San Diego-based Avarcas USA adds new sparkle to line of sandals


This spring, make your feet sparkle with a new collaboration between San Diego-based Avarcas USA and Oh Joy! Founded by San Diego husband and wife Noelia Pahissa and Jose Fuentes, Avarcas are made in partnership with the family-run Pons, the company which produces the shoes on the Spanish island of Menorca.

The island-style sandals, which are available in a variety of styles and colors for men, women and children, recently received an infusion of sparkle from Joy Cho, founder and creative director of Oh Joy! The line of multi-colored glitter sandals feature a colorful toe and silver strap.

Proceeds from the sale of women and children’s sandals, called “Classic Style Glitter Joy,” will be donated to Baby 2 Baby, which provides children living in poverty with diapers, clothing and other basic necessities. The limited-edition shoes are exclusively available on

PACIFIC spoke with Pahissa to find out more about the partnership, what to wear with Avarcas, and a few travel tips visiting Menorca.

How did Avarcas USA launch? What was the inspiration for San Diego?

NOELIA PAHISSA: When we moved from Barcelona to San Diego, we brought several pairs of avarcas with us and every time we wore them there was not a single day that a stranger wouldn’t ask me what kind of sandals I was wearing. As soon as we had the opportunity to, we decided to launch the company Avarcas USA — selling the shoes we both grew up wearing. Their casual look and versatility makes them a go-to for people, especially here in San Diego with our perfect weather!

How are San Diego and Barcelona similar?

Geographically I think both cities have the perfect location — a beautiful coastline and mountains surrounding the city. In both cities people enjoy outdoor activities, such as running and biking. Food is another factor in common, both cities are fortunate to source great produce and amazing seafood from its coast. Another similarity is that both cities are progressive with environmental awareness, allowing our passions for sustainability and eco-consciousness to flourish. Our shoes are made with naturally dyed leather, all sourced locally from the island of Menorca, and can withstand years of wear.

How did you team up with Oh Joy!?

Joy has been a great supporter of our brand since when we started our business. After all this time we decided to work together on a style of Pons and contribute to an organization we were both passionate about. Baby 2 Baby has been a wonderful partner for both our brand and Joy’s, as the organization aligns with our personal and professional goals.

How did you decide on glitter shoes?

Joy has always been a huge fan of the multi-glitter shoes available from Avarcas USA. We worked closely with Joy and her team to design the new “Joy” avarcas for women and kids, that feature a limited-edition glitter toe and a metallic silver ankle strap.

What’s your favorite pair of Avarcas? What do you wear them with?

Taupe with everything, from cargo pants to dresses. They can transition so easily from day to night! I love seeing how they age with time and get better the more I wear them.

Where can San Diegans find your shoes (which local stores besides online)?

You can find us in Gold Leaf in North Park, Progress in Bird Rock, Pigment in Liberty Station, Kiko & Sven in Normal Heights and Cedros Soles in Solana Beach.

One bit of travel advice for San Diegans who want to travel to this fabulous island of Menorca?

Menorca can get very busy during July and August so we recommend visiting the island during spring or fall. Jose and I were there during the few sunny and warm days of October and were able to be in Cala Macarelleta, one of the most beautiful beaches in the island with turquoise waters. There was almost nobody around us and it was incredible. Be sure to try local dishes such as the delicious Caldereta de llagosta (a traditional lobster stew), arros caldos amb peix (another traditional stew made with fresh caught fish and rice) from one of our favorite restaurants, Pinzell in Ciutadella. After a long and relaxing day visiting the island’s picturesque landscape go back to the Ses Talaies, a stunning hotel in an old barn surrounded by fruit trees and olive trees.