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These Cute Summer Espadrilles Are Surprisingly Techy

Looking for a new beachside shoe style but not feeling flip-flops? J.Crew has you covered, literally.

Starting today, the retailer is stocking select styles from New York-based startup label Sea Star Beachwear. The collection includes three women’s versions of the brand’s water-friendly Beachcomber espadrille, offered in navy, metallic platinum and a blue-and-white gingham that will be exclusive to J.Crew. Also available is a kids’ slip-on, in hot pink.

The shoes are being sold online at Jcrew.com, priced at $90 for women’s and $68 for children’s.

Sea Star Beachwear was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurial pals Libby Fitzgerald and Michael Leva, who wanted to create a versatile and fashionable water shoe.

“Michael and I had an idea for a shoe that you could wear into the water that is also attractive enough to wear into town,” Fitzgerald told Footwear News recently. “All the beach water shoes out in the market are more technical and sporty. Ours is more chic and attractive so that you can wear it with a nice outfit.”

Sea Star Beachwear

The Beachcomber espadrille in navy, $90; Jcrew.com

Sea Star Beachwear

The Beachcomber espadrille in platinum, $90; Jcrew.com

Their first creation was the Beachcomber, a classic espadrille slip-on that is deceptively techy. The upper is made with quick-drying neoprene, attached to a non-marking rubber sole that’s similar to a flip-flop bottom.

And what about that rope detail on the edges, you ask? Surely that’s not waterproof. Tricky, tricky: The rope pattern has been molded into the rubber and is part of the sole.

In addition to the Beachcomber, which is available for men, women and kids, Sea Star also introduced two new styles this spring: a flat slingback for women and a sporty slip-on for men, both retailing for $89.

Leva explained that the brand is growing quickly because it has wide appeal in the marketplace. “We have a really broad customer range — and a broad age range. Because the look is classic, it attracts a lot of people with a classic lifestyle, but because of the neoprene, you get a youth presence, too. It appeals to so many people.”

In addition to selling at J.Crew, Sea Star’s footwear is also available at select Nordstrom doors, in more than two-dozen boutiques and on the brand’s website.

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