What is raffia?
Raffia is made from dried palm fibers that are dyed and braided to create handcrafted products.
Where does raffia come from?
Raffia is a palm tree growing in Madagascar. Once harvested, the raffia fibers are exported, mainly to the rest of Africa and Asia.
What are the products made of raffia?
Raffia is used to make artisanal creations such as baskets, trivets, hats, bags or even shoes and sandals.
How are these shoes designed?
After receiving the shoe design,
Step 1. The craftsman imports raffia from Madagascar and makes sure to have leather and soles available.
Step 2. The craftsman will tint the raffia in the color he wants if they are not already.
Step 3. The craftsman will weave the raffia fibers around a pattern using needles. It may take more or less time depending on the complexity of the braided pattern. This is the most time consuming step, everything being done by hand and requiring a lot of concentration.
Step 4. The craftsman will cut the leather sole according to the shape of the shoe.
Step 5. The craftsman will assemble the two parts of the shoe. The sole will therefore be glued or sewn to the braided raffia part. If necessary, the laces are added, and the pair is ready to be worn.
How long does it take to make a pair of raffia shoes?
This manufacturing can take between 1 and 10 days, depending on the style of shoes (sandals, heels, mules or even derbies) and the complexity of the design that the designer has chosen.
How long does it take for our handmade raffia shoes to be delivered?
Once ordered, the shoes will be delivered within 5 to 15 days.
Where are our raffia shoes made?
They are handcrafted by Moroccan artisans / cooperatives in the city of Essaouira.
It is mainly women who perpetuate this artisanal know-how, and thus make it possible to energize these cities. Handicrafts are thus one of the essential components of the economy of Essaouira.
Are raffia shoes comfortable?
Raffia and leather are natural materials that have no risk of damaging the skin, even sensitive skin.
In addition, raffia fibers adapt to the morphology of the foot over time.
How to take care of my raffia shoes?
It should be noted that raffia shoes do not require any maintenance product. They should not be soaked in water like all products made from leather or raffia.
Which countries use raffia in their artisanal productions?
Many countries use raffia, mainly in Africa (like Morocco, where our shoes originate from, or Madagascar, where the raffia fibers come from) but also from south-east Asia (like Thailand).
What is the social impact of the production of raffia shoes in Morocco?
The artisans making raffia shoes are mostly women. It allows them to have a source of income while getting a certain flexibility in daily life, especially for women with children.
What are the main brands of raffia shoes?
Paradoxically, while raffia shoes are an important part of Moroccan craftsmanship, many brands sell essentially outside Morocco, among which we can distinguish:
- Yvonne Waska,
- Patrizia Pepe,
- Charlotte Woivré,
- Cult Gaia,
- Carrie Forbes,
- Vanessa Bruno
What are the different types of raffia shoes?
There are several types of raffia shoes:
● heeled shoes,
● the derbies
● and sandals.
There are of course several variations to each type, depending on customer requests (wedge heels, for example).
There are of course models of shoes for women, but also for men, and even unisex models, which may be suitable for both men and women.
What other materials are needed to make raffia shoes?
Leather is essential in the manufacture of these shoes, since it constitutes the sole. Fabric or leather can also be used for the insole. We sometimes find threads to sew the sole to the rest of the raffia shoe, when it is not the glue that plays this role.
How do you know if a raffia shoe is of good quality?
Several points can provide information on the quality of a raffia shoe:
● The thickness of the leather sole used, a thin sole will not be comfortable and wear out very quickly.
● The material used to make the insole: a textile insole wears out much faster than a leather sole.
● The delicacy of raffia weaving.
● The quality of the glue or seam between the sole and the rest of the raffia shoe: a poorly glued sole or glued with poor quality glue easily detaches from the rest of the shoe. Likewise, the seams give way more easily if they are poorly sewn.
Of course, when it comes to artisanal production, a shoe cannot be strictly
identical to another, but the overall quality between two same models must be the
What is the social / environmental impact of raffia shoes?
● Handcrafted with natural materials, they allow the local economy to function, particularly women's cooperatives.
● In addition, the manufacture and delivery of these raffia shoes is much more environmentally friendly than the manufacture and delivery of other shoes from across the globe.