June 25, 2022

The story of the sneaker

The sneaker owes its name to the "Oc language" since it is from this region that it originated. Esparto designates a ring which would have made it possible to braid the first soles of the sneaker.

On the Spanish and French side
from the Pyrenean chain, one struggles to claim the invention of this modest shoe. It is likely that the Basque Country launched in the XVIIIe century this kind of light canvas bootie. Mercedes Larrabure, an Andalusian noble, is said to have launched the famous Basque espadrille, at the international level, in the middle of the XIXe century and would have made a fortune. But some sources argue that already in XIIIe century, the infantrymen of the army of King Aragon of Spain wore the espadrille ...

More amazing
A Swedish ethnologist by the name of Thorgal Hagström would have discovered in 1947 that a tribe from a small unexplored island in the southern hemisphere - San Perdadidas - was making the famous Basque espadrille with a disturbing similarity, based on local natural resources!

The village of Mauléon-Licharre
, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, seems to be the one who carries the know-how of the sneaker since 1850. Cheap and comfortable, the mining workers wore them. Sneakers, named ESPARTINAS according to the local dialect, were exported from 1880 to South America for the workers also. In 1911, nine factories manufactured these espadrilles with international diffusion and, today, it is still in Mauléon-Licharre that 65% of the French production is carried out.
Our advice
The espadrille, today, has evolved and many fashion designers have launched for several seasons the wedge sneakers, treasures of comfort that make us long legs!

How Sneaker Culture Went from Subculture to Mainstream – Sneakerheadz | Style | GQ (June 2022)