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Footwear, artisans, semi-artisan factories and avarcas
Menorca has an important footwear industry, from the very famous avarcas to high quality shoes that are now exported all over the world.
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Visit artisans and shoe factories
On this page we will talk about this production of Menorcan footwear, its history, and we will recommend some visits to master shoemakers and semi-artisanal factories.
In these visits you will be able to see how the shoe is made from scratch, you will discover the different manufacturing techniques and, of course, you will be able to buy the designs that you like the most. like.
These are free visits that allow you to learn first-hand about the process of creating and making both Menorcan sandals and other types of island footwear.
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History of footwear and avarcas in Menorca
For reasons of self-sufficiency, shoes have always been manufactured on the island of Menorca, ever since it was first inhabited.
However, it was with the arrival of the settlers from the Crown of Aragon that the foundations of the Menorcan footwear industry were laid in the 14th century.
Both the avarcas and the other branches of footwear manufacturing in Menorca evolved with these settlers, who made their shoes with the leather of animals from the many farms that, even today, populate the countryside of the island.
One of the most widespread versions of this local footwear, the avarca, evolved drastically with the arrival of tires.
Local artisans began to replace the leather sole with a rubber one, which made the avarca much more enduring and elastic.
Propelled by its own success, which was already reaching the noble classes, the avarca kept improving in design and shape, until the tourist boom of the 60s and 70s turned it into a massively produced product, by both factories and small artisans, who since then have taken advantage of the great demand that such comfortable, typical and resistant footwear generated among tourists on the island.
It is important to point out that, despite the fact that it is a cultural symbol of Menorca, the avarca is far from being the only footwear produced on the island.
Already in the 19th century there is documented evidence of large quantities of shoes made in Menorca being exported as far away from the Balearic Islands as Cuba.
Today there are still important footwear productions of various kinds in Menorca, all of them coinciding in the high quality standards promoted by the same association of producers, through the island government.
The footwear sector, either by the hand of dispersed craftsmen in almost alchemist-like workshops, or thanks to the semi-mechanized production of industries of significant size, is still one of the economic engines of the island and symbol of Menorca.
How much do avarcas cost
Although originally the avarcas were very similar, made with the same materials and with the same techniques, nowadays materials, techniques and production methods can differ a lot from one another, so the prices also vary depending on these factors.