How to Clean and Waterproof Your Espadrilles

Espadrilles are a popular alternative to sandals. They’re light, airy and offer more protection than open-toed shoes, but their canvas uppers and plaited jute soles are also magnets for dirt.

Beloved by women and men alike, these summer shoes make you feel like you’re on holidays in the Mediterranean. We’re talking about espadrilles, of course. You probably remember them from your childhood, but they’ve been making regular comebacks since the 80s.

Espadrilles originated in Spain and the South of France, where the grass that was initially used for their plaited soles naturally grows. Of course, it’s this natural grass sole that makes these shoes extra vulnerable to dirt and moisture.

Canvas, leather, jute: How to clean sensitive materials

While the soles of most espadrilles are now more robust thanks to rubber bases, the fabric uppers are another story. Usually made of canvas, linen or leather, uppers can range from light to dark colours, as well as feature exciting prints or even sequins, all of which require special care.

If your espadrilles do get wet or dirty, it’s important to clean them straight away and give them plenty of time to dry. Afterwards, you can take a few simple steps to prevent your favourite summer shoes from getting soiled again.

Cleaning fabric shoes: Less is more

A good rule of thumb is: Avoid getting your espadrilles too wet when cleaning them. The moisture will inevitably penetrate the sole, which is extremely slow to dry. An even worse idea is to throw them in the wash as they are unlikely to survive any cycle.

The first step for cleaning any shoe material is to use a CLEANING BRUSH to get rid of sand, dust and other surface-level dirt. Then apply CLEAN & CARE CLASSIC cleaning foam to remove stains and smudges. Make sure you allow the fabric to dry completely before the next wear, otherwise your shoe may lose its shape. White canvas shoes may be left in the sun to dry, but coloured varieties should be shaded to avoid bleaching.

Caring for leather espadrilles

Leather espadrilles are popular on cooler summer days. Most cleaning products will strip leather not only of dirt, but also oils that are essential for keeping the material soft and supple. CLEAN & CARE CLASSIC cleaning foam contains additional active ingredients that nourish leather. It is thus suitable for use with smooth leather as well as more traditional espadrilles fabrics.

Dirt doesn’t just collect on the outside of shoes, of course, but also the inside. INSIDE FRESH & CLEAN is perfectly suited for cleaning shoe interiors. It’s easy to forget to clean the insides of your espadrilles and sandals, but trust us, your feet will thank you if you do!

Treated soles = dry espadrilles

Once you’ve cleaned your espadrilles and let them dry, you can work on addressing the issue of the sensitive jute sole. Best case scenario: You never let the woven grass soles get wet since they typically take several days to dry completely.

Of course, sometimes rain or rising tides come as a surprise. That’s why it’s a good idea to waterproof your soles just in case. We recommend the high-tech waterproof spray CARBON PRO. It is suitable for all types of fabrics, including canvas uppers and jute soles. Treatment not only protects shoes from water damage, but also keeps dirt from setting. CARBON PRO will still allow the fabric of your espadrilles to breathe, however, meaning you’ll still get that light and airy feeling on your feet all summer long!