About / Acerca de Huarache Blog

Despite the tagline at the top of the page, every now and then, some readers will ask me for ‘the real reasons’ why I write Huarache Blog?

“¿q proposito tiene en realidad tu blog? Si entiendo q los promuevas pero ¿Con q fin?”

I wonder if maybe for some it can be difficult to understand why I would be doing Huarache research and promotion with no financial gain. As a non Mexican, championing this very Mexican craft very removed from my culture, it may seem odd to many Mexicans, or even suspicious to some.

While for others it would probably be even harder to believe me if they knew that I was a footwear designer. Something about me I often prefer to not discuss as many Huarachero artisans and Huaracheria owners feel that their craft is also being threatened by the foreign manufacture of Huaraches. Because I didn’t arrive here to steal the knowledge of Huarache making from Mexico. Instead I hope to bring fresh interest, new ideas and inspiration to help nurture and progress this very special footwear craft that appears to be disappearing and leaving very little trace behind it.

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Below is the link to my personal design portfolio and blog :-

www.74fdc.wordpress.com

Huarache Blog is just a simple weblog; a personal and unfunded project, that I hope it will help create interest and more huarache orders for the few remaining Huarache artisans. It’s main (though sometimes too informal) aim is to create immediate awareness and demand, for this fascinating craft and tradition through the multitude of channels on the internet.

My aim is to help create an awareness that can lead to re-energizing and sustaining this endangered Mexican craft.

Besides, if like me you’re lucky enough to travel, you may realize that so many rich and interesting traditions are disappearing both in Mexico and other developing countries. I feel that if they can be documented there is at least a chance that in the future someone can bring at least part of these traditions back. Whats more a blog only requires a few minutes to update.

Of course, I’ve often thought about writing a book and wondered if maybe it’s official nature could validate and benefit the craft more than this blog. But it would just take to long to write and compile everything I would want to include, and besides I feel I still don’t have enough information to write anything more than coffee table book, and that simply won’t do.

If it has any chance of surviving, Huaraches and the craft needs to be learned about and discovered today, and not after the long process of research, writing and editing. Whereas a blog seems much more immediate and widely accessible, and the results have been remarkable. Many global fashion companies have included Huaraches in their seasonal collections and artisans have received fresh interest and orders also thanks to The Huarache Directory.

Yet many factors still contribute to the decline of the Huarache craft, and who knows what will eventually result, or if this blog can help at all? Maybe this personal project is over ambitious in trying to change the course of evolution? But my hope is that the Huarache craft does not disappear and with it the extensive knowledge of traditional footwear weaving, construction and use of natural materials.

Very little documentation exists about the craft of Huaraches, even in Mexico and Huarache making courses are non-existent. Maybe because the Spanish and Mexicans have historically considered Huaraches a peasants craft of lesser importance compared to European style shoe making for example, a stigma that still exists today. Consumers still expect to pay less for Huaraches than other footwear, despite that Huarache leather is essentially the same that luxury brands in Paris and Milan use, that is tanned with tree bark instead of toxic heavy metals.

I don’t know how much official research exists in other countries about other traditional footwear like for example Moccasins, or Cowboy Boots in the USA, but I’ve even searched the biggest Mexican University anthropology departments for thesis and books about Huaraches and surprisingly found almost no documentation about Huaraches considering what a quintessentially Mexican tradition they are.

The other reason that keeps me researching and posting is simply because I enjoy learning about Huaraches and the genuine, old world lifestyle that surrounds the craft.  If I can share what I learn with an online community, all the better. So that knowledge about Huarache history, traditions and designs can also inspire others as it inspires me.

I am a student of the Huarache Culture and aspiring, self taught Huarachologist you could say, and for as long as I can create awareness, be educated and inform about Huaraches I will keep writing and posting.

…also because I’ve learned that crafts can reveal more wholesome, holistic and inclusive perspectives on life and new directions in design thinking.

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A pesar de la lema en la parte superior de la página, de vez en cuando, algunos lectores me piden las verdaderas razones por la que escribo Huarache Blog?

“¿q proposito tiene en realidad tu blog? Si entiendo q los promuevas pero ¿Con q fin?”

Me pregunto si tal vez para algunos puede ser difícil de entender por qué estaría haciendo una investigación y promoción del Huarache con ningún beneficio económico. Como no Mexicano, la defensa de esta artesanía muy Mexicana y aparentemente muy retirada de mi cultura, puede parecer extraño para muchos Mexicanos, o incluso sospechosa para algunos.

Mientras que para otros, probablemente sería aún más difícil creerme si sabían que yo era un diseñador de calzado. Algo sobre mi que prefiero no revelar a artesanos y propietarios de Huaracherias que veen esta artesanía amenazada por la fabricación extranjera de huaraches. Debido a que no llegué aquí para robar el conocimiento de Huarache de México. En vez espero traer un nuevo interés, nuevas ideas e inspiración para ayudar a nutrir y progresar estaartesanía de calzado muy especial, que parece estar desapareciendo y dejando muy poco rastro detrás de élla.

Huarache Blog es sólo un weblog sencillo; un proyecto personal y no financiado, que espero ayudará a crear interés y más pedidos de huaraches para los pocos artesanos restantes. Su principal (aunque a veces demasiado informal) objetivo es crear un conocimiento inmediato y demanda, por esta fascinante artesanía y tradición, a través de la multitud de canales en internet.

Mi objetivo es ayudar a crear un conocimiento que puede conducir a energizar y sostener esta artesanía Mexicana en peligro de extinción.

Además, si como yo, tienen la suerte de viajar, es posible darse cuenta de que tantas tradiciones ricas e interesantes están desapareciendo en México y en otros países. Siento que si pueden ser documentadas al menos hay una posibilidad de que en el futuro alguien puede traer por lo menos una parte de estas ricas tradiciones de vuelta. Cuál es más un blog sólo requiere unos pocos minutos al día para publicar y actualizar.

Por supuesto, he pensado en escribir un libro y me preguntaba si tal vez su forma oficial podría validar y beneficiar más a esta artesanía que este blog. Sin embargo, me tardaría demasiado tiempo para escribir y compilar todo lo que me gustaría incluir, y además siento que todavía no tiengo suficiente información para escribir algo más que un libro de mesa de café, y que simplemente no es suficientemente.

Si tiene alguna posibilidad de sobrevivencia, los Huaraches y esta artesanía necesitan ser descubiertos hoy, y no después del largo proceso de investigación, redacción y edición de un libro. Mientras que un blog parece mucho más inmediato y ampliamente accessible al mundo. Los resultados han sido notables. En los últimos anos muchas compañías globales de moda, de TOMS a Dolce e Gabbana han incluido Huaraches en sus colecciones de temporada y muchos artesanos han recibido órdenes y nuevo interés gracias también al Directorio del Huarache.

Sin embargo, muchos factores siguen contribuyendo a la disminución de la artesanía del Huarache, y quién sabe lo que eventualmente dará como resultado, o si este blog puede ayudar? Tal vez este proyecto personal es demaciado ambicioso al tratar de cambiar el curso de la evolución? Pero mi esperanza es que la artesania del Huarache no desaparece y con ella el conocimiento extenso de tejido de calzado tradicional, la construcción y el uso de materiales naturales.

Existe muy poca documentación sobre el arte del Huarache, incluso en México y cursos de Huaraches son inexistentes. Tal vez porque históricamente los Españoles y los Mexicanos han considerado Huaraches un calzado de campesinos, de menor importancia en comparación con el calzado de estilo europeo, un estigma que todavía existe hoy. Los consumidores siguen exigiendo de pagar menos por Huaraches que otros tipos de calzado, a pesar de que la piel de Huarache es esencialmente la misma que las marcas de lujo en París y Milán usan, que se curte con la corteza de los árboles en lugar de metales pesados tóxicos.

No sé si existe mucha investigación oficial en otros países sobre otros tipos de calzado tradicional, como por ejemplo, mocasines y botas de vaquero o en los EE.UU., pero incluso he buscado en los departamentos más grandes de antropología del INAH, la Universidad y Colegio de México para tesis y libros sobre Huaraches y sorprendentemente encontrado casi ninguna documentación acerca de los Huaraches, teniendo en cuenta que son quintaesencialmente una tradición mexicana.

La otra razón que hago esta investigación y la publicación es simplemente porque me gusta aprender sobre los Huaraches y el antiguo estilo de vida genuino que rodea esta artesanía. Si puedo compartir lo que aprendo con una comunidad en línea, tanto mejor. Por lo que el conocimiento sobre el Huarache, su historia, tradiciones y diseño también puede inspirar a otros, ya que me inspira.

Soy un estudiante de la cultura del Huarache y aspirante, se podría decir “Huarachologo” autodidacta. Por el tiempo que puedo crear conocimiento, ser educado e informar sobre los Huaraches voy a seguir escribiendo.

… también porque he aprendido que las artesanías pueden revelar perspectivas más saludables, holísticas e integradoras sobre la vida y las nuevas direcciones en el pensamiento de diseño.


59 Comments on “About / Acerca de Huarache Blog”

  1. Penny says:

    I found the most comfortable brown leather sandals ever in Cozumel, a closed toe end huarache with a label from Valladolid. The clerk said they are “unisex.” Because they feel so good, I went searching for information about them. What a wonderful site you have created. Thanks!

  2. Sam says:

    Hey man,

    I’m currently living in New York, and would love to find a pair of well made huaraches. Unfortunately it’s super hard! Since I can’t make it out to Mexico, do you think you could recommend some places to find authentic, well made huaraches online?

    Thanks!

    • huaracheblog says:

      Sorry Sam,
      I don’t think there is much choice on the internet of Huaraches, Huaraches sales mainly happen in or around municipal markets in Mexican towns. I only know of the same companies selling Huaraches over the internet that come up in a Google search.

      I think that most Huaracheros are not making enough Huaraches to export, or supply a high volume internet demand. I would also encourage you to try before you buy as fit can vary.

      Having said that in my next post I will be introducing Huaraches and Huarache inspired designs from many international brands like Chubasco and Frye Boots, so stay tuned.

  3. Sam says:

    Ah, that’s a shame. Some of the craftsmanship you’ve shown on your blog is incredible, and I would love to have a pair. Knowing about the people who made them is a plus.

    Shame it’s so hard to find them out here. Still, fit issues be damned, if you ever feel like mailing a pair out shoot me an email. I’d be happy to pay for them.

    Keep up the awesome blog!

    • huaracheblog says:

      Thanks for your kind words Sam.

      I should also add that finding man’s Huaraches US size 10 and bigger is close to impossible in Mexico as most Huaracheros invest in only a few different last sizes, usually US 7,8 and 9. If you ever buy Huaraches from Mexico be warned that a Mexican 8 equals a US man’s 9.

  4. Tyler says:

    Hey there,

    Awesome blog. I’m in df right now and looking for a good place to get some huaraches. Do you have any suggestions for me? I’m only here one more day so I can’t travel outside of the city.

    Thanks again! Tyler

    • huaracheblog says:

      Sorry but I don’t know of any Huaracherias in Mexico City. You can try the main market called Merced, its huge and should have some tucked away, or some of the Artesania markets like la Cuidadela, but I’m doubtful that you’ll find any good ones. Maybe ask someone who is local about Huaracherias in the area, or go to the market in Cuernavaca that is an hour south of Mexico City.

  5. Enrique Cabrera says:

    Felicidades,creo que compartimos la idea de preservar, esta tradicion de la elaboracion y uso de los huaraches.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Gracias! Me da mucho gusto saber que hay otras personas interesadas sobre el Huarache. Cualquier ideas o historias que se pueden implementar o escribir con este blog para ayudar a la preservación de las tradiciones, elaboración y uso de los Huaraches son muy bien recibidos. Un saludo amistoso.

      • Angel says:

        Felicidaes, éste blog cuenta con muchisima información y detalle sobre gran variedad de Huaraches. Conozco de un tipo de huarache originario del norte de Jalisco que con gusto te mostratría.

      • huaracheblog says:

        Angel, gracias por sus amables palabras. Me gustaría ver las fotos de su Huaraches. Debo admitir que he querido viajar a Villa Guerrero, Temastian y Totatiche, Jalisco para encontrar nuevos estilos Huarache. Me volvería a publicar las fotos de sus huaraches en Huarache Blog con su nombre. Por favor, envíe sus fotos a info74fdc@yahoo.com. Gracias otra vez, Markus

  6. shoegal says:

    I work in footwear and would love to know if you can advise of any free trade organization in Mexico that would collaborate with other companies or sell there leather weaves components?

    • huaracheblog says:

      All Huaracheros buy their supplies at local retailers. Huarache factories probably have larger suppliers, but I know of none. That being said all hardware used on Huaraches is also used on shoes. The leather strips for weaving are not purchased pre-cut, are all cut by the Huaracheros and Huarache factories.

  7. Ann says:

    HI,
    I am a footwear student and doing a research on “Huaraches”, can you recommend any books /websites ,Please.
    Any information on history /making of “Huaraches” would be helpful.
    Thank you
    Ann

    • huaracheblog says:

      You could say that this blog is some ways my research project also. I don’t think there is much more published information about Huaraches than what is on this blog. There is one book I know of about Huaraches called ‘Calzado Mexicano, Cactli Y Huaraches’, its very old and probably not as detailed as you would like, but you can find it in this blog if you haven’t already. I have also translated it into english.
      Let me know how your project comes along. If you like, it can be published on this blog to reach a wider audience. Good luck with your studies.

  8. Trudi says:

    I found your blog while trying to research huarache sandals in Mexico. I thought they may be from just one city or maybe different styles were from different cities.

    I ‘ve always wanted to try to make a pair myself. Can you recommend a place in Mexico that may help me make my own pair of sandals?

    Thanks, and I just LOVE your blog.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Its hard to make recommendations, because I don’t know of any courses. But you might approach it as I did. In fact it might be easier for you now that Huarache Blog also has some Huarachero contact details. Basically call, email or visit. You should contact a Huarachero and see if they are willing to help you. Maybe find a style you like from Huarache Blog, travel to the area where they are made and ask where you can find the Huarachero. From there much will depend on how willing they are to help. Good luck.

  9. Nancy Cannon says:

    Hi,
    I am costuming a children’s play at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. The play is Pedro’s Magic Shoes…it is a traveling show to elementary schools in the Utah County area. I want to use huaraches as the magic shoes. I would love to have authentic hand made all leather shoes. I have searched the internet and have not been able to find a vendor. My biggest issue is I need a size 11.5 for a guy and a size 7 for a women. Both shoes need to look as similar as possible. What are some options, leads, contacts??? You seem to know more than anyone I have found.

    Thoughts?
    Nancy Cannon
    Orem, Utah

    • huaracheblog says:

      Hi Nancy,

      your best bet I think is visiting or finding someone who can buy you huaraches at the Olvera Street market in Downtown Los Angeles. Good luck with your play.

      • Nancy Cannon says:

        Hi,
        Thank you! I will see what I can do – my family is from California :0).
        Have a great day.
        Nancy

  10. Paleotool says:

    Thanks for making this blog! I am interested in a handmade life and shoemaking has really caught me the last few years. Keep up the great work. I would love to see more of the making process and huaracheros shops if you get more.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Thanks for your kind words. Your Blog is also very interesting and I’m quite jealous the 8000 facebook hits your caravan post got. Believe me I would like to show more about the Huarache making process, but many Huaracheros are not only private individuals, but also rightly suspicious that their craft and designs could be copied.

  11. Paleotool says:

    I understand their wariness. Their trade is probably marginal at best but their craftsmanship will hopefully never be lost. I hope you can post more, even just snippets of works in progress. As an anthropologist, I know it’s often difficult to get into people’s lives.

    Thanks again for all the great info. I can’t believe I haven’t found your blog before now.

  12. socks says:

    What a fascinating blog and so many wonderful shoes and makers. I went to Mexico 4 years ago and in haste bought a nice looking but too small pair of women’s huaraches. I was at a market and convinced myself (along with the aid of the vender) that they would fit in time. I had read something about buying them a bit small and then putting them in water, leaving them on etc. to get a good fit. Well, it didn’t work but luckily I didn’t wreck them and my landlady was happy to get them. I am going again (near Puerto Vallarta, any shop suggestions?) and am wondering if you have any advice on how to choose a pair? Was that advice about wetting them out bad? thanks

    • huaracheblog says:

      Thank you very much. I’ve never been to Vallarta, but once there you should ask around. There are 2 Huaracherias with their addresses published online.

      Huaracheria Fabiola
      Ave. Ignacio L. Vallarta 145 at Calle A. Serdán
      Colonia Emiliano Zapata
      52-322-222-9154

      Huaracheria Marina
      52-322-156-9351

      • huaracheblog says:

        Avoid buying Huaraches that fit tight as the break-in period will be excruciating. Soaking them in water is only a last resort solution, but in my experience not very effective.

  13. socks says:

    Thanks very much for your advice and the addresses. I wish I could go to the colonial towns but this might be the start of a wonderful relationship with huaraches, I’ve loved them since I was a kid.

  14. ernesto dominguez says:

    donde se pueden comprar por mayoreo y cuales son los precios

    • huaracheblog says:

      Huarache Blog es un proyecto para crear un mayor conocimiento a nivel mundial de la artesania de los Huaraches. Desafortunadamente no vendemos Huaraches por mayoreo. Dependiendo de los estilos regiónales que le gustan en Huarache Blog, puede visitar allí donde fueron fotografiados y investigar sobre dónde comprarlos por mayoreo. El pueblo de Sahuayo, Michoacán, por ejemplo, tiene cerca de 200 fabricas y talleres de Huaraches. Simplemente preguntando, cada Sahuayense conoce una fábrica, o taller. Buena suerte.

  15. G. Mark Caldwell says:

    I bought a pair of what was austensibly a Mexican style in the early 1970s; they had tire soles, and were very similar to the ones that you have on your page for San Luis Potosi — the ones with what is basically a single wide strip of leather for the vamps, an adjustable buckle strap over the instep and a backstay that curves up from the insole. They finally failed me about three years ago and I’d give my eye teeth to have some more.

    That said, I also saw a comment above that a large American size is difficult to impossible to find. I found what appears to be a pretty genuine pair of huaraches on eBay a month or so ago, and they are marked “30” They are a tad snug, but seem to be stretching slowly as I have time to wear them. My American size is 13 so I’m not sure what that would translate into for anin a Mexican size. I’d almost say that the next time you were going through SLP, I’ll send some money with you and you can see if you can find me some US 13 equivalents.

    • huaracheblog says:

      I would say that unfortunately a US mens size 13 or MX mens 32 is close to impossible to find here in Mexico. Especially for Huaraches, the reasons being that not only do Huaracheros have limited income to invest on lasts, but very few Mexicans have feet that big.

    • Cindy says:

      Hi Mark… I see you’re interested in the original huarache as well, would you know the company or factory who manufactured the originals huarache you mention above from the 70’s… I’m desperately trying to find out… Thank and an information would be greatly appreciated…

      • huaracheblog says:

        Hi Cindy, I don’t know which Huaraches you mean? The original Huarache is probably the “Pata de Gallo” and probably dates back centuries, much further than the 70’s. Its also made by the wearer and no factories make it. Luna Sandals makes a factory style that is similar. If you are looking for makers of more modern Huaraches check out http://www.thehuarachedirectory.wordpress.com

  16. mexsandalguy says:

    A great blog and I enjoyed it immensely. It is a true treasure trove of information on the craft of the traditional huaraches. I would further encourage you to write a book as some of the information that you have captured probably only exists on this blog. Huaraches as you have noted (and as I have discovered) is a dying craft. The Chinese and Brazilian’s are undermining the market here in Mexico with their cheap sandals made out of synthetics and most huaracheros either can’t compete or have turned to making the same crap so that they can compete.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Thanks! You have made a lot of good observations.

      I have thought of writing a book and this I might do in the future. But for now the most important thing is the immediate promotion of the craft, filling Google searches with good information and photographs about Huaraches and supporting individual Huaracheros who are also being sidelined by increasing factory made Huaraches.

  17. mexsandalguy says:

    I think everyone who understands the whole huarache conundrum appreciates your efforts.
    I don’t know if you’ve read any of my stuff but my support for the craft, while orthogonal to yours, is solid support nonetheless. I believe that through modernizing some of the designs we can make the sandals more relevant for today’s markets. I don’t know if you approve or disapprove of that but I contend that part of the reason why the huarache is disappearing is that a) too many of the designs are stuck back in the 1940’s and b) because so many of the old style huaraches have such a limited appeal, the average huarachero, just to stay alive, is having to make up the difference by building the same sandals the Chinese and Brazilians are importing.
    So everyone ends up competing in that same 100 peso/pair market; building crappy sandals out of synthetic materials where the only winners are the owners of the big foreign factories that have the cheapest labor. The local huaracheros lose because there ain’t a whole lot of profit that can be squeezed out of 100 pesos and the consumer loses because he/she essentially have (in most marketplaces) only two viable sandal choices: buy good but expensive sandals from the Italians (or custom made Italian-like) or buy the cheap synthetic crap that makes up the other 98% of the market.
    But either way the huarcheros lose; there is no profit in making the synthetic crap and the markets for the older, more traditional designs are shrinking. As you know from living in Mexico, only the old timers wear huaraches, and then only mostly at the beach. Mexican kids wear Nikes.
    There needs to be a some evolution that builds on top of the intent of the original huarache; make an affordable comfortable sandal that not just doesn’t wear out but gets better looking and more comfortable over time. That’s a place that you just can’t get to with synthetics.
    Maybe all this smacks of heresy to you but I personally think that doing some design modernization is a way to keep the huarachero way of life alive.
    I am down in Mexico taking a chance that people other than myself would like quality sandals at an affordable price. So my mission is simple: Build the best sandals in the world; handmade using that Italian design aesthetic, crafted with the finest full grain leathers and double lock stitched onto soles made from virtually indestructible recycled airplane tires.

    • huaracheblog says:

      I’m glad you’re bringing up such points about the current state of the Huarache market. They’re thought provoking and like brainstorming can help find ways to re-energize the craft. You brought up a lot of valid points and I can only begin to reply to a few. I hope you can keep an open mind to my response.

      I feel that you are approaching the problem with a business mind intent on helping the local economy and not the craft itself. But maybe you have a 2 step strategy to create revenue first and then to encourage the design of evolved huaraches.

      I agree that there is a market for evolved designs, but there is also a market for traditional designs.

      Huarache designs might be from the 1940’s, but Converse Chuck Taylors are from the 1920’s and yet they are still the biggest selling shoe design in the world.

      I know that a lot of Mexicans wear huaraches to the beach and that younger Mexicans wear sneakers. But that’s not just because of Huarache design, its also due to the marketing, price and quality of the Huaraches. Huarache weaving is a unique construction method and can be used to make dress shoes, sandals, even furniture, old styles and new styles.

      A big part of the craft of Huaraches is the art of weaving the upper into the sole from a single strip of leather without the use of glue and for me it is fundamental that this knowledge is not forgotten.

      In my view any evolved Huarache designs should encourage Huaracheros to develop their unique weaving ability that already sets them apart from any shoe making craftsperson and manufacturing process in the world, and should not focus on making the same high quality and aesthetic of Italian sandals (from Capri and Positano, also from the 1940’s).

      More soon. Looking forward to your reply.

    • huaracheblog says:

      I think your perspective is Sahuayo centric where business minded Huaracheros have discovered that it’s more profitable to make women’s sandals than men’s Huaraches. But what about the Huaracheros from other parts of Mexico that want to continue making traditional men’s woven Huaraches?

      Just like traditional cowboy boot makers there has to be a market for them, especially today in the new internet economy, with easy online retail like Etsy and Storenvy.

      Most Mexican Huaracheros are men, and outside of Sahuayo (where most of the weaving is done by women from their homes), its the men that cut and weave Huaraches.

      Like cowboy boot makers, the best Huaracheros are very traditional and very skilled, 2 characteristics to respect. I don’t think that tradition is hurting the craft of huaraches as much as the high leather prices and low market prices that are stripping the traditions and skills from many Huaracheros, who are adapting by copying catalog women’s synthetic sandal designs, or cutting corners on traditional men’s Huaraches.

      Just because many Mexicans don’t have such a high regard for Huaraches, wearing them to the beach and preferring sneakers. I don’t think it’s because Huaraches are too traditional, its because they aren’t valued due to poor quality and low price. They’re also bought at the market and not in a nice store. Would you wear footwear associated with the least expensive retail outlet in town?

      I would say lets not throw the baby out with the bath water and radically alter a perfectly good product that just needs to be made and marketed better as every product deserves. And lets also try and sustain the single craftsman and his traditions as best as possible.

      Sure a radical new Huarache design wouldn’t hurt. But lets not encourage modern hamburgers over old school arrachera.

      You should have a chat with Sr. Aguillar in San Augustin, Jalisco. He’s excited to develop new Huarache styles for himself, he’s the designer and maker, he tan’s his own leathers and he doesn’t copy women’s sandals, nor cut corners. Maybe his Huaraches are too expensive, or less culturally relevant than sneakers, but they are his personal works of art and what he enjoys doing. His work has soul, that in my mind is worth sustaining.

      I don’t believe that the threats to the craft of Huaraches comes from Chinese or Brazilian footwear. Instead I think they come from inexpensive Mexican made (in GDL) footwear, well marketed American branded footwear, a slow men’s footwear market and an aging Huarachero population that is losing their sight and strength with no one to replace and learn from them (a great shame with all the retail possibilities that the internet brings).

      What is the Huarchero way of life exactly? Is it making quality factory sandals in Sahuayo, or vegetable tanned, hand woven Huaraches in their workshop?

      I hope I haven’t come across to harshly. If you don’t mind next time I’m passing Sahuayo I could come by, maybe we can grab a coffee in the Plaza and discuss some more.

  18. mexsandalguy says:

    Creativity comes from many different places as we all know and I would never encourage a Mexican huarachero to become ‘Italian’; whatever that really means.
    And I will readily agree that there is always a place for tradition.
    But i personally wouldn’t want tradition (and the way we’ve always done things) to stand in the way of of jump-starting the local huarache economy. If choices are: making sandals out of synthetics or out of fine leather then my vote would go for the leather.
    Tradition alone ain’t getting it done.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Traditional Men’s Huaraches are unique designs that are new to about 98% of the world outside of Mexico. I don’t think they need to be changed, if anything they can be refined.

      From espadrilles to wingtips, there are plenty of examples of traditional footwear that has been very successful in recent years. Even the “Pachuco” Huarache Lawson design has done quite well for Frye Boots.

  19. BajaBob says:

    I’ve read many of the articles on your site here and became interested in making my own huaraches. I now have everything I need (leather, cutting tool, etc, etc) and wanted to make some of this style: https://huaracheblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/to-make-a-huarache/
    Now I have the biggest challenge, I can’t figure out what the weaving pattern that is used to make this style of Huarache. I see fiftenn hols stamped on the left side of the show and 16 on the right, but from the pictures I have not been able to figure out the pattern. I printed out a copy of the shoe bottom with the holes and have trying to dray the weaving pattern but still cannot figure it out. I actually made a cardboard bottom sole and started weaving leather through it, but again, I’m missing something. Any way this can be posted? I’d just really like to try making my own or this style.

    -Thanks

    • huaracheblog says:

      Out of respect to the Huaracheros I never ask them to reveal their weaving patterns which are a bit like personal recipes.

      To try developing the weave yourself I can recommend using a strip of textile tape or underpants elastic which is easier to unravel . Don’t forget that you need a last.

      I can tell you that in this case the weave begins in the front INSIDE hole and goes a around the last in a figure of 8 back around to the front OUTSIDE hole (passing through the top slits of the heel piece). This is also how most Huaraches start. Then you weave into the next hole and return backwards to the front INSIDE (passing through the 2 from the top slits of the heel piece).

      The Huarache you chose is one of the more complex weaves. I can suggest trying some easier designs and working your way up.

      I would recommend you start with a “3 Vueltas” (3 Loops) that you can see in the photo HERE

      It has a small upper part and eventually you can begin to make bigger upper parts/weaves like the “10 Vueltas” HERE

      Good luck.

      • BajaBob says:

        Yes, thanks, I made a last with a sock and duct tape over it, remove it from my foot and then filled the sock with plastic trash bags to fill it out (found this idea online). Thanks also for the start on the weaving pattern, I could see the starting point as the insole front hole and the figure eight weaving pattern. It’s when I get near the end that I end up with extra holes or cannot get things to match the way they do in the pictures. I xeroxed a bunch of hand drawing of the sole with holes in it and have tried drawing a pattern by each hole to indicate where the next weave goes, (like 1U or 2D for 1 up or 2 down to show whether it is coming from the bottom of the sole or the top). This works pretty good to try to work out the whole puzzle of how this works. Are there any craft books on making huaraches out there?

        I’ll keep trying and let you know how it goes. I guess I can always adjust the holes and the pattern and make my own design too. I’m heading to Baja in a couple of months and wanted to have my own huaraches made by then to take down there.

        -Thanks,
        Bob

  20. Shaun Watson says:

    I was looking up sneakers and ran into the the “Air Huarache”. I wanted to know what the word meant, and got a Wikipedia article on the Huarache. I noticed in your sidebar that there seems to be no connection between the Japanese waraji and the Mexican huarache.
    In the Wikipedia article, the authors mention the kwarachi, a word that means roughly the same thing as huarache and waraji, in the P’urhépecha language. It is an indigenous language to the area, and I do not know if you have become aware of this connection in the time since you’ve written the above sidebar.

    Here are the links:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waraji
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huarache_(shoe)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%27urhépecha_language

    I would love to hear more about your thoughts on the matter,
    -swatson

    • huaracheblog says:

      Hi Shaun, I agree the idea is intriguing and it certainly encourages you to be an inquisitive independent thinker, to wonder who really invented what and join the dots.

      “history is written by the victors”

      However there is still no evidence to suggest that the Japanese language had any influence on Purepecha and vice versa. Sure there has been a little speculation that Chinese and Japanese ships could have reached Mexico given the favorable currents and a few books have been written analysing the similarity of items such as certain styles of pottery, toys and weapons. But no proof exists as no ancient Asian writing/objects have ever been found buried in Mexico. With no proof virtually no archeologists are willing to make claims they cannot back.

      Archetypal hypothesis states that some ideas are collective and so it could be that woven sandals were developed independently in every culture. The similar sounding name could also be a coincidence.

      • Guillermo Juarez says:

        Felicitaciones x toda tu informacion pero sobre todo x el interes de mantener viva una tradicion que en efecto a travez de los ańos a perdido coinsistencia , pero tengo mucha esperanza en que pronto regrese y surja como una nueva moda , creo que algunas expociciones en diferentes ciudades claves de EEUU ayudaria bastante .

      • huaracheblog says:

        Gracias. Espero que atraves el internet el mundo pueda conocer este fascinante artesanía del calzado. Y para inspirar a la gente de hacer y comprar calzado tipo huaraches, hecho con pieles curtidas con cascara arbol, frescos y sobretodo parte de una importante tradición de producto sostenible.

  21. Joe says:

    I recall a woman’s sandal that I first saw in the 1940s called “Haurache”.
    they made a squeaky sound when the ladies walked in them.
    are they being made anywhere in Mexico?

    • huaracheblog says:

      You are correct, pre-industrial tanned Huarache leather was often squeakier. I think because they didn’t have the same paraffin based oils as are used today.

      However in the Yucatan there was also a Mexican Huarache made especially to squeak:

      “Huaraches ‘Chillonas’, or ‘Noisy’ Huaraches. ‘Chillonas’ are unusually made with oil soaked leather placed between the 2 layers of the sole. This detail makes the Huaraches creak when walking and dancing. A famous song by Carlos Duarte Moreno mentions this detail. Women wear a similar Huarache to dances and it is sometimes decorated with plastic”.

  22. Indigo says:

    I am wondering if you can direct me to any sources that include some information on how traditional pata de gallo huaraches are made?
    -thanks

  23. Rachel says:

    I’m curious about how one might go about acquiring some of the Taller De Curtiduria González pig skins. Do you have any contact information? Thanks!

  24. Ray rozales says:

    I completely agree with what you have expressed. To much tradition and culture is being consumed by greedy business men. Take the Tequila industry for instance. The best usto cost the most $8 to $10 dollars now you can pay up to $50 to $100 a bottle.. Hopefully huaraches do not go that route. I would like to be notified as soon as you have the new Jalisco Huarache ready for ordering, I have considered ordering a couple pair.

    • huaracheblog says:

      Dear Ray, what you mention is an important discussion that needs to be had. I understand what you’re saying that CEO’s sometimes have exaggerated salaries, but this is not the case with Huaraches. Look at it from another perspective. Nowadays people buy much more things then they used to. New phone, flatscreen TV, sneakers, all inclusive holidays, airplane tickets, Netflix..the cost of education has also increased. The money to buy all those things means bigger salaries are necessary, this is why the cost of Tequila and Huaraches in my opinion should go up, so that Huarache Artisans can take their family on holiday once a year, pay for better education, health insurance, pension funds and work a 5 instead of 7 day week. Kind regards, Markus


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