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Our Favorite French Summer Shoes

by Ali Postma

Summer is upon us, which means goodbye sneakers and boots, hello sandals. There’s a range of options available when it comes to summer shoes, although I’ve noticed one particular trend that is far more popular here in Paris than it was in Australia: the espadrille. 

There is some contention about the origin of espadrilles. Do they come from Spain or France? We know that historically they have been made in Catalonia, Basque Country, and Occitania. But it was actually French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent who first created wedge espadrilles. And they were, and still are, a hit.

Espadrilles are a great summer shoe, whether they’re wedges or flat, sandals or closed-toe. But that’s not all that’s on the footwear docket this summer. Just as raffia bags are now a summer staple, raffia sandals are also an up-and-coming style. And if you’re looking for something more classic, go leather. Here are some of the best French brands making the perfect shoes for summer: 

Left: a pair of navy blue cross over espadrilles by Atelier Alienor with a shoe box. Right: tan and white cross over espadrilles and khaki and black closed toe espadrilles by Atelier Alienor in a line.
Top: Aroa Genoveva Above: Atelier Aliénor

See by Chloé

See by Chloé is the younger, more affordable, wear-everyday collection from French luxury brand Chloé. They always have great summer shoes. Their wedge espadrille sandals are gorgeous, accented with their contrasting signature scallop pattern made from vegetable-dyed calf leather. 

Left: a woman on a Paris street wearing a t-shirt with See by Chloe on the front, a long skirt, sandals and carrying a handbag. Right: a pair of platform brown leather sandal high heels sitting on a wooden chair with a scarf draped over the back.
See by Chloé

The wedges also come in a fringed denim version, and a flat version with fringed cotton canvas or suede with a floral motif. (From my experience, these are best for a narrow foot, which I unfortunately don’t have!) For something more minimal, I love their mules with a calf leather strap edged with their signature scallop pattern in a range of summery pastel colors. Their black mules with two bows are also cute.

Left: a pair of closed toe tan leather flat espadrilles which tie up around the ankle by Atelier Alienor. Right: a pair of navy blue espadrille sandal wedges by Charlotte Woivre.
Atelier Aliénor / Charlotte Woivre

Charlotte Woivre

Charlotte Woivre’s raffia sandals are handmade by women artisans in Morocco. The raffia is a natural and renewable plant fiber obtained from African palm trees, and each piece is hand-finished with high-quality goat leather. I adore their easy slip-on flat Sandale Suzy Naturel with its double fringe. Another great summer style is their espadrilles. But they also have ballet flats, slippers, sandal wedges, and high heels. 

Left: a pair of khaki colored espadrille flats by Atelier Alienor in a flat lay with some sliced melon and oranges and a book. Right: a pair of tan colored wedge espadrilles by Atelier Alienor.
Atelier Aliénor

Atelier Aliénor

According to Atelier Aliénor, only 1% of the world’s espadrilles are made in France, and they aim to rectify that. Atelier Aliénor make espadrilles for women, handmade in their family-owned workshop in Basque Country using authentic French craftsmanship. 

Left: a pair of flat tan colored espadrilles by Atelier Alienor with cross over straps in front of a beach. Right: a pair of flat closed toe khaki colored espadrilles by Atelier Alienor with sliced melon, orange and a book.
Atelier Aliénor

Their espadrilles are made out of natural materials and they also upcycle, using leather that is a by-product of the food industry. Their tannery is family-owned in France and has the prestigious French certification “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” (Living Heritage Company). What’s more, Atelier Aliénor offers free repairs for life. 

Aroa Genoveva

While Aroa Genoveva was founded in 2019 in Paris, its history actually dates back over 100 years. The designer’s great-grandfather had a small atelier in the Canary Islands where he created and repaired footwear, especially sandals and espadrilles. This heritage was passed down and now Aroa Genoveva perpetuates the family tradition. The brand creates sandals and espadrilles using environmentally responsible materials, such as peace silk.

Left: a woman standing in front of the ocean wearing an orange and blue patterned dress with beige platform wedges by Aroa Genoveva. Right: two pairs of platform wedges by Aroa Genoveva on rocks by the ocean. One pair is beige and the other is purple tie dye.
Aroa Genoveva

Their first collection, Manuela, features platform espadrilles that have been colored by WHOLE, a textile studio specializing in natural plant dyes made in Paris. The colors are inspired by the different environments of the Canary Islands. Aroa Genoveva has recently released a new flat collection!

Kilometre Paris

Kilometre Paris is all about undiscovered destinations. They produce collections all over the world, entrusting local skilled artisans in the creation of their products. Each Kilometre product is handmade and embroidered to order. Most of their pieces are made from vintage fabrics. All Kilometre products even come with a passport (a travel map showing the origin of the product and a product map about the brand and its history).

Left: a pair of multicolored babouches by Kilometre Paris on a blue embroidered scarf. Right: mule sandals by See by Chloe in blue, pink, and white on a chair.
Kilometre Paris / See by Chloé

The most eye-catching of their shoes are their babouches, which feature hand-braided grass panels laced with colored leather and are made in Morocco. Their Menorcan sandals are a catch too, made of 100% leather with customized bespoke painting or drawing on request.

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Written by Ali Postma for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person (when possible)? Check out new marketplace shop and experiences.

Written By

Ali Postma

Ali is from Melbourne, Australia, where she studied Art History and Art Curatorship at university and worked in various art galleries. Passionate about all things arts and culture, she loves French film, Nordic noir, photography, street art and architecture. Addicted to pain au chocolat, Ali is fulfilling her dream of living in Paris. View Ali Postma's Website

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