The abarcas are indisputably a reference of the Minorcan craftsmanship. Despite their simple origins (a simple shoe of the Minorcan peasants), the abarcas are so popular today that their fame has crossed the borders of the island and become the icon of the summer.
The abarcas are the simple Minorcan sandals. At first, the abarcas had hemp sole and a wide top made of pig or oxen leather. A band sewn with thick thread held the sandal to the ankle.
This sandal was created by the island´s peasants and day-laborers of the island. Their goal was to create comfortable and durable footwear for field work. Pioneers of the abarcas were the shoes of the Carthaginians in 200 BC. They wore similar leather shoes.
When the rubber tires appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, the production of this shoe changed. The old tires were much sought after to cut the sole from them. The whole production was made by hand, even the sewing, which meant a great effort. Later, machines took over this heavy task.
From the 60s the abarcas were popular all over the island as a summer shoe. In the 1980s, factories were being built and innovated with new materials and processes and which made the abarcas a more industrial good. Today we find a great variety: cow leather, fabric, hemp, plaited raffia with motifs, cut out parts, etc.
With tourism, this footwear has been widely known for its characteristics: it is durable, comfortable, fresh, easily combinable and versatile. (Both men and women, both old and young, wear these shoes).
Menorca has factories in villages like Ferreries, Ciutadella or Es Migjorn Gran. There is a wide variety of models in every shoe store on the island, and some brands sell their models on-line. In order to prevent imitations, these sandals have to show the "Avarca de Menorca" label and the designation "Producto hecho en Menorca" as the name of the origin, which guarantee their quality and authenticity.