Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Aksel Paris Slips On Espadrilles

Alexis Paris EspadrillesAlthough best known for their brilliant line of European-tailored button-down shirts, Aksel Paris has other top-down solutions for everyday wear up their sleeves. This time it might be the focus isn't on floppy collar syndrome. It takes care of floppy feet.

Instead of slipping into something less comfortable than a flip-flop or overbearing like the Birkenstock brand, Aksel Paris is introducing different casual footwear that has been a favorite in Europe for several decades. In fact, they have even been favorites Stateside by men like Humphrey Bogart, Dali, and JFK.

Espadrilles are comfortable, casual slip-on shoes with a canvas top and rubber soles. Thinks of them as a slip-on moccasin without any rawhide ties or leather. These are made by hand in France with organic biodegradable canvas, jute rope (my guess) inseams, and partially vulcanized soles.

Inexpensive as a purchase but luxurious in the fit.

Espadrilles originated in the French Pyrenees as nothing more than a peasant shoe before men and women started wearing them in Catalonia and the Basque Country. They were fashionable in the United States during the 1940s (and briefly in the 1980s because of Miami Vice), but never long enough to stick.

EspadrillesWhen a few people took an interest in them, most manufacturers catered to women. To further complicate things, some manufacturers have taken to classifying anything with jute as espadrilles, leaving most men unaware of what to look for, which is why it is nice to see Aksel Paris moving into the niche.

Aksel Paris launches its line of men's espadrilles in 12 colors. Among the most striking are denim, beige, and khaki, but there are plenty of other colors too — some of the bright standouts are orange and turquoise. All of them are affordable too, priced at $39 or $49 a pair, depending on preference.

Creator Yazid Aksas is the man behind the design.

Originally, Yazid Aksas based his operation in Paris before decided to relocate to San Francisco. A graduate of Stanford, Aksas thought that his company would make a bigger impact in America and turned his attention to developing an online retail space to save on overhead and reduce clothing prices.

Yazid AksasHe's also well connected in that he was able to source soft cotton and gifted craftsmen abroad. While most of the shirts are made in Turkey, the espadrilles are made in France. Although a Frenchman himself, Aksas named his company after an esteemed Berber prince who dominated war-torn North Africa, preserving the freedom of his people from invading nations.

He chose the name to pay homage to this culture and all free men. Even the logo of his company, an ancient Tifinagh character, translates to free man. He originally made the shirts for himself, but was then asked by dozens of friends and associates where they could find them.

Espadrilles by Aksel Paris Slips On 8.5 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Espadrilles are much more than throwback shoes and hipster slippers. They're especially comfortable and make the perfect solution when flip-flops or sandals don't seem like enough for your feet. The sizes range from 8-12 and are subject to availability. When I checked, most seemed to be in stock but several sizes had warnings that there were only three left.

You can order Aksel Paris espadrilles direct from their online store. Visit their webpage for footwear.
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