Traditional Handmade Mexican Burras and Boots by José EspinoPosted: May 27, 2017
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.
Sr. Espino also makes the cleanest Burra boots which look a bit like Timberlands. He calls this style “Huarache Fino”.
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.
But probably more remarkable is that he is 87 years young and works alone!
The “Pala” Huarache is essentially a hand stitched moccasin boot.
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.
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.
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.
Then about 40 years ago the “Pala” Huarache was made fashionable by closing the toe, giving the boot a more commercial appearance.