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Saturday, 11 August 2012 10:52

Menorca avarca

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The 'avarca' was the footwear always used by farmworkers in Minorca, principally the shepherds ('pastors') and dayworkers ('missagers'). The sole was cut out from old car tyres with a wide leather strip over the instep leaving the toes open and held on by a leather heel strap.

In the old days the sole was always made from old rubber tyres and the leather was oxhide with the hair on the outside. Obviously they were very rustic and were only made in the natural colour of the leather.

Today they are made in all colours and even embellished with different designs, and although they are still generally made with cowhide, they can also be found made of fabric, woven seagrass, or with a raffia strip. They are now made to go with the current fashion, this season in different stamped and cutout designs.

The decorative ideas which decorate today's 'avarques' run from flowers to ladybirds, amongst others. Also very popular is an engraved lizard with its body shown on the left sandal and its tail continuing over onto the right.

There are also special soles for the littlest ones.

They are made from size 18 (6 months) upwards with a micro-porous (air-injected rubber) sole in order to be very light. There is also an ecological line, harking back to the original hand-made sandal with a re-cycled car tyre sole.

The heavy demand has encouraged Minorcan shoe manufacturers who have traditionally specialised in fine high-fashion footwear to add new 'avarca' designs to their collections.

You will find this type of sandal in many shoe shops, although you should check that they are authentic Minorcan Avarques. Only those made here have the skill to place the heel- strap in the correct way.

Minorcan 'avarques' are made in Es Mercadal, Alaior, Ciutadella & Ferreries. They are sold in shoe shops throughout the Balearics.

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Soy un menorquín apasionado de Menorca. Me gusta compartir aquello que mejor conozco, y lo que más disfruto de nuestra increíble isla. Intentaré daros los mejores consejos, para que disfrutéis al máximo vuestra estancia.

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