August 31, 2020 0 Comments

Petit Barcelona Spanish Avarca Sandal Handmade in Menorca Spain

Avarcas are popular around the world for their effortless style and comfort. Worn by celebrities, royalty, and ‘everyday women’, they are adored as much for their versatility as they are for their durability. They are, quite simply, forever en pointe.


Not only are they wildly popular worldwide, Avarcas also have a rich history - from humble and dusty farming origins to Menorcan guesthouses for the wealthy, all the way to your feet!


Where do they come from?

Avarcas are a style of shoe that originates from the island of Menorca. One of four islands that makes up the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, Menorca is the smaller island to well known Mallorca, and sister islands to Ibiza and Formentera. The Balearics are accessible via a 20-minute flight from Barcelona or 9-hour ferry trip. The islands are known around the world for their stunning turquoise waters, narrow cobblestone pathways, amazing cheese and gin, long siestas, and fresh seafood. Most importantly though, Menorca is also known for its Avarca or Menorquina Spanish sandals! Sounds like our kind of place, right? 

As if we could love it any more, this deeply gorgeous island has a love affair with shoes that has lasted the distance. And it just so happens, so do we!


Petit Barcelona Balearic Islands Map


Petit Barcelona streets and houses of Menorca


Petit Barcelona Cala Turqueta beach Menorca coral flat avarcas

A little history

The first Avarcas were made in the late 1800s for Menorcan farmers who needed a durable and affordable shoe. This shoe needed to carry them from the dirt on the farm, into the town, day after day. Originally made entirely from leather, the 1920s saw a change in the use of materials when cars became popular modes of transport and car tyres became abundant. With a flair for innovation and sustainability that was ahead its time, Menorcan shoemakers began to upcycle car tyres to create the soles of their Avarcas. 

The story goes that sometime in the 1950s, a small guest house in Menorca began to provide its guests with Avarcas to wear as they walked along the beach. The women adored them but wanted something a little more feminine, and a little less farm- sturdy, which resulted in the creation of the Avarca as we know them today. Our gorgeously feminine, stylish Avarcas! 

To this day, our Avarcas are still handmade traditionally, with leather uppers and recycled tyre soles. 

The first Spanish Avarca sandal made for the peasant farmers in Menorca, Spain


What makes Petit Barcelona’s Avarcas so special?

Petit Barcelona’s very own Barcelona-born Helios has been working in the footwear industry in Spain for more than 20 years. With the inside knowledge that the best shoe craftsmen in Menorca were the Torres family, Helios approached José Torres with his idea for a uniquely beautiful range of Avarcas, to be designed just for the Australian market. And so began an exclusive collaboration - a meeting of shoe-loving minds, hearts and souls!

Petit Barcelona choosing leathers in Menorca


Petit Barcelona Handmade Spanish Avarca Sandals Leopard print


Petit Barcelona choosing leathers in the Menorca studio

Each of Petit Barcelona’s Avarcas is designed and created by Helios and Lauren together with José and his son Cristobal, and is then lovingly, slowly, handmade in Menorca, by each of Josés´children. 

What began as a business meeting in Menorca in 2017 has flourished into a successful business partnership and a lifelong bond between the two families. Helios and his wife Lauren typically spend a portion of each year in Menorca designing new styles for the Australian market, while living life large at the shoemaker's family home. 

Petit Barcelona Vila Valentina Finca Menorca


Every Petit Barcelona shoe is crafted according to authenticity guidelines and is certified by the Menorcan Government as being a genuine handmade Avarca. This certification is so important in protecting the beautiful history and authenticity of handmade Spanish Avarcas. Because nobody wants an imitation Avarca!

Guarantee authentic Avarcas de Menorca

And that, my friends, is the Avarca Story!


Where to buy?

Come and visit us in our Camp Hill Marketplace store, or pop into our online store here, to view our gorgeous range of Avarcas… and let the love story continue!


Getting the right fit
Petit Barcelona Fit Guide


We often talk instore about the perfect fit. What we’re looking for, how it should feel, and how to overcome any niggly foot problems you may be having. 

So, we asked Lauren, owner of Petit Barcelona, to sit down and answer a few questions that we’re asked regularly. Questions around fit, leathers and care of our sandals. 

How do I find my size?

The first thing you need to consider when buying a pair of Spanish sandals is the length of your foot. The length, not the width, of your foot will determine your size. We recommend you go with your standard size.

Narrow Fit - shop the standard fit collection and choose your standard size. If you are between sizes, go down a size. The best leathers for a narrow fit and thin achilles is to choose the thicker Nubuck leathers which will provide more support. 

Standard Fitshop the standard fit collection and choose your standard size. All of the leathers in the range will suit your feet.

Slightly Wide Fit - shop the standard fit collection and choose a leather that will give and mould to your foot shape - suede's and box calf leathers. It is also recommended that you try the New Wide Fit Collection as these will also provide the width you need. 

Wide "D" Fit - shop the NEW Wide Fit Collection if your feet are traditionally wider than standard (see further information below). Available in a selection of Flat Avarcas and Platform Avarcas - Shop here. Stick with your standard size as we have made the width slightly larger to accommodate the extra width room you require. 


Need an extra wide fit?

Love our shoes but find that the width isn’t wide enough? Then our NEW Wide Fit Collection is for you. 

Introducing our new Collection of Flat Avarcas and Platform Avarcas in a wider “D’” fitting size. Our first drop comes in our best selling Almond Nubuck, Black Suede and Metallic Braided Champagne Box Calf in both Flats and Platforms. 

How does the Wide Fit Collection work?

Our Wide Fit Collection is essentially the same standard fit length, but the width is wider than your standard fit. 

If you are normally a size 38 in length but a wide fit, most of the time you would have sized up to a 39 to accommodate the extra width needed. By going up a size, it often left you with a little too much room at the back of the shoes.

To check if our New Wide Fit Collection is perfect for you, please consult our size guide below (the column on the far right - Wide Fit Width - CM).

My shoes have arrived and are feeling very snug, is this ok?

It sure is! We want them to feel a little snug across the front of your foot! This is the part that will soften and mould to your foot with wear.

If your feet are within the stitching on the insole of the shoe you have the right size. Long toes may peep through the front of the shoe, others may not. This is a normal variance.

If the shoe feels a little snug but you’re not experiencing actual pain, you have the right size. 

If your shoes are too tight across the top of your feet, or your toes are pinching, then the NEW Wide Fit Collection of Flats and Platforms will be perfect for you. 

Simply shop the available Wide Fit Collection here


The back straps are quite loose or won´t stay up. Is this the right fit?

Your back straps should sit firm on your heels. They will naturally fall to the widest part of your heel as they wear in. They will at first feel like they might fall off, but they won´t completely. If your straps are gaping, or sliding up and down as you walk, but your length is fine, then our shoes are not the right fit for your heel shape.  

Many people who can´t wear back straps normally, choose our Platform Avarcas or Wedge Espadrilles, as the incline of the shoe means that the back strap stays up higher than the Flat Avarcas. 


Should my toes be visible or not?

As all feet are different shapes, the length of your toes are too. Whether or not your toes are visible is not an indication that your shoes fit or not. We like to think that when you haven´t had a pedicure, our shoes hide a multitude of sins! 


I don’t think I have the right size. What should I do?

If your Spanish Avarcas are snug to the point of pain you may need to go up a size. If your foot is within the stitching but the back strap is falling, you may need to go down a size.

Any further questions, please contact us via email at