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.
Cenovio Ramirez also known as “Tarengo” or Sparrow, is one of the originators of finely woven Huaraches. He started fine weaving Huaraches as a personal challenge 30 years ago and has been the inspiration of many local artisans.
I have one sample available for sale made from natural non coloured vegetable tanned goat leather in size US Mens 8-8.5.
The “Plazero” style is a forgotten style from the past which Cenovio has made again after so many years. Its a very rare style and I can guarantee 110% that this Huarache doesn’t exist for sale anywhere.
The colour of the leather is still pale since the Hauraches are recently made. But as with all vegetable tanned leathers, these Huaraches will darken to a honey colour in a couple of months.
Antonio Granados is probably one of the 4 best Huarache Artisans in Mexico.
Recently he made a few pairs of rare traditional Huarache styles that his father in law used to make 20 or so years ago. Styles which you can no longer find in the shops.
I was able to snatch up those 8 pairs and have them for sale in my store HERE, or click on the “VISIT MY STORE” icon in the top left of the screen and go to the “SAMPLES AND SALE” section.
Calling all those diehard Selvage Denim fans, you won’t find more authentic footwear for the summer!
I always try to share the best Huaraches and rarest which can’t be found at retail, and the Zapatilla Ochillado and Ranchero Ochillado are exceptional!
The Zapatilla Ochillado (Ochillado means With Eyelets) has 270 metal eyelets individually pressed into the organic vegetable tanned leather upper. The Ranchero Ochillado has 170 metal eyelets! – ALL OF THE EYELETS ARE NICKEL COLOURED
These styles are perfect with jeans.
The TONCHEZ is a really creative twist to the traditional Ranchero Huarache.
And as soon as I wore them in the center of town so many people asked me where I had bought them, maybe because they look like cool Huarache High Tops. And of course you can also wear them the same way with your jeans inside.
This Huaraches style was invented by Antonio who is a traditional Haurachero Artisan and 2 friends also called Antonio, hence the name TONCHEZ, derived from “Tonio”.
For fun they even created a logo to emblazon the bold tongue and heel.
Until now the TONCHEZ was never made commercially because the large amount of leather used, which makes this style quite expensive to sell at normal Huarache prices. While traditional Huarache retailers will also shy away from such a radical style, although teenagers ask me where to buy them all the time.
Its such a cool design that should be available, that I asked Antonio if he would be willing to make a few pairs to share with Huarache Blog readers and he agreed that he could make this exclusive Huarache design to order.
These Huaraches are made in the rugged traditional Ranchero way and Antonio the Huarachero is as old school as they come. But instead of being made from bovine leather, they are made with thick goat leather that is softer and more expensive.
If you find this style fascinating like me, you can make a special order by clicking on “VISIT MY STORE” and then the “SAMPLES SECTION” section.
Or just CLICK HERE to order.
Because these Huaraches are made to order, if you prefer a heel, or a nailed instead of stitched sole just let me know in your Storenvy Order.
Only comes in natural un-dyed leather, the traditional way. No colours, although vegetable tanned leather will naturally turn into a delicious golden honey tan colour after just a few months of wear.
It will take about 10 days from order to shipping of these Huaraches.
Free Shipping to USA, Canada and Mexico Available – Takes 2 weeks from Mexico to the USA, or Canada. Or US$30 with DHL 3 day shipping.
A few weeks ago I stopped by to visit Don Salvador and his son Fernando Cisneros.
They proudly showed me that they had recently been featured in a Mexican style magazine and told me how a photographer had come all the way from Mexico City to take pictures of them.
They are very nice photos and its a pleasure to share them.
You can reach Don Salvador and Fernando by telephone at Tel. 372.426.0318 – Cel. 342.103.3152, or visit them in very traditional, pretty and authentic small town of Concepción de Buenos Aires in Jalisco.
To see more photos of their Huarache styles visit the Huarache Directory Website HERE, or simply search “Cisneros” in the “The Huarache Searcher” bar on the right side of this page to also see how their exceptional Huaraches are made.
Via Andares Magazine Grandes Maestros by Montserrat Cardona and photos by Erick Guevara
During a recent visit to the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto I was very privileged visit their archives and photograph these very old Men’s Zapatilla Huaraches from Uruapan, circa 1910.
Men’s Zapatilla Huaraches Courtesy of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto.
They immediately reminded me of 15th Century Poulaine European footwear and also of the recent Mexican fashion of Botas Picudas – Pointed Boots.
I wish to thank everyone at the Bata Shoe Museum for a very special visit.