Jute: how a centuries old natural fiber changed shoemaking forever
Traditionally, espadrilles have been made with eco-friendly jute, a natural vegetable fiber that’s 100% recyclable and biodegradable. So, when choosing your espadrilles, pay particular attention to the sole of the shoe. This is always the best place to start when judging the quality of the shoes you are buying.
The quality of your espadrilles depends on the quality of the material and processes that are used in its manufacturing and the sole is the most important part of the shoe.
Unlike many espadrille retailers, at Viscata we only use 100% natural jute to make our authentic, durable soles, whether it’s our popular espadrille wedges to our practical flats for men and women. And since all our shoes have been handcrafted in Spain with love using traditional methods and natural materials, you can purchase them confident in the knowledge that all our jute soles have been woven and braided by hand into beautiful designs as they have been done for centuries.
Quality might be job one - how about comfort?
We’ve designed softer, more comfortable fabric uppers and added elastic seams to some of our shoes for a more customised fit for your feet, resulting in a stylish, long-lasting, comfortable pair of shoes.
So, if you buy a pair of our Viscata espadrilles, you’ll know that not only are they good for your health but our eco-friendly policy means that you’ll also be kind to the planet we all share.
Be kind to your feet (and kind to your planet)
In these troubled times, looking after the environment becomes more important and the choices we make individually will have lasting impact on the planet we live on in the future.
Over recent years, people have become more and more aware of the fragility of our planet and what we must all do to protect it for future generations. That’s one of the reasons we use jute in all our shoes - proven as a robust and excellent material for everything from yoga mats to trendy rugs.
But this is not a new discovery and the shoemakers have understood that for thousands of years.
In fact, jute sandals have been found by archaeologists and some are said to be as much as 4,000 years old - the original eco-friendly shoes! In Spain, we recognized this early and over the intervening centuries hand crafting espadrilles has become an art form (and a noble Spanish tradition)
But, what is it about jute that makes it so special?
Well, where shall we start? In addition to its natural origins, its extraordinary strength, durability and its recyclability, it has some other properties that night surprise you.
Jute generally grows without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The jute plant matures really quickly and only relies on natural rainfall to grow, without the need for any external irrigation system. That’s why jute is considered to be an efficient and sustainable source of renewable material. Finally, the jute plant naturally absorbs carbon dioxide from the air while releasing oxygen much faster than regular trees and contributing to the fertility of the soil for future crops.
That’s why jute is often called the “golden fiber” offering natural protection for our customers, wider humanity and our beautiful planet.
Continuing a proud tradition
Viscata was born from a centuries old heritage of espadrille making that goes back almost 800 years. Generation after generation of skilled artisans have passed their skills down, often through their families - and they guard their secrets closely.
At Viscata, we’re proud to continue this tradition with our commitment to using the softest, highest quality materials.
But time does not stand still and that’s why we’ve combined this authentic Spanish craftsmanship with more modern manufacturing techniques to offer you the widest selection of espadrilles on the web in a range of vibrant colors and elegant, stylish designs ensuring that your shoes are exactly the way you want them and are instantly comfortable, the moment you take them out of their box.
How is jute used to make espadrilles
1. The rope used for the sole of the shoe is spun from jute threads and then braided to give it extra strength.
2. After this, the braided rope gets spun into the typical hourglass shape of a sole in various shoe sizes.
3. The hour glass shape of the shoe sole is secured by sewing together the rope using an oversized needle and more jute thread.
4. Once the jute sole is ready, it's time to get the upper material cut into its pattern pieces and attached to the sole by hand. For this time-consuming task, blanket stitches are used, which both embellish and secure the shoe to the sole.
You will definitely agree with us that the work of the artisan, the espadrille crafstmanship, is a great gift and can be considered a real piece of art.
Meet Jose Miguel: making espadrilles by hand for 45 years
In a little town in the hills of La Rioja (Spain), Jose Miguel is making espadrilles the old fashioned way. His skills have been handed down from generation to generation. His father and grandfather made them. He’s been making them for 45 years. And his two children make them in their spare time as they prepare for college.
It’s this sense of pride and history that make our shoes authentic. Old fashioned methods combine seamlessly with contemporary style and modern techniques to deliver the most beautiful, natural espadrilles you’ll ever see.
We are proud of Jose Miguel and his family and the shoes he makes. It’s this pride that forms the basis of our values. How we work, what we leave behind and the way we treat our colleagues, our customers and our suppliers.
Viscata is founded on a rich heritage and a deep respect for tradition and the land and the life it allows us to live. Legacy is important. Not only the one we inherit from our forefathers, but also one that we can pass on to our children with pride. And for the latter, we feel super grateful.