You may know that Spain is well known for its high-quality shoe manufacturing (think Manolo Blahnik, Campers, and Espadrille), so it probably will come as no surprise to you that these beautiful and comfortable shoes have a history that dates back centuries.
Similar to the way an ‘UGG Boot’ refers to a type of shoe made from sheepskin and wool; an “avarca” (Catalan pronunciation: [əˈvarkə], plural avarcas) is a type of sandal produced in Menorca. The shoes are made using a leather upper and a rubber sole.
Unlike Australia’s UGG boot, which unfortunately lost a large international trademark battle and was copied worldwide; the avarca name has fought off-patent attempts and been protected by the Island Government of Menorca (Consell Insular); and the Shoemaker Association of Menorca (Associació de fabricants del Calçat de Menorca).
Together they developed a standard for the avarca sandal, which requires any shoe named an “Avarca” to meet. This is called the ‘Avarca De Menorca’ guarantee and the accompanying logo, a certified "denominacion de origen" certifies the authenticity of the product. This has protected the Avarca name; the Menorcan shoe manufacturing industry; and the quality of the shoe as we know it today.
While there are a number of brands promoting this shoe, it’s important to look for the certification to ensure you are getting the quality product and supporting a small island shoe manufacturing industry that dates back centuries.