Menorca, also known as Avarcas, is a Balearic Island which is situated in the Mediterranean Sea that belongs to Spain. The island has a long and well-documented history of shoe-making, with their most well-known export being Menorcan sandals. In recent years, their popularity has surged thanks to the renewed appreciation for old school outfits and footwear, but despite this, not too many people are aware of exactly what they are. Read on for more details on these unique sandals.
What are Menorcan sandals? Menorcan sandals are a type of sandals that originate from Menorca, Spain that commonly feature a leather upper and a rubber sole. They are also lightweight and breathable, which makes them perfect for use during the summer.
The traditional Menorcan sandal as used by the locals in Menorca as the choice of work footwear in the rural areas. Today, Menorcan sandals come in a range of designs and colors, but they are still renowned for their sturdiness and durability that allows the user to get the most out of them. As long as you buy the right fit, Menorcan sandals get more comfortable as you continue to wear them as they adjust to the shape of your feet. To ensure that your Menorcan sandals serve you for a long time, it is important to clean them regularly and take good care of them.
Due to the considerable increase in the popularity of Menorcan sandals, many imitators have popped up, making it hard to distinguish between the real thing and the copycats. Here is a look at the various aspects of this sandal to have a better idea of what to expect.
A brief history of Menorcan sandals
Menorcan sandals were traditionally worn by the locals to keep their feet comfortable and cool as they worked in the scorching and often rocky fields. They were favored due to their practicality and sturdiness, which made them ideal for various types of work in rural landscapes. They were initially made with leather that was sourced from animals as it was easily available and economical. With the arrival of cars, manufacturers started using old tires to make the soles of the sandals more frequently as they proved that they were long-lasting. The original color of Menorcan sandals took after the material that was used to construct them, which was mostly ox skin leather or pigskin. As a result, they were made in only one style and neutral color.
Today, Menorcan sandals still feature a sole that is designed in the same style as a car tire but from a purpose-made mold rather an actual tire. Bovine skin, or leather, is generally used in the construction of the Menorcan sandal upper, although materials such as suede, braided raffia, and textile are steadily becoming popular as well. Some of the more unique designs of Menorcan sandals feature small heels and hand-painted designs on the upper.
The increase in the popularity of Menorca sandals means that you will find a variety of outlets selling copycats of inferior quality. However, only genuine Avarcas that are manufactured in Menorca are allowed to carry the official label by the government.
Considerations when selecting Menorcan sandals
Like with any other type of footwear, your Menorcan sandals need to feel comfortable once you have them on. Keeping in mind that feet tend to swell when it is hot, it is important to go for a size that will easily adjust to the change in your feet especially if you spend most of your day on your feet. The width of the sandals will also impact on how comfortable you will be in them, so you want to go for a pair that accommodate your feet without being too narrow or wide so that they are adequately supported.
The sole of the Menorcan sandal should be fairly flexible to allow you to walk naturally. However, too much flexibility is counterproductive as your feet will not be adequately protected from the impact of walking especially if it is on rugged terrain. On the other hand, if the outsole is too stiff, your feet are likely to get hurt a well. The outsole should also grip the surface that you are walking on. This will ensure that you maintain your balance as you walk and don’t end up tripping and potentially falling.
Durability in any type of footwear is important. Menorcan sandals are generally long-lasting especially if they are well-constructed. However, some materials such as braided raffia are more susceptible to damage. Suede is also quite delicate and needs a lot of care to maintain its condition. Leather Menorcan sandals are the most durable material especially if original leather is used. Just remember to keep them away from water to ensure that they don’t get damaged.
The most common materials used in the construction of Menorcan sandals include:
- Leather – Leather is the most common material used to make Menorcan sandals. The original leather is very tough, which makes designs that are made of this material very durable. Your leather Menorcan sandals may feel a little tight on your feet when you first try them on, but as long as you have bought the right size, they will change shape with time, perfectly mold to the shape of your foot, and fit you comfortably. The only downside of leather is the fact that it lacks water resistance, and as a result, if you somehow end up getting water on your Menorcan sandals, they might get irrevocably damaged. An easy solution to this is to treat your sandals using special coating agents that will reduce the risk of damage.
- Suede – Suede is a variant of leather that has a soft and luxurious finish. Menorcan sandals made of suede are very pliable, which means that they will quickly mold to your feet after a few wears. However, due to its soft nature, suede is even more vulnerable to damage than leather and therefore require a lot of care to maintain its quality.
- Rubber – Rubber is commonly used in the construction of the sole of the Menorcan sandal. In addition to being durable, it is also water-resistant, consequently preventing water from damaging the underside of your sandals. The tough nature of rubber ensures that the sole does not wear out too quickly.
Caring for your Menorcan sandals
- Original leather – To remove dust and dirt, start by wiping your Menorcan sandals gently using a dry soft cloth. Once the surface dirt has been removed, use a slightly damp cloth to get rid of the tougher stains. Always allow the leather to dry naturally and away from heat and direct sunlight as both cause the leather to fade and lose its toughness.
To weatherproof the sandals, use a water and stain repellant leather spray that is of high quality. You want to stay away from varieties that contain silicone as it can degrade the leather. Before you start spraying the sandals, insert a cloth or towel under the upper to protect the sole.
- Suede/Nubuck leathers – To remove caked mud and dirt from suede/Nubuck leather, brush the affected area gently using a soft brush or better still, a brush specifically made for use on suede. The next step is to use a rubber pencil eraser, or if you have a suede cleaning kit, use the included stain eraser for the stains that have set in. Gently rub the stained areas of the sandal and repeat the motion until the stain has faded.
If you can still notice stains after all the brushing and rubbing, rub some white vinegar or rubbing alcohol onto the affected area using a clean soft cloth. If the suede appears stringy after cleaning, use an old razor to shave the areas where the strings are visible to restore its smooth texture. Fluff the suede using a brush to restore it. To weatherproof your suede Menorcan sandals, use a water and stain repellant spray that is specifically designed for use on suede leathers. A protectant spray will also keep your sandals cleaner for longer.
Whenever you are brushing the suede ensure that all your strokes are in the same direction. If you opt to brush in different directions, some suede leathers may begin to pill or give the appearance of two dissimilar colors. Never use a wire brush or any type of polish on Nubuck or suede leathers.
- The glitter and metallic leathers – To get rid of dust and dirt, wipe the sandal upper with a dry cloth first before using a lightly damp cloth to remove ingrained stains. Allow the leather to air dry. Never use water or stain repellant sprays to treat metallic leathers as this will only degrade their quality.
Whatever style, color, or brand that you go for, Menorcan sandals never fail to impress. They are projected to get even more popular, which makes them a great and trendy addition to your outfit during the summer. If they are well-constructed and authentic, expect these unique sandals to last long and progressively get more comfortable as you continue to wear them. To maintain the condition of your sandals, take into consideration the material they are made of when cleaning and caring for them.