Here Queen Sofía buys her espadrilles
For lovers of simple Menorcan leather sandals and espadrilles, the Alpargatería La Concepción in Palma’s old town is a paradise. Since 1940, the hand-made Balearic summer shoe classics have been sold here. Nowadays, they pile up in seven rooms from floor to ceiling.
“Our shoes are made in the oldest shoemaker’s in Menorca,” says Visitación Hernández, 56, who has worked in the small shop since early childhood and has been the owner since 2006. “For the sandals calfskin is used, the sole is made of rubber,” she explains. In Menorca the shoes are called Avarcas, they are available in all imaginable colors, with or without heels, in short: for every taste. And for every budget, prices range from 26 to 70 euros. The Espadrilles (Spanish: Alpargatas), light fabric shoes with a sole made of esparto grass or jute, are available from just 8 euros.
“We sell high-quality handicrafts at reasonable prices. We do not make big profits. Especially in winter, it is difficult, “says the owner, who is particularly annoyed by the cheap competition from China. “One smells already that they only use synthetic materials”, adds daughter Aurora, who wants to take over the business later. With mother and daughter Hernández, on the other hand, everything is “Hecho en España”. All materials, whether leather or linen fabric, esparto grass and jute for the soles of the Espadrilles come from Spain. Like most customers, by the way. “Many come from Catalonia and the north of the country. But also tourists and residents stop by, “says Visitación.
Advertising does not make the traditional business, even without an online shop. “That would be too expensive for us. We would have to hire someone extra for that, “says Visitación. But it also does not seem to be necessary, because also celebrities find their way to the Carrer de la Concepció. Like Michelle Obama or Queen Sofía, who regularly buys colorful summer footwear for herself and her granddaughters.