Espadrilles are normally casual flat, but sometimes high heeled shoes originating from the Pyrenees. They usually have a canvas or cotton fabric upper and a flexible sole made of rope or rubber material moulded to look like rope. The jute rope sole is the defining characteristic of an espadrille; the uppers vary widely in style. In French Canada, however, espadrille is the usual term for running shoes or sneakers. The term espadrille is French and derives from the word in Occitan language, which comes from espardenya, in Catalan. In Catalan it meant a type of shoes made with espart, the Catalan name for esparto, a tough, wiry Mediterranean grass used in making rope. Espadrilles have been made in Pyrennean Occitania and Catalonia since the 14th century at least, and there are shops in the Basque country still in existence that have been making espadrilles for over a century.
Contributions by Favonian, 18.104.22.168, and 22.214.171.124.