They don’t make Huaraches soles as thick as these anymore. Huaraches “Tres Vueltas” from just outside the Central Market in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.
Vincente Torres Perez and Jacinto Lucas De La Cruz are the last remaining Huaracheros in Atoyac, Jalisco.
The Huaraches in Atoyac have the distinctively pointed soles. Srs. Torres and Lucas make many styles and their most popular are the “Tejido” in the “Finito” (fine weave) version.
The “Tejido Sencillo” Huarache with the “Fuerza” strip of leather on the toe.
And the “Tejido Sencillo” Huarache.
They also refurbish old Huaraches, something I have never seen before. In this case the customer wanted to keep the original leather sole and an new upper was woven into it.
All their Huaraches are made using the same traditional techniques using wooden mesquite lasts.
Many Huaraches are also made to measure.
All the strips of leather are softened in oil and water and left to dry overnight before weaving.
The workshop “Taller” where Don Vincente and Don Lucas work is about as authentic as it gets.
A cool open space with adobe walls and a thatched roof, old wooden tools and vegetable tanned leathers abounding.
They still had a child’s version to the traditional field Huarache the “Alcapoyo”. This Huarache style is one of the oldest and simplest styles. The likely successor of the “Pata de Gallo” and the design bridging that to the complex woven ones we see today.
For orders Don Vincente and Don Lucas can be reached at the following number: 413.841.0215
Presenting úkata, Huarache Blog’s online store selling rare Huarache designs crafted by the most skilled artisans.
The name úkata means ‘craft’ in Purepecha an ancient language from Central Mexico where Huarache Blog began. Fittingly the indigenous Mexican Purepecha are considered the finest craftspeople in Mexico and are especially well known for their weaving abilities.
úkata hopes to offer readers around the world the opportunity to wear and experience the best Huaraches. Unique footwear where both leather and design are handcrafted, in some special cases by the same artisan. Timeless footwear design that has been made the same way by the Huarachero and his family for 2, 3 and sometimes 4 generations.
úkata aims to support Huaracheros by selling their Huaraches in periods of low sales and in limited quantities, so as not to disrupt any existing trade which they maintain with existing long term retail partners.
Talented Huaracheros who are being sidelined by the rise of branded factory footwear, increasing costs of leather and the declining prices of the local Huarache market. úkata will promote their craftsmanship to a global audience with the long term objective to help elevate the craft of Huaraches by selling only the finest examples. Increasing exposure and demand for high quality Huarache design to encourage highly skilled artisans continue refining their craft and grow their business, hiring employees and passing down their Huarache making knowledge to future generations.
According to Mexican designer Alejandro Curi every year 25 million vehicle tyres are thrown away in Mexico alone, of which only 5% is recycled. The former FIT design student saw the great potential of re-purposing such a high quality and abundant material and so developed the Kwarachi Machine.
Kwarachi Machine is project where press and sole cutting dies would be placed in marginalized and impoverished areas around Mexico, where many still cannot afford shoes. Such a set up would provide locals with a basic resource that they could use to make their own Huarache Footwear, but which they could also use to make Huaraches to start a small business and generate income.
The idea of providing a common use cutting press and cutting die is interesting because it could provide unskilled craftspeople a tool to create a quality cut sole. This is would be especially valuable today as most Radial tyres have steel wires running through them, making hand cutting with a knife impossible.
For the past 3 years Huarache Blog has been documenting and promoting the craft of Mexican Huarache footwear. This year I will also be developing a specialty e-trade business to offer more immediate support to the craft of Huaraches.
Introducing úkata, an online Huaracheria selling only the best Huaraches in Mexico. Rare designs crafted by the most talented Huaracheros. Timeless Huarache styles that have been made the same way by the artisan and his family for generations. Footwear with a low environmental impact, made with naturally processed and recycled materials.
Click back in February for a more detailed post on úkata and to visit the online store.
Durante los últimos 3 años Blog Huarache ha estado documentando y promoviendo la artesanía de los Huaraches Mexicanos. Este año voy iniciar un negocio de comercio internet para ofrecer un apoyo más inmediato a los Huaracheros y a la artesanía de los Huaraches Mexicanos.
Presentando úkata una Huaracheria en línea de los mejores Huaraches en México. Huaraches excepcionales hechos por los mejores Huaracheros.
Si algúno Huaracheros talentosos quieran vender sus huaraches en el internet, por favor pónganse en contacto con Huarache Blog escribiendo un comentario con sus correo eléctronico en la parte inferior de este artículo (Enter your comment here…).
The small farming town of San Gabriel sits on fertile plains just North of the Nevado de Colima. Market day is on Monday when the locals stock up with their week’s supplies. The market however doesn’t sell Huaraches. For those, the people of San Gabriel go to the workshop of Manuel and Ramon Rodriguez the last remaining Huaracheros in San Gabriel.
Their ‘Petatillo’ Huaraches design has a regional brick weave design different from the ‘Petatillo’ Huarache from the southern Guadalajara area.
The ‘Aranita’ Huarache.
The ‘Aranita’ Huarache design comes in different leather weave thicknesses depending on use and price.
Another ‘Petatillo’ Huarache variant.
A ‘Zapatilla’ Huarache.
And two ‘Petatillo al Reves’ Huaraches.
All of the Rodriguez’s Huarache designs also come in children’s sizes.
Women’s styles include the ‘Mariposa’ Huaraches
and the ‘Cadena’ Huaraches, all made strictly from one continuous leather weave.
San Gabriel makes a nice day trip especially on Monday market day and while you’re there be sure to visit the Huarache workshop of Manuel y Ramon Rodriguez a few blocks from the central plaza at:-
San Gabriel, Jalisco
For orders and further information contact Manuel y Ramon Rodriguez Blas at Tel: 343.427.0298.
Señor Alfaro is 70 years old and the last Huarachero in Sayula, Jalisco. Although his woven Huaraches have won him awards in regional craft competitions, today like may Huaracheros his business has become very difficult. Although Señor Alfaro has done very well to stay in a trade where many have quit, he melancholically tells me that Huarache making is a craft headed for extinction and that he has advised all his family not to get into it.
Sadly most towns in Mexico have at most one Huarachero left, whereas 30 years ago each town used to have many. Señor Alfaro told me that at one time 90% of Sayula locals wore Huaraches and 10% wore shoes, today that ratio is inverted and only 10% wear Huaraches.
But besides the reduced consumer base, there are 2 major difficulties facing skilled Huaracheros today, the rising costs of vegetable tanned leather and rubber tyres, and that very few Mexicans are prepared to pay the equivalent of US$30-US$60 for footwear, especially if it isn’t branded.
But if you’re looking for some new high quality Huaraches and want to learn more about how they’re crafted, Señor Alejandro Alfaro Ramirez’s welcomes you to visit his ‘Taller’ workshop only a few blocks from the main Plaza in Sayula, Jalisco.
The workshop is located at:-
Prisciliano Sanchez No.160
Sayula, Jalisco, Mexico
Remember that you won’t find any Huaraches made as finely as Señor Alejandro Alfaro Ramirez’s in any Mexican Market or High Street.
Some of Señor Alfaro’s Huarache designs include the ‘Finito Recargado’. Notice how every weave on the vamp overlaps the next.
Simpler ‘Recargado’ Huaraches with ‘adornos’ detailing. As well as complex weaves many Huaraches used to be embellished with stitching and rivets (some as big as a nickel). Such Huaraches were sometimes referred to as “para domiguear”, which loosely translated means “to Sunday in”.
Some ‘Arañita’ Huaraches
And ‘Zapatilla’ Huaraches
There are 2 Huaracherias in Tamazula, Jalisco and both are near the central market.
Huaracheria ‘Don Cuco’ sells a variety of styles mainly from nearby Ciudad Guzman and Sahuayo.
But the ‘Creme de la Creme’ at ‘Don Cuco’s’ where undoubtedly this fine pair of ‘Tejio’ Huaraches with 16 ‘Vueltas’ made by a local artisan. Unfortunately such styles are harder to find nowadays because there is little demand for Huaraches that cost more than a pair of Shoes.
There was also an interesting pair of ‘Ojillado’ Huaraches with small metal eyelets.
Huaracheria Galvez also sold ‘Ojillado’ Huaraches, but they were not as popular due to their higher cost as the ‘Tejido’ Huaraches.
The ‘Tejido’ Huaraches.
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).