Sophia Loren also glamourized the alpargata in the 1960s, parading the pages of glossy fashion mags in high-heeled espadrilles with boldly coloured ribbons criss-crossing her calves. You’ll still see them on the Paris runways (and on Paris Hilton) but in fact alpargatas are of humble origins, shoes of the paisanos, simple country folk who tilled the soil and lived off the land. The very espadrille ribbons that Sophia Loren strutted to stardom were born out of the most practical of necessities: to keep the alpargata snugly on as the farmer sloughed through the manure of his field at the crack of dawn. The official gala uniform of the Mosses d’Esquadra, Catalunya’s national police force, includes a sombrero de copa (top hat) to represent the rich, and espardenyas for the working class. In staying true to their roots, alpargatas are still remarkably cheap.