Thick Soled Huaraches in San Cristóbal de las Casas

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.

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Sandales en Cuir, Ledersandalen, चमड़े के सैंडल, Sandali in Pelle, 革のサンダル, Skinn Sandaler, Sandalias de Cuero, Lädersandaler, Huaraches, Guaraches, Mexican Sandals, Sandali Messicani, 멕시코 샌들, मेक्सिको सैंडल, Sandales Mexicains, Meksikanske Sandaler, Mexicaanse Sandalen, メキシコのサンダル, 墨西哥凉鞋, Мексиканские сандалии, Mexikanska Sandaler, Mexikanischen Sandalen, ワラチ, ワラチ, المكسيكي الصنادل, Woven Sandals, Sandali Intrecciati, 编织凉鞋, Gewebten Sandalen, Geweven Sandalen, Sandales Tissées, 不織布サンダル, 짠 샌들, Vevde Sandaler, тканые сандалии, Sandalias Tejidas, Vävda Sandaler, المنسوجة الصنادل, बुना सैंडल, Handmade Sandals, Sandali fatti a mano, 手工凉鞋, Sandales à la main, हस्तनिर्मित सैंडल, 手作りのサンダル, Håndlagde Sandaler, Sandalias Hechas a Mano, Handgjorda Sandaler, Handgefertigte Sandalen, الصنادل المصنوعة يدويا


6 Comments on “Thick Soled Huaraches in San Cristóbal de las Casas”

  1. BB says:

    I have a pressing question, at the end of this comment. Found this blog the day after I finally got around to trying to make the huaraches I bought in San Cristobal, Chiapas over 15 years ago wearable. They look almost exactly like the Chamulan ones pictured (not the caites), but with thinner tire tread bottoms. The leather is fairly hard, thick and course. As far as I can tell, they were never shaped to a last. The shape seemed willy nilly. They didn’t really fit me; they didn’t feel good; they just seemed like they could. So, this is how I improvised, in my own ignorance: Soaked both huaraches overnight in tepid water with some saddle soap in it. In the morning, struggled to get them on. Eventually forced them back on a second time, with thick socks on my feet to shape them slightly roomier. Even tried to force a Scholl’s arch or other shoe padding underfoot, but it was just too tight. As they dried, they started moulding to my feet. It was kind of painful – I don’t think these were made for delicate American tourists, and yet the bed for the foot seems too narrow. As I walked more and my feet swelled toward the end of this scorchingly hot day, it occasionally got a bit excruciating. It was finally bedtime, and they were almost, but not quite all dry. I removed them and they had shaped, more or less to my foot! Hooray! Because they were not quite dry, I found and inserted shoe stretchers. (Sorry, I don’t really know technical terms for shoe construction and care.) The stretchers slightly changed the shape – made them perhaps a bit longer, but also narrower, not good. So, do you know: What did I do right? Wrong? Can I redo them? How? Minus a wooden/plastic last (or would any shoe repair shop have one for each size, and could they easily do this for me?), what’s the ideal procedure? Thank you!

    • huaracheblog says:

      Keep wearing them, the shoe stretchers only changed the shape temporarily..Like breaking in shoes it takes more than a day to mold thick Huaraches to your feet, sometimes weeks. If you’re a laborer used to walking barefoot your feet are already like rocks. By comparison our feet are weak from daily binding and their protected skin stays soft and moisturized.

      If its more comfortable wear socks.You only need to wet the Huaraches for a few second for the leather to absorb plenty of water. I don’t even wet my Huaraches, it never really worked for me. But they probably fit better than yours. Eventually the leather will stretch regardless of water. You also don’t need to wear them the whole day and let your feet swell, an hour or two is fine, wear them when you can, and take them off when your feet begin to hurt. Try and be patient, in today’s culture we expect immediate results. Breaking in shoes takes time, but in return they’ll last you much longer.

      If they are already dark, you can brush a bit of vegetable oil on the leather it might make the edges of the leather strips softer and slightly more comfortable, but careful as this also darkens the colour of the leather.

      If you would rather take them to a cobbler they can stretch them for you by soaking them in water with a last in them and letting them dry lasted. Check out the bottom of this photo.

      Huaraches Soaking in Teocuitatlan de Corona

      Originally huaraches were simply woven over the foot wet, although I doubt yours were. In those days there was a simple old style called “Ahorca Pollo”, or Chicken Strangler, I think you now know why. Good luck.

  2. BB says:

    Thank you for your time, care and experience. They did approximate my foot’s shape after the process I put them through. The reason I wore them all day was in hope that they would finish all their shrinking, after their wetting, to the size and contour of my feet. But then they shrank more in the night, distorted somewhat and some of the leather got ouch-fully hard. For my somewhat daring and curious, but admittedly non-Mexican laborer’s, values (and tootsies), they are absolutely unwearable currently, even as a training process. (I highly doubt most people from Los EU would have even endured what I already did, as cheerfully and hopefully as possible.) Since I originally wrote, I’ve seen mention of using 50% alcohol-water to stretch, and either vaseline or coconut oil to soften. Are you familiar with this? (And if you are, and recommend it, could you describe the process in detail?) I’d rather not change their character, but I think the alternative is never wearing them. Thanks. I appreciate your input.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Any oil works to soften the leather a bit, but just enough to make the breaking bearable..However it also darkens the leather. I haven’t heard of the alcohol and water method for stretching.
      As far as I know besides paying a cobbler to have them left overnight soaking with a last on..The only option is to wear them until the leather molds to your feet.

  3. BB says:

    p.s. Is that typical that the side vertical structures of the huarache (instep/arch and the outside/5th metatarsal) are closer to each other than a rugged campesino’s foot could possibly fit between? Are the feet ultimately meant to rest on those loops of leather? (OK… before signing off this time, I squeezed my feet back into them again. It took a few minutes to be able to fully coax each foot back in.)

    • huaracheblog says:

      No you should not be standing on the strips of leather, they should be on the side. I just posted a new photo in this post that should allow you to compare. Maybe you can enlarge it and do a 1:1 comparison.

      That being said there are sometimes improvised Huaracheros selling lower quality huaraches off the sidewalks just outside the markets. Typically they’re regular folk trying out a new trade to make a few pesos. So it could be that your huaraches were made by an inexperienced Huarache maker.


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