The story of the alpargata began thousands of years ago, as it is believed the alpargata is a descendant of the Egyptian sandal. Romans later adapted the sandal by adding the upper for protection. As time went by, the Alpargata was taken to Spain where it took its current shape. In the 15th century it was taken to America by Spanish colonizers, soldiers and missionaries.
Pair of sandals from the middle Neolithic, found in Spain between 5200 and 4800 BC
By 1850 Buenos Aires had more then 50 families that hand made alpargatas for a living. Originally made as a poor man’s shoe, loved by rural workers for the comfort and versatility of alpargatas, the mythical gauchos of Argentina spread the popularity of the shoe. In their travels throughout Patagonia, the “Pampas”, and the Andes, the gauchos walked on foot and rode on horseback, always wearing alpargatas.
Without knowing it the alpargatas were born environmentally friendly too; made of more than 99.7% natural fibers, the upper is made from 100% Cotton and the sole made of 100% Jute.
Traditional Argentine alpargatas with made with jute and natural fibers
As time passed, alpargatas became a popular and important part of the city wardrobe and spread from Buenos Aires to all other cities. The alpargata, traditionally made only in black or white, became the everyday shoe for Argentina. For people who valued a breathable and glove-like shoe, simple, and at a good price, the alpargata was the perfect fit.
The alpargatas were born as a simple, environmentally comfortable and popular shoe for the masses!
The A&A idea was conceived by an Argentine family living in San Diego California since 2003 giving new life to the essential and traditional shoes they grew up loving. A&A kept the best parts of the traditional alpargatas and added a twist of comfort, design, color and fun.
A&A grew from countless experiences and trips with family and friends between Chaco, a small state in Northern Argentina where many people still don't have access to clean water, and San Diego California USA, where the “alpargatas style” has recently become well known by TOMS® and its giving purpose, which are also inspired by the popular argentine shoe. While we believe TOMS® mission is very good, A&A approach is different and very simple: build ESSENTIAL, COMFORTABLE and AFFORDABLE shoes of the same quality adding a twist of COLOR, DESIGN and FUN (passing the saving to you who can make a bigger impact donating to the charity of your choice. If you don't know anyone, here is a really good one: Water.org )
A&A is now a growing business and some of our team members are Agustin (Idea, Marketing), Abril (Idea, Design), Analia (Design and Development), Al (General Operations, CEO).