100th Post! – My First Huarache DesignPosted: February 24, 2012
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)