Huaraches in the State of Veracruz.

Given the cultural diversity in the state of Veracruz, the geographic distribution of Huaraches in the state is very complex. In the north of the state, the Totonac men who used to walk barefoot, did not make the Huarache transition to modern footwear. Today traditional Totonac footwear is considered ankle boots called ‘Botines’.

Photo from the Mueso Teodoro Cano in Papantla, Veracruz.

I was told that Huaraches were traditional in Papantla by Veracruzanos and even a reader of Huarche Blog many months ago. But the native Totonac group in Papantla wear boots not Huaraches. Below are some photos showing Totonac men wearing traditional dress and ‘Botines’ in the town of Papantla, Veracruz.

In the south of the state of Veracruz some Nahuatl groups walk barefoot.

In and around the cities in Veracruz, Huaraches have virtually disappeared. Just like in so many Mexican towns, there once used to be many Huaracheros, but over the years they have either stopped making Huaraches or passed away of old age. Today Huaraches made in the cities are mainly worn as costume footwear during the city festivities and are made from inexpensive synthetic leather and EVA soles. The few authentic Huaraches for sale are mainly imported from the neighboring states of Puebla and Oaxaca.

Below is a selection of Huaraches from the Mercado Hidalgo in the city of Veracruz, the largest city in the state. The dark brown Huaraches with the yellow sole in the photo on the right are the costume footwear Huaraches.

Xalapa the capital of Veracruz has surprisingly no Huaracherias. A few ‘Cruzado’ Huaraches are sold in shoe shops at the Mercado Jauregui and at 2  Talbarterias a few blocks north of the center.

The first Talbarteria on 220 Revolucion sells 2 styles, a ‘Correa Blanca’ Huarache and a ‘Cruzado’ Huarache’, both imported from Puebla.

The second Talbarteria selling Huaraches is located opposite the Mercado Galeana/Pipila. Talabarteria ‘El Jarocho’ buys from the only local Huarachero from the nearby town of Xico. As his production is small the Huaracheria also buys a small selection of Huaraches from nearby Puebla.

In Xico lives the only Huarachero near Xalapa. So I went to visit him. It wasn’t hard to find his house as everyone knew him.

Senor Mapel Luna, sells some Huaraches from his workshop and supplies some nearby shops also.

Unlike many Huaracheros he tans the hides himself using both vegetable and mineral methods.

He was very resourceful and was also treating some sheep’s wool to use as pillow stuffing. I’m not sure why he had an Apple computer box, I think he appreciated the quality materials used for the packaging.

Senor Mapel Luna makes 2 kinds of Huaraches, ‘para el campo’ for the field and ‘para banquetiar’ for party. These ‘Correa Blanca’ Huarache ‘Cruzados’ are for the field.

Further south west towards the borders of Oaxaca and Puebla the variety of Huaraches for sale in the big city markets increases.

In the city of Cordoba, the Mercado Revolucion had a good selection of Huaraches from Puebla and Oaxaca.

Huaracheria Gaby had an interesting Huarche ‘Tejido’, ‘Con Pelo’.

A new batch of Huaraches arrived packaged in this very interesting way.

Zapateria ‘Dos Hermanos’ around the corner sold an impressive selection of Huaraches.

Many from as far away Juchitan, Oaxaca.

A ‘Dos Correas’.

An ‘Una Correa’.

A Huarache ‘Cruzado’.

A Huarache ‘Arana’.

And an unusual rustic selection of Huaraches for women, decorated with bright lines.

In nearby city of Orizaba the main styles for sale at the central Mercado Melchor Ocampo were :-

This ‘Cruzado’ style that is locally known as ‘Huarache con Pelo’, from Puebla.

And a ‘Correa Blanca’ Huarache, was actually locally made and for which they also sold replacement ‘Correas’.

A few hours south in the small market town of Zongolica a town where in contrast to the cities most of the men wear Huaraches, those for sale also came from Puebla.

Including this Huarache ‘Tejido’ design.

Although the Huarache ‘Cruzado’ is worn almost exclusively in Zongolica, I did spot an unusual style of Huarache worn by a passing man.

Later the only remaining Huarachero in Zongolica, showed me that style, while sadly reminding me that he was the last of many Huaracheros in Zongolica. Called Huarache ‘Tapado’ or ‘Chinela’ this style originally came from nearby Tehuacan in Puebla.

This pair even had the traditional ‘Garbancillo’ studs in the sole.

In English Garbancillo is known as Hobnail, or Boot Stud. They were commonly used on leather soles for outdoor use up until maybe the 1950’s. Today they are still used on army boots during some marching parades.


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