Traditional Handmade Mexican Burras and Boots by José Espino

I first saw José Espino’s boxing boot type Burras in the market of Irapuato and was very lucky that the stall owner gave me his phone number.

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Sr. Espino also makes the cleanest Burra boots which look a bit like Timberlands. He calls this style “Huarache Fino”.

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When on Wednesday I travelled to Puruándiro to visit him, I also discovered that José is probably the last Artisan in Mexico making the most traditional Mexican boots which he calls “Huarache De Pala Abierto” which I had only ever seen at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

https://huaracheblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/early-burras-from-uruapan/

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But probably more remarkable is that he is 87 years young and works alone!

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The “Pala” Huarache is essentially a hand stitched moccasin boot.

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Except the insole is made of stiff sole leather that is wrapped wet and formed over the Huarache last. See how over the years the nails have created a line across the last.

I wonder if its origins could come from Native American Moccasins like those worn by Navajos.

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José Espino cuts each thick leather insole and sole by hand over the last without using molds, or cutting dies. In this photo below he is piercing the insole to show me the stitching process.

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The “Pala” Huarache is a very original and traditional open toed Mexican boot. The style is also known as the “roba mais” since land owners prohibited workers from wearing these boots in corn fields saying corn kernels could be scooped into the boots and stolen.

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Then about 40 years ago the “Pala” Huarache was made fashionable by closing the toe, giving the boot a more commercial appearance.

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11 Comments on “Traditional Handmade Mexican Burras and Boots by José Espino”

  1. Debora Pritchett Gilson says:

    Thank you for finding and presenting these historical shoes still being made by one man. It is very interesting. I appreciate your interest in preserving, or at least, making people aware of these shoes.

  2. Incredible, great pictures of him at work!

  3. […] Source: Traditional Handmade Mexican Burras and Boots by José Espino […]

  4. Jake Levi says:

    He sure doesnt look his age ! A lot of work in a pair of these, whats the price ranges?

  5. elbandillero says:

    Is there a process to purchase???
    And I have other questions.
    Is there a more convenient way to communicate about the subject matter???

    • huaracheblog says:

      Sorry I do not sell Huaraches. If you don’t mind it would be interesting to share Huarache related questions with other readers also interested in Huaraches. If you want to buy wholesale for your business check out http://www.thehuarachedirectory.wordpress.com

      • elbandillero says:

        Thankyou much,
        Might you also know how to contact José Espino directly that I may also purchase from him directly??

      • huaracheblog says:

        You should visit him at his home. Just ask where he lives, everyone in town knows.

      • elbandillero says:

        Wow something like that would be very interesting. Are you sure it wouldn’t be considered bad manners and OR rude to show up without invite??
        Might you have an estimated budget and details for a travel plan to do such a thing??

      • huaracheblog says:

        Frankly he said he doesn’t want to be telephoned by a ton of people..he also didn’t want me to add him to the Huarache directory. He’s almost 90 years old, so doesn’t need the extra business. But of course I think he is pleased if people would like to meet him. Google maps can probably help you plan your trip and there are quite a few inexpensive hotels in that town. Have a good trip.


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