La Manual was founded in 1940. It begins right after the Civil War, when Mrs. Emilia Martinez, a Catalan entrepreneur, came up with the idea of doing something that no one had thought of before; to introduce the traditional espadrille into fashion, a shoe that until then had been used for work, in the countryside or folklore.
To make this idea a reality, Emilia bought a small workshop where she *instructed* professional espadrille makers to give the espadrille an innovative style.
What is La Manual?
In 1941, La Manual Alpargatera opened its doors in its workshop on the emblematic Avinyo street, a space that to this day preserves its style, its essence and its craft techniques. Currently, La Manual Alpargatera is the only and last espadrille workshop in Barcelona.
Artists, singers, actors and actresses have passed through the Manual Alpargatera.
The Pope John Paul II who had the espadrilles custom made in our store, granted an audience to Francisco Tasies and Juana Martinez.
Like them, many other characters have shoed the products of the emblematic store on Avinyó street in search of handmade espadrilles.
Jack Nicholson, who not only came, but has recommended it to many people.
Salvador Dali was a recurring client, a fan of the "pinxo" model. Dali's visits never went unnoticed, the sales clerks at the time said "... look, that eccentric who came to buy the pinxos is now famous and appears on TV..." Salvador Dali was not only a buyer, he also recommended our espadrilles.
Dali used to wear his espadrilles all the time, once he caused a sensation at an exhibition in Paris by wearing his espadrilles with a suit.
Today, we handmade espadrilles for everybody. Including for attires as the traditional Gala Catalan police (dress uniform).
Oswaldo Guayasamín, considered the best muralist in Latin America, said he could not paint without the espadrilles from La Manual Alpargatera.
The facade of the espadrille workshop became a characteristic symbol of our city. Over time, the storefront design has been so well known that a customer who didn't know our address sent a letter with a drawing of the storefront, and it still arrived! (This was before Google!)
La Manual Alpargatera, a traditional espadrille store in Barcelona.Today, it is a must-stop for travelers in Barcelona and a preferred choice by locals as the espadrilles are classic and authentic.
Thanks to its comfort and quality, our store have received numerous forms of appreciation from our customer community, international awards and featured in prestigious fashion and lifestyle magazines like Vogue and Elle, to name a few.