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The Fascinating History of the Avarca Sandal

The Fascinating History of the Avarca Sandal

It's hard to deny: the Avarca sandal is a popular style around the world. Equally comfortable and classy, the Avarca has grown in popularity to be known as a shoe that was made by the people, for the people.

In the late 1800's, on the small island of Menorca, Spain, a sandal that was produced by a peasant farmer quickly became the go-to shoe for an entire population.

Originally made from ox leather with an entire sole from the same leather, it was considered to be a fully functioning shoe that farmers on the small island could wear in the fields and around town. It kept their feet safe and allowed them footwear they could afford.

In fact, Avarcas were even sometimes used as payment for labor when there was no other way to pay.

They were perfect for the summer months for their open style. During the cooler winter months, they were stuffed with straw to insulate the owner's feet and allow them to continue to work and provide for their families.

Ultimately, the original Avarcas represented the ability to innovate and adapt to life in order to survive and thrive in the precarious working conditions peasants found themselves in.

But, when cars started to become popular in Menorca, guess what else they started to get a lot of?

You guessed it: tires!

By 1920, Avarcas started to have tire soles on them, which helped to confirm it as a wardrobe staple for those who needed hardy, comfortable shoes. 

And then, in 1955, the Avarca began to make it's way from the fields of Menorca to the shop windows of countless stores around the world. 

But what changed? Was it that some famous movie star showed up and did a photo shoot in them that went viral around the world?

No, it's even better than that: it was normal people choosing to recognize good style sense when they happened upon it. 

In 1955, a local middle-class family-run guest house in Menorca was using the original Avarcas for their guests to walk along the rocky beach. However, the original style was bulky and heavy, not considered suitable for the female tourists. 

A local shoemaker was commissioned to make a less bulky, more feminine version of the shoe for their guests. As a result, the international guests fell in love with their Avarcas and began to take them back with them all over the world. 

A simple little idea that started out of necessity has become a major staple in many of our shoe wardrobes around the world.

One good idea can have endless possibilities. When we wear our Avarcas, we think not only about how much we love them; we think of the rich history behind what we own. 

At Brave Soles, our Avarcas have handcrafted leather uppers and made with the same, simple upcycled tire soles that we use on all of our shoes. They are loved around the world and they are one of our most popular choices with our customers. 

Customers tell us they love them for their simplicity and comfort.

We love them for the story of creative innovation and empowerment that they represent. 

Comments on this post (1)

  • May 11, 2018

    Avarca is my favourite shoe. Simple, soft and sophisticated whether I am walking or siding my scooter. They go with me and support my lifestyle.

    — DONNA J. WATERHOUSE

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