climate (the American South or Southwest, southern Europe, southeast Asia, etc.), an espadrille could be a great everyday, knock around shoe. They’re quite inexpensive relative to other shoe styles, and they’ll lend your outfit a smart look when the weather is right.
If it’s your tenth shoe to buy or if you live somewhere that’s warm all the time, you should own an espadrille.
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"Great guide! I love wearing espadrilles in the summer and appreciate the excellent suggestions."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★