I always like the challenge of finding a local brand producing barefoot or minimal shoes when visiting somewhere new and a recent trip to Barcelona didn’t disappoint.
I find I can’t help but always notice what people have on their feet nowadays and it was good to see how many people were wearing very minimalist looking shoes in Barcelona.
Certainly the weather helps, in the summer months it’s just so much easier to wear shoes that are light and flexible than compared to winter, and there’s no denying there was still a lot of high heels around also, but I was surprised at how many shoes appeared to have a zero drop (completely flat sole).
One particular style I kept on seeing was a slip on camping shoe. Apparently Spanish fisherman and farm workers traditionally wore these and even Pablo Picasso was a fan (and he certainly had style).
They’re very similar to a classic espadrille but I find they’re a lot more flexible in the sole than a lot of other slip on styles. They’re very easy to wear, are super comfortable and come in a huge range of colours. So if you’re in Spain any time soon and are on the lookout for a stylish barefoot shoe, here’s a couple of places where you can find them…
Images via therice-co.com
The Rice Co still make all their shoes from hand, in the same factory where they have been for decades. Their headquarters are based in Barcelona but they have stockists in London, New York and Paris – and you also have the option to buy online with worldwide shipping. (If you do want to buy online, have a look at my tips for this here).
I think my favourite thing about The Rice Co’s camping shoes is the variety of colour ways available and I particularly like those with the coloured sole that contrasts with the uppers. The green upper and red sole option is on my wishlist.
Images via Instagram.com/la_local/
If you’re exploring the back streets of El Born in Barcelona definitely check out LA Local – one of the many gorgeous little boutique shops in the area – who stock a limited number of camping shoes. I actually bought a pair of their all-black style (main picture above) but had to donate them to my mum who had her shoes stolen whilst we were having a picnic in Ciutadella Park (we knew you had to be careful of handbags in Barcelona but didn’t think to watch out for anyone stealing shoes?!).
The owner is lovely and was the one who told me that these shoes are typically called ‘camping’ shoes locally and were worn by everyone growing up (and perfect for camping apparently).
Their website is currently under construction but you can see them on Instagram here.
If you’re looking to buy any type of slip-on shoe it’s really important to make sure the size is right – too loose and they will be slipping off as you walk and you’ll have to grip your toes to hold them on (hammertoe alert), but too tight and you risk squashing your toes (bunion alert). And if you’re like me, you might find that one size fits perfect on one foot but are either a little too tight or too loose on the other (soooo annoying).
The best barefoot shoes are those that offer you a completely flat heel, a thin and flexible sole, allow your toes lots of room to move and are well attached to your feet (and of course, they should look damn good too).
Any other recommendations on good camping shoes – let me know…