If you don’t already have a pair of espadrilles in your wardrobe, you will at least know what they are, such is their ubiquitousness come summer. But did you know that they were created over 90 years ago in Spain by a brand called Castañer? The shoes are now worn by plenty of celebrities (Alexa Chung, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton), and they’re always high on the holiday packing list of many fashion editors. I can personally attest to that.

Much like some other iconic wardrobe staples today (the trench coat, the bomber jacket and the Breton top), this item of footwear was originally worn by the military, particularly during the Spanish Civil War. This all changed in the ’60s when Nordic countries began to wear the sandals as a fashion item thanks to Lorenzo Castañer and his wife Isabel taking over the family company and adding colours to the shoes.

Anna Wintour isn’t immune to the simple and chic nature of the espadrille. Surely one of the biggest endorsements around? 

Then in the ’70s while at a trade fair, the duo met Yves Saint Laurent, who commissioned Castañer to create him a pair of wedge espadrilles. Ever since then, the brand has been making these shoes for fashion houses, including the likes of Christian Dior, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Hermès and Christian Louboutin. The flat version is still one of the brand’s more popular styles to date and by 2010 had sold over eight million pairs, but the wedge styles have proved very popular with various celebrities and influencers regularly being spotted wearing them.

Keep scrolling to see the varied styles of espadrilles and how to style them, then shop them. Trust us—you’ll never throw them out of your wardrobe.

Style Notes: Vogue Paris editor Emmanuelle Alt wearing flat black espadrilles during Paris fashion week.

Style Notes: Another huge endorsement of the espadrille comes from Coco Chanel. The designer liked to wear them on holiday.

Style Notes: We’ve mentioned this before, but Kate Middleton is often spotted wearing a pair of Castañer’s wedge espadrilles.

Style Notes: Jeanne Damas, Another chic French woman, loves to wear these wedge versions too. 

Up next, the biggest spring/summer 2019 fashion trends you need to know.