Best Espadrilles Reviewed for Performance & Style
Let’s face it: everyone needs a pair of shoes that can do almost anything. We need something comfortable so that if need be, we can be on our feet all day. And we also want to look stylish. That’s why we all have at least one pair of sneakers in our wardrobe.
The term ‘sneakers’ (also called espadrilles, runners, athletic shoes, gym shoes… and the list goes on) usually describes a shoe that has a flexible outsole made of rubber or synthetic materials, and an upper part made of leather or synthetic materials. The actual word ‘sneakers’ only made its appearance in America around the turn of the 20th century.
- Atmos x Air Max
- Elephant Skin Fabric
- Nike Vapormax
- Extra Flexibility With The Soles
- Sketchers Shape Ups 2
- Memory Foam Footbed
The colors and styles vary from one company to the other and one model to another. There are also several types of sneakers, such as high-tops that cover the ankles (the famous Converse), sneaker boots that rise up to the calf, low-tops (or oxfords), mid-cut sneakers, slip-ons, low-top CVO (Circular Vamp Oxford) and high-top CVO.
15 Best Espadrilles
1. Adidas Yeezy Boost 350
The zebra pattern has made this model of the Yeezy 350 collection stick out of the bunch. No matter which review you read, this is the first thing that people talk about.
Pull Tab (yes, it’s back!)
Adidas decided to bring back the pull tab, so this means that you won’t be fighting to put your shoes on if you don’t feel like tying the laces up every time.
Cost and Value
The retail price is fair compared to the other sneakers on the list. Adidas has always been known for its quality, so the pricing is according to them. Sadly, the resale prices hit the roof because of the hypebeat these shoes received before their sale date.
- Zebra pattern still remains neutral with black and white
- The shape is perfect if you want slip-ons
- Heel piece is well glued to the rest of the shoe
- Adidas brought back the pull tab
- Sneaker texture is not quite there yet
- Yellow tint that can throw off the white translucent sole
2. Saucony Original Bullet
It has extra cushioning at the tongue and collar, which creates added support and comfort, which is especially important if you’re going to be on your feet all day.
The oxford silhouette and original patterns and styles of threads give these sneakers an authentic retro vibe.
Cost and Value
If you’re looking for something on the cheaper side, but with quality, then the Saucony Original Bullet Sneakers should be considered. You won’t be disappointed, but I would recommend you buy one size bigger as they are made on the smaller side.
- Comes in 13 color schemes
- Cushioned foot bed
- Playful Retro Vibe
- Casual sneakers that can also pass for business casual
- Lack of arch and ankle support
- The soles squeak when walking
3. Air Jordan Royal
Because these would be considered made for playing basketball, the Air Jordan I “Royal” offers you ankle stability and support.
If you’re looking for a pair of sneakers that you’ll be wearing 10 hours a day, every day, then these sneakers would be perfect. Some reviews mentioned that they are still in good condition, even after almost one year of use.
Cost and Value
For their fair price and reputation of comfort for everyday use, the Air Jordan I “Royal” positions itself at the top of the list. Because of its light weight, these sneakers can be worn anytime and anywhere casual.
- Material quality is better than the actual 2013 model
- Great built
- Two pairs of laces (black and blue)
- Soles are thin
- Narrow Sneakers
4. Atmos x Air Max Elephant
I know that this isn’t part of the comfort of the shoe, but no other company has ever made sneakers with elephant skin print on them. It makes these sneakers pop out of the lot, and the fact that the overall look of the shoe is still neutral, you can pair it up with really anything in your casual wardrobe.
As you’ll notice while looking at these sneakers, the mud guard comes down at the mid-section of the sole. This is to provide freedom of movement for your feet. After all, they’re running shoes. This makes it positively useful if you have to walk around a lot daily.
Cost and Value
If you want to stay in the Nike brand, the retail cost of the Atmos x Air Max “Elephant” is pretty much the same as the Nike Vapormax. With their durability, performance and style, there are no questions as to why these sneakers are in our top 5.
- Material quality
- Pack has 3 sets of laces
- Elephant skin pattern
- Narrow sneakers
5. Kaws x Air Jordan IV
What’s not to love about this? Of course, it could demand a little TLC once in awhile to keep them from taking in water, but the quality and style are there! The side soles of the sneaker are also grey, complementing the suede.
The interior soles are made out of leather, which, if you’re wearing the right socks, will keep your feet from smelling at the end of the day. This is a big plus for those who tend to have warm feet after a few hours of wearing shoes.
Cost and Value
Because these sneakers are from two really well-known people, there was a really big hype when they were about to be released. The retail price is really good for the quality of this piece, but the resale was sadly boosted because of the hype.
- Exterior is premium suede
- Interior is made of leather
- Glow in the dark bottom soles
- The grey laces don’t match the greys on the sneakers
6. Puma Tazon 6 FM
Because these shoes are made for workouts and cross-country training, they have to last more than a month. With synthetic leather and a synthetic sole, you don’t have to worry too much about protecting the sneakers like you would with natural leather.
If you’re going to the gym, you’re going to be lifting weights, jumping, running, etc. That’s why it’s important to have sneakers that can offer all the support that you need. These sneakers do the trick.
Cost and Value
A lot of reviewers have found that for the quality of the product, you can’t argue about the price. They offer comfort and features that you’d expect in higher-priced sneakers.
- Comes in 22 colors
- Perfect for cross-country
- Perfect for lateral workout
- Offer good support
- Not ideal for standing up long hours
7. Nike Vapormax
The name ‘Vapormax’ really explains it all. The sneakers are made of synthetic material, almost like an elastic sock kind of feel, so it makes them flexible and very lightweight.
Nike upgraded their ‘Air’ midsole units. Their previous models had to be shaped twice and put together. On these sneakers, the midsoles are made of one precise Vapormax Air unit, which offers extra flexibility, and they can retain their original design.
Cost and Value
These sneakers are on the more costly side for the quality of the material, but are perfect for those wanting comfort and support, with the Nike ‘swoosh’ on the side of their sneakers.
- Lightweight material
- Midsoles offer extra flexibility
- They come in a few colors, but monochromatic
- They squeak on softer solid ground (like linoleum)
8. Sketchers Shape Ups 2.0
Who doesn’t like memory foam? These sneakers offer you just that for your feet, which adds extra comfortability when you have to be up on your feet for long periods of time.
Thick Rocker Sole Unit
The fact that the sole is thicker than any other pair of sneakers on this list makes these Sketchers special. While running or jogging, the soles take direct hit every time your foot lands on the ground, thus lessening the shock to your knees.
Cost and Value
If you don’t want to pay too much and don’t really care about the look, but more about the comfortability and support, then these Sketchers are for you. You can’t really argue about the price for the good quality of sneakers that you’d be getting.
- Memory foam footbed
- Thick rocker sole unit
- Air cooled breathability
- Relieves heel pain
- Great support for standing up long hours
- Bulky look
- Heavier than the previous Shape Ups
9. Adidas x Alexander Wang AW
What's amazing about this is that no matter what type of sock you're wearing, these sneakers offer a collar that can grow in width. Compared to other high-tops, where the laces go up to the end of the tongue, these laces stop just before the rise of the tongue, offering you a looser ankle and freedom of movement.
Alexander Wang is really bringing something new to the sneaker culture, with those multi-textured sneakers. While you want comfortability, you also want to remain stylish, and these sneakers offer everything you want.
Cost and Value
These shoes are worth more than what they cost and should be a must in your wardrobe if you're looking for something that can pair up with anything casual. And for once, the resale is close to the retail price.
- Amazing look
- Thick soles
- True to size
- Bulky on feet
10. Nike Tom Sachs Mars 2.0
These sneakers are perfect if you want to show off your style, but want to work out. You can literally climb walls with these Mars Yard.
The fact that they look like army-boot soles makes its adherence and abrasion are perfect and durable.
Cost and Value
The prices of retail are reasonable for the quality of the shoe that you will have. Sachs confirmed that the shoe past every test (abrasion, flexibility and strength). But because of the hypebeast that these sneakers received, and the limited quantities produced, the resale prices were boosted.
- Breathable thanks to the mesh
- Quality material
- Flexible soles
- Higher mudguard at the back of the shoe
- Limited edition (now only sold as resales)
11. Sketchers Energy Afterburn
The padding in this shoe makes it absolutely ideal for those looking for pain-relieving running shoes. The scuff-resistant leather uppers and padded collars makes it so that these sneakers are both supportive and durable.
In addition to the shock-absorption, the Energy Afterburn is also made of durable leather. This quality material ensures that your shoes remain long-lasting.
Cost and Value
The Sketchers Afterburn are your low-cost espadrilles sneaker that are both breathable and supporting. This closed-toe shoe is affordable and absolutely worth the price.
Padded tongue and collar
Varies in size
12. TOMS Classics
Suede is arguably the best foot bed material as it is lightweight, breathable, and durable. The Suede molds into your feet to ensure comfort when wearing these espadrilles.
This shoe might look casual, but it also wears casual. The completely canvas design means you can wear these shoes anywhere without worry, from the park to the beach. These casual shoes will look great with any type of apparel.
Cost and Value
The TOMS Classics vary in price and can seem expensive upon first glance, but once you see how versatile in functionality the TOMS is, the price becomes reasonable and well worth it for this casual espadrille shoe.
Not ideal for wide feet
13. Sanuk Pair O Dice
The Sanuk Pair O Dice is unique as it provides a yoga-mat foot bed that emphasizes it's comfort and support. The rubber cupsole is also extremely flexible, making these shoes versatile in fit.
Soft canvas upper
The canvas upper is made with ultra-soft synthetic material to ensure your ankles won't be bruised. The canvas cover is also custom printed with each shoe.
Cost and Value
The Sanuk Pair O Dice are affordable flat shoes that don't provide anything extra for their genuine price.
Flat and Casual design
Yoga-mat foot bed
Ultra soft canvas upper
Initially comfortable but may become narrow
14. YILAN Fashion Casual Sport
Like all sneakers, having a breathable shoe is imperative for a casual shoe that can also be used for running. The YILAN Fashion understands this and has an extremely breathable insole with great fabric.
One strong buying point of espadrilles are that they are one of the most lightweight and comfortable shoes in the market. The YILAN Fashion lives up to this, as it is both lightweight and breathable, while also comfortable.
Cost and Value
The YILAN Fashion are one of the cheaper shoes on our list. This basic, espadrilles sneaker won't let you down and is certainly worth its value for what it provides.
Great Value for Low Cost
No extra features
15. Polo Ralph Lauren Vaughn
Not only is the Vaughn sleek in style, the padded collar prevents bruises. The shoe is also made of wool and viscose, and the tongue and collar are both logo embroidered.
Casual Canvas design
The most appealing thing about the Vaughn is its simplistic, sleek design. The casual look is great for any days out in the spring or summer.
Cost and Value
The cost of the Polo Ralph Lauren Vaughn isn't expensive, and is affordable to almost anyone looking for casual espadrilles. These beautiful pair of shoes won't make you regret your purchase decision.
Sleek and simple design
Embroidered tongue and side
In conclusion, sneakers come in all shapes and sizes. Some run small and others run true to size. The colors may vary, and some companies might offer more color schemes than others. But at the end of the day, the first thing you have to think about is what you’re planning to do with your sneakers. If you think about being up all day for hours at a time, then maybe a sneaker with arch support and comfortable insoles is what you should be looking for. Same thing goes if you want to wear them mainly to the gym, then a shoe with ankle and support should be your priority. There’s no question that style should be important, but your feet carry you all day long so don’t forget to take care of them!
Criteria for Selecting the Best Espadrilles
Size & Fit
With every pair of quality sneakers comes a precise size and fit. That’s why choosing the correct size for your foot in an espadrilles or sneaker is imperative when looking for the perfect shoe. It is highly important that you become familiar with sizes before you shop, as—most of the time—sizes can vary when shopping online and going in blind is often dangerous. We’ve got your back, however, with a small guide on how to choose shoe size and the different types of sizes for each shoe.
Believe it or not, there are many different types of espadrilles, ranging from closed-toe, open-toe, and sneakers. Each type of espadrilles, however, fit differently depending on the size and shape of your foot. Thankfully, there is a general rule of thumb on choosing sizes for specific espadrilles such as the leather and the suede espadrilles.
For leather espadrilles, size up; it is imperative to understand that all espadrilles—open toe and closed toe—are quite narrow. If you are someone who has wider feet than the average, it’s always the best call to size up to avoid any unnecessary pain. Suede espadrilles fit similarly to leather ones, in that you should always go half a size up. Canvas espadrilles are often similar, but there can be some slight variations. They are one of the tightest espadrilles, and always run a half size smaller so it is crucial to go with a larger size when buying online. Some espadrilles that are a mix—for example a leather body and canvas toe-cap—run a full size smaller. The moral of the story: espadrilles are tight shoes, so buying half to one full size up is always a smart idea.
Espadrilles should never slip at the heel. Like any other shoe, if your espadrilles slips at the heel, they are too big and it is often dangerous to walk in them. Espadrilles should fit with a precise and snug feel, with no looseness to be found except in the toe-box. You should never size up to feel loose. The shoes must feel snug in your heel but not too tight to cramp your toes. There are few specific types such as the Chanel espadrilles which will stretch out after wearing, making buying the actual or smaller size a better decision.
Breaking in espadrilles can be one of the hardest parts about the shoe. When you get your first pair of espadrilles, you may find that they are difficult to get on; the no-lace closed toe shoes are often tight and narrow, making the first time wear a tight squeeze. There is, however, a correct way of putting on an espadrilles for the first time that may reduce all the hassle: first, slide your foot into the shoe and over the heel area. Try to wiggle your foot as far back as you can and then pull the heel area out from the back of your heel. This way, your foot isn’t forced into the footbed and you aren’t crushing the fabric by yanking the heel area.
You may never have even heard of one, but shoe stretchers are a thing. And they are important to use regularly on your espadrilles if you aren’t wearing them often. Shoe stretchers work by stretching and reshaping the shoe, relieving pressure sites and target tight or painful areas that could cause blisters. If you are an average shoe collector, and are interested in buying a lot espadrilles but can’t wear them all weekly, it would be smart to invest in a shoe wooden shoe stretcher that will keep your espadrilles long and lasting. They sell for as little as $20 on Amazon.
All in all, although shoes can vary in size, espadrilles are narrow and, unless you are going for Chanel or something of similar design, it is imperative that you often buy a half size up. Although too loose of a shoe is never good, a tight shoe that causes blisters is even worse. The sizing and fit of espadrilles is imperative for a great shoe experience.
The category of espadrilles can be one of the most diverse in the shoe industry. There are tons of different designs and sub-categories of espadrilles, and the term of espadrilles can range from high-heels to sneakers. There are, however, a few basic espadrilles types that you should familiarize yourself with before buying.
Espadrilles flats are the most common and comfortable among types. These flat-heel shoes are popular in trend and are often easy to wear and won’t cause any pain experienced from high-heels or wedges. Sneakers, casual, navy, and street shoes all fall into this category of flats. Flats are most often made of cotton or linen—natural elements that are conserving and environmentally friendly. Fashion-wise, flats go fantastic with dresses of any kind, and you can fit them with skinny jeans, shorts, or skirts.
Wedge espadrilles are the second type of the shoe category. These types of espadrilles have only recently been adopted into the market and have grown a big fan base, as they include all the needs of an espadrilles while also adding the sophistication and luxury of a high-heel. Wedges look elegant and are often designed with an open-toe shape. Wedge espadrilles can be a mix of casual and professional tone, so they are great for your everyday use but can also be worn to anything formal or work-related.
In addition to flats and wedges, espadrilles also come in open-toe and closed-toe platforms. Open shoes give off a fun and fresh image, but they are often less comfortable with a less supported arch and footbed, while also fitting less snug. Closed shoes are more professional-looking. They are polished and often luxurious if paired with a high-heel style. If you’re looking for more of a strong and sound impression rather than a casual, fresh one, closed toed shoes are the best to portray your personality. If you have any type of foot pain problem such as Plantar Fasciitis or toe fungus, it is always better to wear closed toe shoes with a supporting footbed.
There are also the obscure terms of espadrilles that you may not yet be familiar with. For example, what in the world is a jute? Jute is a term used a lot when referencing espadrilles. The Jute, in actuality, is a plant from the mallow family cultivated in tropical regions. It is also the name of the fiber extracted from the plant used to make a natural, elegant textile. Espadrilles soles are often made using jute.
Although new fabric types are chosen each year given the current trend, jute has always been an iconic fabric used in espadrilles. The use of natural fabrics can make espadrilles extremely lightweight and breathable. This makes espadrille shoes ideal in warm weather and the footwear is now present all across the world. When buying, you should always look for natural and quality material such as Jute and linen for the fabric and outsole of your espadrilles.
Considering all the different types of espadrilles, choosing one that fits your lifestyle is the most essential part. Wedges and closed-toe shoes are for more formal occasions while open-toed flats can be worn in casual settings or at home. The fabric should generally be quality material such as jute and leather. It is best to avoid cheap, short-lasting materials such as plastic.
Cushion and Comfort
Similar to the design of many other shoes, the espadrilles can be taken apart in the following parts: outsole, midsole, insole, tongue, and ankle. Each of these portions can have padding that can cushion your foot and highly increase the comfort of the shoe. Especially in espadrilles—where tightness and narrow width are common—the padding in shoes can be imperative to avoid blisters and other injuries.
The padding on the tongue and ankle is important to keep your foot from abrasively rubbing on the shoe. Especially in high-heels or wedges, padding can be the difference between a great shoe experience and painful bruises.
The midsole is the portion of the shoe where padding and design is essential. The midsole’s functionality makes each shoe feel different. Some can be more flexible while others can be softer. Each midsole, however, must be able to control excessive amounts of movement. EVA padding is a type of foam that is lightweight and ideal for sneakers or flats. There are also shoes, however, that can use gel, foam, or other materials for padding, making the midsole more durable but less comfortable.
Shoes with too much padding is also bad. Excessive padding can lead to low amounts of breathability in the shoe, potentially causing toe-fungus or blisters. A good balance of cushion and breathability is the key to finding a comfortable espadrille. For shoes that have a removable footbed, it is ideal to replace the sole every 3-6 months to avoid flattening the EVA or other type of soles.
There are also many benefits in using orthopedic cushions if you have injuries such as Plantar Fasciitis. These types of cushions can absorb shock and prevent injuries relating to the heel or ankle. Accommodative orthotics are prescription shoes that already have inserts to provide cushion and comfort. Functional orthotics are over-the-counter insoles that have padding to control abnormal movement in the foot, preventing foot pain and injuries. Functional orthotics in espadrilles can be bought in a plethora of online stores by searching for espadrilles that are designed for heel or ankle injuries.
Care and Cleaning
While it’s crucial to choose the best espadrilles, it is also important to know how to maintain them. Depending on the material of the espadrilles, there are different ways of ensuring that your espadrilles are long-lasting.
For leather espadrilles, make sure they are out of the sunlight. Leather espadrilles—like leather bags or clothes—can dry and get tan under the sunlight, causing the fabric to change color and become fragile. Black leather can tan to dark brown over long periods of time, causing your shoes to loose their sleek style. If you aren’t wearing you espadrilles, make sure to store them and gently stuff them with tissues to hold their shape. Espadrilles have a tendency to reshape when not worn in a long time, causing the need for shoe stretchers. To prevent this, use tissues or a cedar shoe tree, which is a device that retains a shoes shape, moisture, and odor. It is also important to polish your leather espadrilles for them to keep their shine.
For canvas espadrilles, you can use a protective spray that keeps them from picking up dirt or moisture. A common causation of bad shoe care is the edges of the espadrille fraying. This can be prevented by using an anti-fray product.
Canvas, leather, and jute: these are the most popular materials used in espadrilles and cleaning them should be a common knowledge among espadrille buyers. One imperative rule is to avoid soaking your espadrilles when cleaning. Large amounts of water can ruin the shoe entirely, because the moisture penetrates the sole and these fabrics take quite awhile to fully dry. It is also crucial that you do not throw your espadrilles in the washer, which is another way to ruin them.
To begin cleaning your shoes: use either a cloth or a specialty brush to remove any dirt or debris from the exterior.
Second: use a cleaner to help remove any stuck on dirt or staining from the espadrilles.
Third: leave your espadrilles out to dry before you wear them again. If the espadrilles isn’t completely dry, it can end up deforming in shape and size. White shoes made of canvas uppers can be left out outside to dry, but other types should be kept in the shade to prevent color change.
For jute soles, it is of great importance that you don’t let jute soles get wet since they are sensitive and take several days to dry completely. Removing them before cleaning and then using a protective spray is the best way to care for jute insoles.
Lastly, it is important to note just how important it is not only to buy the best shoes for you but to maintain them in the best way possible. If you follow our steps in cleaning and maintaining, your shoes will certainly last to their maximum span.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What types of espadrilles are there?
A: There are two general types: flats and wedges. Flats often include sneakers and sandals while wedges include mid and high-heels. Flats and wedges can come in a variety of open-toed, closed-toed, open-lace, no-lace, etc. styles.
Q: How do I choose the right size in espadrilles?
A: Espadrilles are particularly tight and narrow, so to ensure proper fit it is best to choose 0.5 to 1 size up.
Q: How can I make sure my espadrilles retain shape?
A: Make sure to stuff tissues when storing them for long periods of time without wear. It is also optional to invest in a shoe stretcher.
Q: Should I choose open-toed or closed-toed shoes? Wedges or flats?
A: It depends on what type of style you wish to give off. For a formal style, closed-toe and wedges or high-heels are the best choice, as they give off an elegant, ravishing tone. For a casual look, open-toed flats such as sandals should do the trick.
Q: How do I clean my espadrilles?
A: Although this depends on the type of fabric, most espadrilles are made of leather, canvas, or jute, and these all can be cleaned by first using a cleaning brush to remove surface dirt, and then using a cleaning form to remove excess dirt and creases, and then allowing the shoe to dry.
Q: Should I dry my shoes in sunlight or shade?
A: Always dry your espadrilles in shade because the sunlight will bleach the color of the shoe, especially if the shoe is of leather material.
Q: Should I wash my jute soles?
A: For jute insoles, if they are removable you should always leave them out of the shoe before washing as they are sensitive and take longer periods to dry. Protective sprays can be used to ensure your jute insoles stay durable.
Q: What are EVA soles?
A: EVA stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate and is the most common soles used in espadrilles sneakers. EVA soles are lightweight, breathable, and provide one of the best shock-absorbing padding in the market.
Q: Should I look for breathable or comfortable shoes?
A: With every aspect there comes a sacrifice. Breathable shoes are often uncomfortable because they lack the required padding. Comfort shoes often have excess padding and have problems with breathability. It is important to find a balance between both to prevent injuries such as heel pain or toe fungus.