100th Post! – My First Huarache Design

This is Huarache Blog’s 100th post! So for the occasion I would like to introduce readers to a Huarache styling exercise I did almost two years ago when I was in Sahuayo, Michoacan and when Huarache Blog was only a few posts old.

As you might already know about this time 2 years ago I traveled  to the town of Sahuayo in Mexico, which with over 200 production centers (factories and workshops) is the manufacturing center for Huaraches in Mexico.

I arrived in Sahuayo and after some asking and searching I found the Artesanias Ochoa ‘Taller’ (click on the link to see some Artesanias Ochoa Huarache designs) down this dusty street.

Antonio Ochoa and his son Victor are the only Huaracheros in Sahuayo who exclusively make formal/dress Huaraches. After some time learning about their craft, I suggested that they try using some new formal lasts and that they try elevating their Huaraches not only as they had been doing in construction and materials, but also proportionally. Baffled by this ‘foreigner’ showing up at their doorstep with ideas about evolving their designs, they nevertheless agreed to help me make my own pair.

Below is Antonio Ochoa, who showed me how to cut and weave my Huaraches.

I picked a traditional ‘Armadillo’ Huarache design, also known as the ‘Costeno’ and paired it to a new, ‘faster’ formal last that I bought in the city of Leon (shoe manufacturing center of Mexico). Then once I had bought a hide of vegetable tanned leather I began drawing and cutting out the parts for the upper.

For those new to this blog, I would like to point out that woven Mexican Huaraches are uniquely constructed, in so far that the upper is woven into the sole from a single strip of leather. This type of traditional woven construction is not only very complex, but also effectively combines upper construction and lasting into a single operation. Making footwear from a woven strip of leather reduces and can even eliminate the need for pattern cutting, so that very little leather is wasted.

Weaving my Huarache, you can see the single strip of leather (correa) that marks the weaving start point. The spike tool on the right is called a ‘corregidor’ and its used to guide and sometimes force the leather strip through the tight weave.

Finished weaving, notice the the end of the single strip of leather (correa) showing under the heel.

Much to the dismay of the two purist Ochoa Huaracheros, I later also bought a factory made leather outsole and heel from Leon, to be certain that the finish of the Huaraches would be sharp. The factory outsole was then stitched together with the punched Huarache midsole.

Most traditional Huaraches are made without glue and have no stitching, they are simply made from leather, nails and more recently also rubber from old car tyres for the sole.

With the outsole and heel buffed, the Huaraches are ready to be polished.

A quick comparison to some existing Ochoa Huarache samples.

I had intended to keep the natural vegetable tan finish, but the Ochoas convinced me otherwise. The polishing done, the Huaraches were ready to wear.

For more information and to discuss potential orders of this and other Artsanias Ochoa Huarache designs as seen below, contact Antonio and Victor  at +52.353.532.7503.

Later a celebratory Huarachero picnic in the country.

With a mere 149 clicks for the month of February 2010 and with over 4000 this month, Huarache Blog continues to grow. Whats more there is still a lot more information about Huaraches to learn about and share.

I would like to thank all readers of Huarache Blog and bloggers who have linked, those who have provided me with encouraging comments and suggestions, but especially all the Huaracheros, Huaracheria Owners, Anthropologists and everyone else who has helped me collect much of the information published on Huarache Blog. Gracias!

“onward, upward, till the goal ye win” – Frances Anne Kemble (1809-1893)


14 Comments on “100th Post! – My First Huarache Design”

  1. Julia says:

    How many pairs of huaraches do you own?

    • huaracheblog says:

      Not as many as I would like!

      Ideally I would like to collect all of them, because each Huarache design is different, fascinating and represents a part of a disappearing Tradition and Culture. But buying and shipping would mean a large expense. Digital photography is an inexpensive and effective way to help record, preserve and promote Huaraches, and its all I can do right now.

      On a personal level, I own 8 pairs.

      2 pairs (one for wet weather one for dry) of the ‘Tejido’ Huaraches from near Zamora, see my post ‘To Make a Huarache‘. Such a rich woven design and so simply made with neither stitching nor glue, they are pure Huaraches!

      1 pair of ‘Rienda’ Huaraches from the same Huarachero who made the ‘Tejido’ Huaraches. I wrote an article on him for HandEye Magazine, titled ‘Master and Maker of Mexican Huaraches’.

      The first pair I made at Huaraches Arias in Sahuayo, see my post titled ‘Sahuayo‘.

      A pair of ‘Capellada’ Huaraches also from Sahuayo, see my post titled ‘New Huaraches‘.

      A pair of ‘Caracol’ Huaraches from outside Guadalajara, see my post titled ‘Senor Ernesto Aguilar a Master Huarachero’.

      And 2 pairs of ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches, see my posts titled ‘My Running Huarache Sandals‘ and ‘Back to the roots of Huarache making’.

  2. Alex says:

    Do you know where I can get Rienda huaraches?

  3. huaracheblog says:

    Sahuayo is perfectly safe, you can drive or get the bus. The neighboring town of Jiquilpan is also very nice.

  4. Jena Lee says:

    Beautiful huaraches! Love your design work. Recently moved to LA from Chicago and discovered how incredibly perfect these shoes are for the climate here. I would love to purchase a pair directly from a huaracheria, but wondering if they even make them in my size, a women’s 9.5-10? Also, do you know if there are any huaracheros in Southern California or the northern part of Mexico? Thanks for documenting this incredible cultural art!

    • huaracheblog says:

      Hi Jena,
      unfortunately it might hard to find a woman’s size 10 Huarache. But bear in mind that most traditional Huarache designs are made for men and are mostly between a size 5 and 10 men’s. So you should have no problem finding a unisex design in your size. That being said I don’t know of any Huaracherias in the US, nor in northern Mexico.
      Thanks for your kind words.

  5. Ms Uttara Lakhani says:

    Your blog is superb. I came across it while surfing some Huarache designs. Me (Ms Uttara Lakhani) and my husband (Mr Kinner Lakhani) manufacture and export Huarache as well as other Leather footwear. Our factory is based in India at Mumbai. Our company is Avalon International. Thus it was a delight to read your blog. We will be more then glad if you visit us anytime you are traveling to India.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Thank you for your kind words. If you manufacture any interesting Huarache styles which use the traditional construction method of weaving the leather strip through holes in the sole I would be interested in publishing them on Huarache Blog. You can send photos to info74fdc@yahoo.com

  6. william smith says:

    I love them, Please, do u teach people.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Sorry I don’t teach, but there are plenty of Huaracheros here in Mexico that do. Huaracheros will typically try and help someone who shows interest in their craft. If you travel to Mexico look for one and ask. I have quite a few of their addresses posted on the site.

  7. Kochoa says:

    Thank you for this article. I don’t think my family knows about it, but will be great to share with them. My uncle’s huaraches are the best! 🙂

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