Avarcas, also known as abarcas and Menorquinas are flat peep toe sandals hand crafted with tradition and passion. Avarcas are sandals for women as well as for men. They have become very popular in recent years and I would like to tell you a bit about the tradition and history they have behind.
It all started in a Mediterranean island called Menorca, in Spain. It looks like the first people to wear this type of shoes were Hannibal’s forces in the war against the romans. Hannibal was a Punic military commander from Carthage.
Later on, the “avarcas” became so popular among peasants in Menorca. The shoes were what they needed, strong and resistant but flexible at the same time. They were ideal to protect their feet while cultivating the soil.
In the beginning this shoes were totally made by leather and were hand sewn. However, throughout the 20th century tyre soles were introduced to strengthen the shoes. Tyre soles made the shoes more durable and resistant, and also made the avarcas so popular.
We can still find some avarcas with tyre soles nowadays, but the vast majority are made with rubber pretending is tyre. Of course manufactures don’t want to lose the original feel.
Their primitive look and use has evolved and changed throughout the years. Time has made them the fashionable design they are today.
Nowadays you can find different variations of the basic traditional design, which are suitable to different people with different taste. You can find the avarcas in Flat, wedge, plain colours, and patterns and also with buckle straps or Velcro.
The great thing about the traditional model is that the shoes are unisex, it’s great to have sandals for women and men. Therefore it’s very easy to find large sizes for women. You might be limited to the traditional colours but at least we have some choices. I’ve noticed some of the brands are already stocking the newer, girlier designs up to size 42EU though. I’ll be sharing my findings shortly with you all.
A few years ago, avarcas were only popular in Menorca and in mainland Spain. I had the pleasure to grow up there and I remember having a different pair every summer when I was a child. They were so resistant that I used to inherit my sister’s, until she started to inherit mine. Even if I’m younger, my feet were and are bigger than hers!
It’s a different story nowadays. The avarcas have gained such popularity in recent years that are now widely recognised. I’m sure they are not called avarcas everywhere and not many people know about their origin. But as a proud Islander I had the responsibility to inform you. 🙂
Have you ever heard of avarcas? Do you like them? Did you know about their origin? Please leave your comments below, I would love to hear from you.