Raphia is an artisanal shoe label with a focus on natural products, ancient craft and modern design. Founded in 2015 by Utrecht based Dutch-Moroccan designer Said Belhadj, the brand offers handcrafted raffia shoes made in collaboration with Moroccan artisans and European organic supplier companies. Inspired by traditional techniques developed by local craftspeople, Raphia develops new shapes using raffia, a material made from dried palm leaves of the raphia taedigera tree.
Dyed with natural pigments resulting in unique colours and patterns, the raffia is stitched by hand on the shoe last. The fibre is surprisingly strong and highly breathable, retaining the artisan’s touch and showing the beauty of handcraft. The soles are produced in France, made either with sustainable natural tanned leather or natural rubber using hevea milk. The insoles are a blend of linen and coconut shell. All parts are put together by shoemakers in the Netherlands.
The result is exceptionally comfortable shoes that adapt quickly to the feet. It is a decidedly challenging product to develop, since comfort is not sacrificed for the sake of sustainability, nor does sustainability come at the cost of comfort. Behind their light and fragile appearance, Raphia shoes are trusted lifelong partners, almost infinitely repairable.