HANDMADE IN SPAIN, NICARAGUA & INDIA
Fashion has the ability to transport us to another time, another place, another life. When a brand is rooted in a culture something magical is created; the alchemy a unique combination of local craftspeople, locally sourced materials, and honored traditional designs and technique.
We are given the opportunity to cultivate a unique respect for the things we own if we listen to their story, understand their process, and know that our purchase means we are supporting the craft and livelihood of talented makers from around the world.
Our Summer Shoe Guide will take us from a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea to a lakeside artisanal province in Nicaragua, and finally to a renowned shoemaking region in India; their stories and makers more than worthy of sharing and supporting.
Spain | Pons crafts a centuries old avarca style design that was first intended to protect the feet of Spanish farmers. Often imitated throughout the years by various brands, there is no better pair of avarca sandals than those from Pons.
Made entirely in Spain from 100% Spanish materials, this sturdy and comfortable shoe is made from ethically raised Vecchio cattle, the soles made from recycled tires. Putting them through the gamut, we wore these sandals through a summer of Catalan coastal adventures last year; climbing rocks, hiking the coast, and playing by the surf, our shoes becoming more beloved and moulded everyday. (I also believe they contributed to me being graciously misidentified as a local all summer).
Crafted for generations exclusively by the Pons family in the Mediterranean Sea on the island of Menorca, their Pons family workshop in Cuitadella now employs about a dozen local craftspeople who have spent their entire lives crafting and honoring this iconic Spanish shoe.
Nicaragua | Adelisa & Co. began their company in the artisanal Masaya province of Nicargua; a region renowned for its basket weavers, painters, potters, hammock makers and shoemakers. Founders Rachel and Allison (who lives locally), first hired a talented local cobbler, Marvin, to help bring their sandals to life. In their countryside workshop just outside the bustling city, sitting alongside a picturesque volcanic landscape, Marvin now leads a team of about 20 cobblers.
Using time honored Nicaraguan shoe making techniques passed down through generations, every heirloom quality Adelisa & Co. shoe is cut, sewn, and molded entirely by hand. Their minimalist styled sandals are a visual and tactile treat but get even better with time, developing a lust-worthy patina thanks to their buttery soft texture and quality leather. Their craft holds up to my daughters' biggest adventures year round and the flood of compliments and inquiries they receive when wearing them. The adult versions are just as beautiful and understated, hugging your foot in just the right way.
Beauty and durability aside, at the heart of Adelisa & Co. is the creation of a safe, ethically run, fairly paid community of artisans who are cherished and honored in their profession. 10% of all proceeds are donated back to the local community in a variety of meaningful ways; from building homes, to installing electricity and running water, to medical, educational, and economic resources donated; the list goes on and on. Founders Rachel and Allison consistently and passionately support their team and the local young families they care so much about.
India | Mohinders are new to my closet this summer, but my love was forged quickly in a love at first sight moment. Rooted deep in the traditional shoemaking culture of the Karnataka region of India, 3rd and 4th generation cobblers and leather tanners hand weave every pair of shoes through a 27 step process. These heirloom shoes honor the heritage of this regional style as well as the environment; from the traditionally tanned buffalo leather, to their natural dyes and recycled packaging.
Often sharing new vs. worn images of Mohinders, the patina of a well loved pair is something to look forward to. Their re-soling program allows buyers to either send their well-loved pairs in for resoling, or request instructions and tips to hand to a local cobbler of choice, giving these shoes some serious lifetime value.
As consumers we have the ability to celebrate and support the work of master craftspeople from around the world. Every purchase we make is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in and the type of companies we want to continue on.
These brands not only create a well-made, gorgeous, detailed shoe, but also pay homage to the lands they hail from, allowing us to walk a literal few steps in someone else's shoes and listen to another person's story from somewhere we may have never visited. I encourage you to grab a second cup of coffee and continue on, visiting the makers we've put together on this list, diving deeper into their stories; I have merely scraped the surface here.
No affiliate profit is made from clicking through to these makers' sites. At Coco & Ives we only features brands we whole heartedly believe in and wear in everyday life, both on and off camera.
Adelisa & Co.