The Surprising History (and Stylish Present Day) of Castañer Espadrilles

Summer heat! Can you feel it? There is something very comforting about this heat. I don’t know about you, but my whole attitude changes. Long, hazy, hot days mixed with dresses, sunscreen, less makeup, less hair-doing…and espadrille wedges. I would throw in a glass of wine with that vignette but for this mama-to-be it’s an ice-cold lemonade on the rocks.

But let’s talk shoes because we just got a new shipment of the most adorable and affordable espadrille wedges and it’s got me really excited! Having never heard about the Castañer brand before, I wanted to do some research to write this post, and, wow, the line’s backstory is pretty interesting, if I do say so myself.

An original Spanish espadrille maker, Castañer dates as far back as 1776. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Spain’s government nationalized the company and soldiers were sent to fight at the front wearing “seven-ribbon espadrilles.”

Fast forward to the 1960s and the next generation of Castañers take over. Lorenzo Castañer and his wife Isabel refocused the business with the same, simple espadrille design but added color (let’s think 1960s). Then, at a trade fair in Paris, Lorenzo and Isabel were approached by a man named Yves Saint Laurent, yes, that Yves Saint Laurent, who had, coincidentally, been looking for months for someone to make him a wedge espadrille.

Well, he found his perfect match.


“If Yves Saint Laurent wanted a wedge espadrille, a wedge espadrille he would have!”

— Lorenzo Castañer


As they say, the rest is history, and I can safely attest they know what they are doing when it comes to making espadrille wedges! I recently purchased the Bluma style in Champagne and it has been my go-to since. Here are the styles we got in — and they’re going fast — so if you need a new espadrille in your life make your way over to The Shoe Hive and try some on.

Cheers to a new summer shoes!


  • The latest from Katie
Born and raised in Texas, Katie graduated from The University of Arizona with a major in Retail & Consumer sciences and has worked for numerous other big name retail brands. Wanting something family-oriented, with a close tie to its community and its customers brought her looking for work in Old Town. Prior to getting back into the retail world, Katie was the Vice President of Sales for her family’s company in the Scrap Metal Recycling industry. Trading her hardhat and boots for Ulla Johnson dresses and Vince sneakers, she has found her perfect fit at The Shoe Hive & The Hive. Katie and her husband Ryan moved to the Alexandria area in 2016 with their two dogs and are currently expecting their first child.

Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.

The Shoe Hive                         The Hive
127 S. Fairfax Street               301 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
              Alexandria, VA 22314

703.548.7105                          703.548.7110

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Jaime Stephens says:

    Loving them all!

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