Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Splurge of the Moment: Viscata Espadrilles

I'm not gonna lie: Toms are overrated. Every hipster, woman and child owns one, and it hasn't dawned on them that those shoes are actually inspired from espadrilles. Enter Viscata, a brand that supplies real deal espadrilles that are hand-made in Spain. Indeed, they are hand-made. In Spain. Which means no sweatshop or child labor issues.

For every purchase, Viscata helps fund Trees for the Future, a non-profit organization that plants trees to areas "devastated by deforestation and global climate change." Stylewise, these shoes are my go-to for summer because they're very breathable. They're also easy to wear, easy to style and easy on the laundry--I'm actually saving money not washing socks every so often.

Viscata has espadrilles for the whole family!

If you're interested in owning a pair of Viscata espadrilles, you'd be thrilled to know that they offer a variety of styles. From the basic espadrille like mine (called the Barcelona) to more sporty variants and even heeled versions, there's practically an espadrille for the whole family.

Since Viscata espadrilles are made in Europe, the sizing, aptly, is also European. When I ordered mine, I decided to size down to a 42 (U.S. size 9) despite the website's suggestion that I order a 43. Guess what, the website was right--it came out tighter than ideal. The good thing is the material (the upper is made of denim and the sole out of jute) is capable of stretching to better mold my feet.

After hitting the pavement, the beach, and even (relatively) rocky terrain for a couple of days, my espadrilles became soothingly worn. Despite my derelict usage, there were no tears to be found! That's what I call craftsmanship. Still, Viscata discourages wearing espadrilles during the wet seasons. Getting these shoes exposed to moisture can unravel the jute sole, which will ruin the whole shoe.

Viscata Barcelona retails for $29 (excluding taxes and shipping) in Viscata's website. If you prefer French-made espadrilles, check out RopeySoles. Their espadrilles retail for approximately $32 (their pricing is in British pounds and this includes shipping to the U.S.).

European espadrilles tend to fetch higher prices.

Apparently, espadrilles from Spain and France can fetch a higher price tag. For something more or less of a bargain, there is New York-based Soludos. At $26 for the Dali style, they're a steal! I must disclose that Soludos manufactures espadrilles in China although Soludos ensures that manufacturers operate "under sound labor conditions, pay fair wages and follow local labor standards." (FAQ) For conscientious consumers, this ought to be tantamount.

Get these espadrilles while they're hot. Better yet, friend Viscata on Facebook!

Images from (3) and Nico (2)

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