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A quest for the perfect men’s espadrilles

There’s something fun about doing a piece on men’s espadrilles — in large part because the term is inexplicably hard to pronounce.

But what an easy pair of shoes it is to sport.

The espadrille: a casual cotton or canvas slip-on shoe that originated in Spain and has been a Catalan favourite for centuries. Some dub it the ideal summer shoe, whilst others know it to be the perfect balance of comfortable and casual — especially if you’re not one for sneakers, dress shoes, or sandals.

Charmingly and handsomely European, we’ve spotted espadrilles across Bangkok streets for a long while now. But there’s an elephant in the room and in the shoe: finding a well-fitting pair of espadrilles is actually quite a tricky task. Especially for men.

Espadrilles can look awkward if they’re the wrong shape. They can look out of place if they’re paired the wrong way (imagine them with a suit and try not to puke). And they cross over to that questionable territory where loafers are still okay but sandals are certainly not, and the man of style becomes a man of question if he does not know how to balance along that fine line.

Yet you need not fear. Here, we’ve put together some of our favourite men’s espadrilles of the minute. Drawing on different materials, shapes, and colour tones, consider it our pick of the mix in the quest for the perfect pair. Trust us, they’re out there.

[Hero and Featured Image: Saint Laurent]

Castañer is a bit of an iconic name in the world of espadrilles, and has a long history in Spain and beyond from the military to the high street. In this pair (approx. THB 4112), it’s easy to see why the Spanish brand is so beloved, capturing the label’s ethos of effortless style and top quality in one smooth shoe. A colour that is easy to pair, the hand-sewn jute and rubber-sole shoe comes in cream canvas that works very well with most summer ensembles. A classic that still feels light and contemporary.

For the man who cannot let go of his loafers, these Gucci Matador espadrilles (approx. The 18264) still have a dressy essence, despite their utterly chill soles. The summer version of the brand’s iconic Horsebit loafers, they feature the same gold-tone hardware contrasting beautifully with the tan suede and signature bee emblems. Smart casual, but make it beach-appropriate? Here’s your guy.

Here’s one that scores high in sartorial bonus points. Two words: velvet espadrilles. Is it a match made in the handsome hunk’s heaven? Made from soft cotton-velvet, these Anderson & Sheppard espadrilles (approx. THB 5968) don’t only boast a friendly price tag for an expensive look, but offer plenty pairing potential, too. The classic jute soles keep it real, whilst the blue velvet keeps things regally sophisticated.

What’s so lovable about espadrilles is their playful personality. Beyond the jute and the cotton, these Saint Laurent espadrilles (approx. THB 16,532) take things to the next level with a charming inscription embroidered on the shoe sides. Pulling from the rich archive of founder Yves Saint Laurent, the off-white leather and cotton pair comes with a flat rubber sole and an almond toe, making them kind of classic — and yet fabulously trendy.

There is something about leather espadrilles that elevates the classic cotton or canvas to a whole new stratosphere of style. Whilst there are many leather renditions on the market (we also love the pairs by Loewe, Chanel, and Salvatore Ferragamo, too), something about these simple yet snazzy RRL espadrilles (approx. THB 11,019) is personable and understated. Crafted in Spain, the vegetable-tanned leather has been dyed a deep indigo that goes well with many ensembles and situations. A pair that would not look lost in a concrete jungle either — meet the espadrilles that are as ready for the weekend as they are for the brunch. Bangkok style.

Lisa Gries
Creative Content Director, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.
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