Style, price, selection … this hand-made espadrille shop, or Alpargatería, is everything you hoped for. Casa Hernanz Alpargatería, located at Calle de Toledo, 18, 28005 in Madrid, Spain, has some of the best handmade, affordable espadrilles in the city. I know because I went not once, not twice, but three times during my vacation in Madrid and picked up shoes for myself and my mom! Before you visit the famous shop, make sure you know what to expect and learn a few helpful tips for shopping at this classic shoe store
The espadrilles, also known as alpargatas, are mostly handmade at Casa Hernanz, which makes them highly desirable and sought-after treasures. Materials range from cotton and canvas styles to suede and leather uppers. They have all colors, all patterns, and all the style! The best part? I found affordable options men, women, and children starting at just 7€ for a basic pair of shoes!
Casa Hernanz is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 1:30pm and again from 4:30 to 8pm. On the weekends, the store is open from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays. It’s centrally located right next to Plaza Mayor and accessible with a short walk from the nearest metro station if you take public transportation in Madrid.
Tips for Espadrille Shopping at Casa Hernanz
- Show up first. Arrive right when they open, whether it’s in the morning or afternoon. The shop is small and can feel cramped, which is why patrons line up single-file outside. One person comes out and another comes in. By arriving slightly before the 4:30pm opening, I was able to expedite my buying privilege.
- Be patient. There is going to be a bit of a line, ok? So be patient with other customers as they buy amazing shoes like you will, too. Also be patient with yourself; there are what seems like hundreds of espadrilles to choose from and it might take a while to pick out the right pair, so browse first. Expect to spend 30min standing in line while contemplating your future purchase.
- Take pictures. Although Casa Hernanz is a small shop, the service is incredibly fast and little English is spoken. To help everyone along, know what you want to buy before arriving at the counter! To do this, take pictures of all the shoes before standing in line. After you take photos, while now waiting in line, look at the pictures and decide which alpargatas you want to purchase. Show the attendant the photo of the espadrille(s) you’re considering when you reach the front of the line. They will ask your size, run to the back, and grab the exact pair. If you’re not ready to tell them what you want, step to the side.
- European sizing. All of the espadrilles are in European sizing, not American or U.K. sizing. As a rule of thumb: for US women add 30 to your current shoe size. For example, I’m a size 7.5 US so that translates to a size 37.5 EU size. US Men +33, US Kids +32, UK +33. If you’re a half size, like me, size up for wider feet and size down for narrow.
- Try on the espadrilles after walking. Can’t decide between pairs of shoes? I couldn’t , so I asked to try them on for size and you can, too! It’s best to try the shoes after walking for some time to get an idea of how much your feet expand during daily use.
- Snug at first, will stretch. The shoes at Casa Hernanz should be snug at first, but don’t worry, they will stretch with use. If your shoes are tight, don’t buy them! Remember that snug is good, tight is bad.
- Bring cash. Cash is king no matter where you go. Madrid uses the Euro as currency, so be prepared to spend an average of 25€ for a pair, more or less, or a few pairs of alpargatas. Credit cards are accepted but it takes longer to process the payment, so I would just use cash. I found the espadrilles here to be MUCH more affordable than in the US (prices start in the US from $20 for a basic pair) and was happy to spend a few euros for a great gift. Also, there are no refunds so make sure that what you buy is what you want!
Hopefully these tips will help you on your first Espadrille shopping trip to Casa Hernanz in Madrid. Are you a fan of espadrilles? If so, do you like to buy solid or patterned espadrilles? Share your shoe style in the comments below!
Antoinette | Frolic & Courage