Because sometimes Huaraches can also be for scrolling.
A new Huarache Blog Tumblr page for old and new images of traditional Mexican Footwear, from Huarache Blog and from the web.
Cuetzalan del Progreso is a small market town tucked away in the northern mountains of Puebla.
The traditional footwear of this area is the ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache also known as the ‘Tres Piquetes’. As with many other indigenous Mexican traditions some local women still walk barefoot.
Similar to the ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache of the Raramuri/Tarahumara and the Huichol, the Huarache in Northern Puebla differs in that the leather strip is woven twice through the forefoot and usually requires no knot.
There is also another local ‘Pata de Gallo’ design variation and it includes a ‘Pechera’ flap over the arch and a ‘Rosadera’ strap on the heel.
When a Huarache sole wears down it is usual for a heel to be added.
You can get your ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches made at 3 stands during the busy Sunday market and they cost about 80 Pesos per pair. The Huaraches all come with a thick vegetable tanned leather insole nailed over the the standard car tyre outsole.
There are also a few other varieties of Huaraches for sale in Cuetzalan that are also found in towns across the state of Puebla.
These ‘Tejido’ Huaraches caught my eye because the leather strip was not woven through the traditional ‘grapas’ (staples).
Canonized in 2002, Juan Diego Cuahtlatoatzin is the first Indigenous American Saint.
Cuauhtlatoatzin means “the eagle that talks” in náhuatl.
On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531 Juan Diego witnessed the apparition of on Tepayac Hill of the Lady of Guadalupe, who is today considered the patron Saint of the Americas. In a time of social struggle between Indigenous Mexicans and Spanish the news of the apparition spread quickly through Mexico; and in the seven years that followed 8 million people were converted to the Catholic faith.
This oil painting of Juan Diego Cuahtlatoatzin was painted by Miguel Cabrera sometime before 1768 and also includes possibly the earliest depiction of the ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache.
A few weeks ago I posted photos of my Running Huarache Sandal Evolution design, with recessed strap grooves in the sole. This groove design in the sole permits the use of straps made from many materials, because it eliminates the abrasive ground contact between strap and running surface.
On the latest latest revision of my Running Huarache Sandals I have added polyester straps salvaged from a used basketball jersey. This jersey mesh material is not only softer and much more breathable than the salvaged bicycle tyre inner tube rubber I was using, but polyester also wicks moisture away from the skin, providing a new level of comfort.
I expect the jersey mesh will probably stretch a little over time, but the straps can easily be tightened when the time comes.
This ongoing study in barefoot running footwear is proving interesting for 2 reasons.
1. I’ve been able to systematically develop my understanding of natural running footwear and what is functionally necessary and essential.
2. It provides an insight into the emerging design philosophy of democratization. In this case the democratization of running footwear, footwear which is available, affordable and can be made according to precise consumer requirements.
Today’s run was cooler than yesterday’s.
Given my lack of form I decided not to endure further plantar strain and created this new sole design with an added a layer of Polypropylene plastic from a old blue trash can for added support.
The idea was to add some motion control to the floppy rubber Huarache sole, and the Polypropylene a widely available material with good energy return seemed ideal.
I also added a thin layer of scrap EVA foam for some psychological comfort (EVA foam sheets are widely available in Mexican school supply shops).
The new Polypropylene layer also allowed me to make recessed channels between the strap holes in such a way that the strap is no longer exposed to the abrasive running surfaces and will not wear down over time.
The recessed channels will allow me to experiment with other recycled materials that also offer some breathability.
After a first few runs the Polypropylene plastic unfortunately does not add any noticeable support to my foot. It does however have an unexpected motion control effect, in so far that it’s flatness corrects my foot position to help me land on my mid-foot and not my forefoot.
In case anyone is wondering? I couldn’t resist Photoshopping the Tyre Valve onto the strap. It hinted to an unusual idea of inflatable feet for increased cushioning.
Toot, toot, toot, is that the sound of a Horn?
Huarache Blog was recently quoted on the Luna Sandals website for saying this about Luna Sandals: “no company has come as close to paying homage to the incredible super-athlete Tarahumara as Luna Sandals.”
This is true, sports companies have in the past named their running products Tarahumara and Raramuri, but none have actually designed product that was otherwise related to the Raramuri.
Luna Sandals has done a fantastic job of developing and promoting not only a new concept in the running footwear market, but also one which is undeniably related to the Raramuri. Luna Sandals has put the Raramuri on the map.
Below is a recently found photo of Luna Sandals founder Ted McDonald and Manual Luna the Raramuri huarachero who showed Ted how to make the Raramuri ‘Pata de Gallo‘ Huarache sandal. The traditional ‘Pata de Gallo‘ Huarache that went on to become the Luna Sandal designs of today.
For more information on Luna Sandals, check out my post titled ‘Luna Sandals – Huaraches For Running‘
Keep up the good work Luna Sandals.
As a barefoot runner I began running on the beach, but later in my transition to running on the road I made myself a pair of ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches using a leather strip, a thin sheet of vibram and some suede purchased from the local cobbler.
However the ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache design did not feel stable nor comfortable for running. Not only did the front medial side flap about when my foot was in the air during the recovery phase, but the stiff leather strip put too much pressure over the joint of my 2nd toe.
I recently developed a new ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache design which is more stable and is comfortable on my toes while running.
Integrating some of the clever features of ‘Ho Chi Minh’ sandals, my new Running Huarache Sandals are a mixed breed. The Huaraches are made from 3 parts; 5mm thick aircraft inner tube rubber for the outsole, 1.2-1.4mm leather for my sole lining and 25mm wide strips of bicycle inner tube for the straps. I added an extra set of holes in the mid foot for an additional pass of the rubber strap. This provides me with added support and reduced strap pressure between my toes.
As on ‘Ho Chi Minh’ sandals, the stretchy nature and the rubber grip of the rubber strap and small holes in the sole, eliminates the need to knot the strap under the sole in the forefoot. This ‘knot-less’ technique is also used by the indigenous groups in the state of Puebla, Mexico on their ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches.
To provide better lateral support I use sets of 2 holes instead of just 1 to weave the strip through the sole; creating a ‘cross-strap’ configuration as on ‘Ho Chi Minh’ sandals, .
The wide rubber strap is neatly folded under the sole, this creates a tidy fold above the sole in a way that the strap edges don’t rub against the foot.
So as to reduce my negative environmental impact I chose to recycle already used rubber for both my Huarache sole and the straps. Used industrial grade rubber is plentiful in Mexico, I believe most of the used inner tubes from aircraft around the world are exported to Mexico.
I am currently test running my revised ‘Pata de Gallo’ running Huarache design to see how long it holds up, especially the aircraft inner tube sole and the exposed bicycle inner tube weave under it. So far, so excellent.
I came across these Ho Chi Minh sandals from Vietnam and although a little off topic I though them interesting enough to post about.
Ho Chi Minh sandals are iconic for having been worn by the Vietcong during the Vietnam war. During the war they were considered by many more practical than army boots, because being open they allowed the foot to dry and thus prevented the onset of ‘jungle rot’. But what makes Ho Chi Minh sandals really special in my mind is the simplicity and effectiveness of their design.
The construction and fit of these Vietnamese sandals is fascinating:-
Firstly, none of the straps are glued or nailed, they stay fixed in the sole only because of the tight fit and the rubber grip. This means that with a little effort the length of each strap can also be adjusted to fit the individual users foot width. Although I’m not sure how effective this minimal attachment of the strap to sole is in wet conditions.
Secondly, for all the minimal footwear running enthusiasts out there wearing ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches; the elastic ‘crossed’ ankle straps provide a surprisingly secure fit around the ankle. The secure fit and added support of the ‘crossed’ straps is ideal for running and in my humble opinion a worthy design successor to the original ‘Pata de Gallo’ wrap as worn by the Tarahumara.
Jon who is a reader of Huarache Blog kindly shared a great YouTube video of how Ho Chi Minh sandals are made.
A few years ago a best selling book called Born To Run by Chris McDougall introduced mainstream America to an indigenous Mexican group called Tarahumara or Raramuri which translates as ‘those with light feet’. The Raramuri live in the Copper Canyon in the southwest of Chihuahua State and as the name suggests have a long history and strong tradition of running. In fact the Raramuri are known to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury and more incredibly with no specific training.
Scott Jurek runs with Arnulfo Quimare. Photo by Luis Escobar.
Arnulfo Quimare. Photos by Luis Escobar.
Running Raramuri. Photo from Norawas De Raramuri – Friends of the Running People.
Below is a good video about the Raramuri as runners:
Running shoe companies have been paying homage to Raramuri for many years and long before the book Born To Run was released. To name a few designs Nike has in the past released shoes called Nike Tarahumara and more recently the Nike Raramuri. But no company has come as close to paying homage to the incredible superathlete Tarahumara as Luna Sandals.
Luna Sandals is a company started by one of the protagonists of the book Born To Run, a man called Barefoot Ted. The name of Luna comes from Manuel Luna a Raramuri in Urique who made Ted his first pair of Huaraches in 2006 where he was running in the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon.
Manuel Luna and Barefoot Ted. Photos taken from www.barefootted.com.
Raramuri ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches at the 2011 Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon. Photo taken from Barefoot Ted’s Facebook page.
Luna Sandals make ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache as used by the Raramuri to walk and run, but elevate the product with lighter and better performing materials. Whereas the Raramuri run in thick and heavy Huaraches made from old car and truck tyres, Luna Sandals are made using fine suede and leathers such as 2mm Cordovan which is glued to a 2-8 mm Vibram rubber outsole. With the addition of Equus elasticized laces Luna Sandals have essentially evolved the Pata de Gallo to turn it a performance running Huarache.
The top of the line at $125 is the LeadCat designed for the rough trails of the Leadville 100 race.
Then others are the Leadville Pacer at $75 which comes without a leather top and therefor has a thinner sole for improved ground feel and better performance in the wet.
As with all Huaraches they always look better worn in.
There is the Equus for $125 on a 2mm rubber sole.
And here is a worn Equus, notice how the Huarache has molded to the foot shape.
The main philosophy behind Luna Sandals is to honor the foot first by offering traditionally designed sandals which promote the rediscovery of a more natural style of running while fitting the needs of the modern consumer. And as far from a traditional running shoe as Luna Sandals are, I think they are right. The human body has evolved and developed to run shoeless over millions of years and running shoes have only existed for the last seventy, which poses the question; do we need all those technical running shoe designs, or do we just need to protect the soles of our feet with a light weight Luna Sandal?
Like Huarache Blog Luna Sandals is interested in the designs of traditional sandals from all over the world, sandals made out of natural, sustainable materials that are easy to make by hand with simple tools. And like Huarache Blog they also believe that minimalist footwear traditions are part of our shared heritage and that we should preserve them and encourage others to do the same.
Huarache Blog has designed and is currently testing its own running sandals, combining construction principles from the Tarahuamara ‘Pata de Gallo and the Ho Chi Minh sandals from Vietnam. Check them out on the post titled ‘My Running Huarache Sandals‘.