June 6, 2012

Style Essentials- The Handmade Sandal

My Personal Photo

Growing up, I always looked forward to our annual trip to the old-fashioned shoe store for sandals. Sandals symbolized the anticipation of summer with its’ long days. I didn’t wear sandals to school, so they were solely associated with all of the wonderful things that childhood summers are comprised of-afternoons by the pool, days spent on the beach, getting lost in books, popsicles…

Today, sandals still epitomize the carefree days of summer. I can’t wear sandals to work, but when the days warm up they’re one of the first things I reach for off-duty. Perfect for evening soirees, days spent in the Hamptons or just running errands. The sandal can go effortlessly from polished casual to evening. 

Sandals like scarves are one of my favorite items to bring back from my travels. There’s nothing like discovering a well-made item with a great story behind it or taking home the lasting memory of an artisan perfecting his or her craft. I fall hard for great craftsmanship and items that are handmade. 

Here are a few of my favorite handmade sandals that I've been wearing for years.

Jack Rodgers Navajo Sandal

Courtesy of Jack Rodgers
The iconic Navajo Sandal originated in Capri and was popularized in America by First Lady Jackie Kennedy as elegant resort footwear. Initially, independent cobblers in Palm Beach produced the sandals, until Jack Rodgers expanded production in 1961. 

Today, the Jack Rodgers Navajo sandals continue to be made by hand in Palm Beach. They’re a timeless classic. 

The rich upper leather on mine has gotten better over time and the signature stitching has remained intact. I love that they quickly mold to the shape of your feet. They also work really well for those of us with narrow feet. 

Every time I put them on I’m reminded of journeys and escapes. 
Jack Rodgers 
1198 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10128
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Rondini

Courtesy of Garance Dore
I have a fondness for Sandales Tropeziennes and the Rondini family has been working as sandal cobblers (they were the first sandal cobbler in Saint-Tropez) for over eighty years. Rondini sandals are made by hand in a small workshop behind the boutique. I could spend all day in the workshop observing how each piece is put together.

There is an enormous amount of pride and care put into each aspect of the process. 

The sandals come in a multitude of colors and leathers- including snakeskin and croc. These sandals are thick-soled, comfortable and last forever.

Rondini
16 Rue Georges Clemenceau
St. Tropez 
France 83990 
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K. Jacques 
K. Jacques (pictured in the first photo) are another one of my favorite Sandales Tropeziennes. The craftsmanship is impeccable. K. Jacques has remained family-owned despite successful collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld, Balenciaga and Givenchy to name a few. 

Handmade by trained artisans in Saint-Tropez, many of the styles offered are the original styles from the bespoke business the family cultivated in the 1930s with a few new styles added each year. At their store in Le Marais (and online) you can choose the style, color and leather and have your sandals arrive in NYC within ten days. 

I wore my K. Jacques all last summer- they only get better as I wear in the footbed and the leather straps.

K. Jacques 
25 Rue Allard 
Saint-Tropez, France 83990
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Melissinos Art 

Courtesy of Melissinos
Melissinos Art is a gem of a shop. From their website, “My hand-crafted sandals as products of love and personal joy combined with quality are not mass-produced for speedy delivery to customers. I do not feel satisfied unless I see the footwear I create perfectly fitted to your feet, but since people's feet are so different, I often have to get your measurements and re-adjust the sandal straps for a perfect fit, right on the spot.” What a refreshing point of view...
These sandals are chic and cheap, but fit the foot perfectly. Here’s a great read on the shop.

Melissinos Art
2 Aghias Theklas Street
Athens, Greece 
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Thank you for reading. Sandal weather always makes me excited for my classic OPI red pedicure. What is your footwear of choice for warm weather?

23 comments:

  1. The Rogers are all over Palm Beach, and it's nice to know they're still made in the area. I've heard good things about Kino sandals, made in Key West, very inexpensive but I hear they're comfortable and last. My friend has a pair. I'm actually not really into sandals, so I only own one pair a cream gladiator sandals. The last time I wore them they did look a little dated (remember when that look was big a few years ago), but I like the style. I rarely wear them anyway.

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    1. Prêt à Porter P- The Rodgers are all over Palm Beach and NYC too. When I was little I used to think they were too preppy, but they are so comfortable and I like that thet can be dressed up too. It's a pain searching for sandals when you have narrow feet- everything is so wide.

      My friend swears by Kino sandals because they're the same ones her parents grew up wearing in Cuba.

      I live in heels, but for holidays a sandal is a low-key and comfortable alternative that still looks polished. Your gladiators sound fun- I've never been into gladiators, but when worn with conviction they can look great on others.

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  2. Love this post!

    I also love the simple sandal. K. Jacques are exactly as you say, and they get better with wear. I had to pay a small fortune for my first pair in Australia (it's a long flight over) but they're still going strong.

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    1. Alice Olive- Thanks!

      I think simple is key when it comes to sandals. K. Jacques are so perfect and I love how they feel when they're all worn in- there's really nothing like it.

      I know people say they're pricey and there are comparable alternatives, but the quality really is superb and the last for years:)

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  3. I love the Rondini sandals! I adore sandals, it is such a shame that we only really get to wear them for a handful of weeks every year around these parts.

    The Melissinos Art ones look wonderful too - admiring handmade leather bags and shoes is my favorite thing to do when visiting Greece. As of right now I have three hand-made Greek bags in my bag collection :)

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    1. Maja H- The Rondini sandals are great. They really last and feel quite substantial for a flat leather sandal. My feet and hands tend to get really cold, so I really love when it's warm enough to wear sandals.

      The handmade leather and shoe industry in Greece is really amazing and I love how they're all family owned businesses- I have a sweet spot for that. People genuinely want to share their love of their craft, which is so inspiring.

      I love the idea of a handmade leather bag- so yummy and wonderful.

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  4. I love that you featured Melissinos! I had such a charming visit to that shop two years ago, discussing poetry with the owner and getting fitted for my sandals. They are my summer staples.
    I also love Indian Kolhapuri chappals - these leather thong sandals are made in western India and you can get them in many colours. I own a pair in black and another in Hermes orange, picked up at my favourite shoe stall in Bombay.
    A few years back, I bought a pair of Vanessa Bruno sandals in navy suede and leather with dull gold sequins across the front. They are a perfect choice for evening when heels don't quite work. So delicate and comfortable.

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    1. Ammu- Pantelis does such a lovely job. I think charming is the perfect way to describe it. I love how he's the third generation of craftsmen to preside over the shop. Such a wonderful place to visit for anyone who appreciates classics, aesthetics and literature. I'm glad you had a great experience too.

      Your Indian Kolhapuri chappals sound lovely. The Hermes is such a fun pop of color that works with more than you would think.

      Your Vanessa Bruno sandals sound really pretty and delicate. Perfect for evening. You're so right about heels not always being right.

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  5. K. Jacques sandals are so lovely and well-made, but I find they run quite narrow and small! Maybe I just have wider feet, but my normal size was too tight, and I don't think going up a size would've helped. I wish they had an option for different widths. Such a shame, because their sandals are perfect.

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    1. Anonymous- Generally, many people find that the K. Jacques do run small. They are very much suited to a narrow foot. All of my favorites here work well for really narrow feet, which is what my mom and I have. I really wanted to focus my post towards that, since I haven't really seen it addressed on blogs.

      I'm sorry to hear that the K. Jacques didn't work. They always suggest going up a size (I've even seen people go up two), but I can imagine that doesn't always work.


      Can I ask what your go-tos are?

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  6. thanks for the address for Melissinos. i can't wait to go visit him!

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    1. Joy- You must check them out and let me know how your visit goes;)

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  7. Lindsay, you've picked all my favorites! I've worn Jack Rogers for years until I was too embarrassed to let friends see how tattered they are. My K Jacques sandals have been worn to bits. I've actually contacted Rondini last week as I'd like to have a pair made for me.

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    1. Chocolate, Cookies & Candies- Marlene! We're always on the same page! The Jack Rodgers are so comfortable once they're all tattered and worn in, but I had to let a pair go for exactly the same reason. This was after 7 years of wear!

      I'm glad to hear that you are getting so much wear out of your K Jacques as well.

      Which Rondini's are you ordering? It's so great that ship to a few places and the shipping and it's reasonable! I also like that they take into account ankle circumference so I don't have that awful feeling of them sliding off. I can't wait to see what you ordered.

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  8. I love summer sandals. I've always wanted a pair of classic K Jacques but too worried about ordering them online in case they don't fit, so will simply hold that thought. Mine are currently from Massimo Dutti - affordable and nicely-made, I expect mine to last for years, they look pretty new after one year of regularly wear.

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    1. lin- You have the perfect weather for them. There's something nice about holding the thought on an item as you say. That's great that you found a nicely made pair that are affordable and chic!

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  9. I love handmade sandals, I have been looking at the spanish company Medwinds. These are handcrafted in Mallorca, they have a long tradition making shoes...I got my espadrilles from an small company in Spain also, you can feel the difference...also buying locally you can get a much better price : )

    http://www.medwinds.com/store/es/mujer/zapatos/deia-thong-sandals.html?p=4&mode_append=1&order=&dir=asc

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    1. lunaday- The Mediwinds look so well cushioned- like walking on air. Wow! That long tradition of making shoes is exactly what I love.

      Your espadrilles sound lovely. My friend just got back from Spain and had a few pairs of espadrilles made there- such a wonderful experience.

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  10. love this post - i have been looking at k jacques sandals for a few years and love the look of the rondinis too, ever since i saw them on Garance's blog. i think this season i'll give the jack rodgers a try - they look quite hardy and i can't resist a Jackie O brand heritage!

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    1. miss sophie- Thank you!

      I've been really happy with my K Jacques. So perfect for summer evenings. Over the years I've been really impressed by the Rondinis too. Both are so easy to maintain too!

      The Jack Rodgers are great! Yes! I definitely have a weakness for Jackie O brand heritage.

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  11. Hi Lindsay, great post !! You made up my mind to order a pair ! I live in Belgium and I don't get many chances to wear sandals (here we only get a few occasional summer days) so I ve never really invested in a pair of top quality sandals. It s not that I haven t been drooling over k jacques for years it s just that I have always preferred investing in items that I can wear every season. But if they last for years and I can still take them on holidays maybe rhey are worth the investement, right ?
    I m going to check the Rondinis as well and decide which ones I should get. I need thel fast as my 2-weeks holidays are coming soon !! xx

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    1. Marta- Hi! I know exactly what you mean about investing in items that you can wear every season. Belgium does have beautiful cooler summers. It's 100 degrees plus here- so that sounds nice.

      I think if they last for years and you can bring them on holidays, then they might be worth the splurge. You should look at the Rondinis too- you can't go wrong with either. Have a lovely holiday. Where are you headed?!

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  12. Hey, now you can buy tropeziennes sandals made by Rondini on their website / e-shop : http://www.rondini.fr

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