The Mexican State of Morelos has a few Huarache making centers, namely the City of Cuautla and the town of Jojutla.
The men’s Huaraches from Cuatla are exported to all the central Mexican States as far a Guerrero. Although the majority of Huaraches made in Cuautla are ‘Cross Strap’ styles made from a variety of leathers, the Huaracherias at the central market in Cuautla sell a good range including woven designs.
On the other hand women’s Huaraches for sale in Cuautla are all imported from other Mexican States.
These Huaraches from Guerrero, are called ‘Guitarra’ and are painted in bright colours to appeal to a less traditional consumer.
A very rare sandal that can still be found in the main market of the city of Cuautla is the ‘Cacle’. A very ancient design, the ‘Cacle’ originates in pre-Hispanic Mexico and the word means sandal in Nahuatl.
More than 500 years on, ‘Cacles’ are still made in the nearby towns of Hueyapan and San Felipe Tepemaxalco.
‘Cacles’ are made from woven Ixtle fibres, from the Maguey/Agave plant. Incredibly a pair of ‘Cacles’ which takes about 2 days to make, costs only 80 Mexican Pesos.
Physical examples of footwear from the great Mexican pre-Hispanic civilizations are as far as I know are non-existent, unfortunately graphic examples on murals and illustrations in Codexes are our best resource for learning about most pre-Hispanic footwear.
Learning about the past to understand the present is important. So just as the last few posts have put Huaraches in a historical context by examining old photographs of Huaraches this next photo presents pre-Hispanic footwear in similar context.
Below is a photograph taken at a very good photographic exhibition called ‘Testimonios de una guerra. Fotografia de la Revolucion Mexicana’ at the Museo Regional de Historia in Aguascalientes. The photograph shows a man in Aztec costume during the main parade to celebrate 100 years of Mexican Independence in 1910.
Where Huaraches originated from is unclear, but its quite possible that the ‘Pata de Gallo’ evolved from this kind of Aztec sandal called ‘Cactli’. Maybe this photo bridges some of the unknown gap between pre-Hispanic footwear and Huaraches.
If readers know of any physical examples of pre-Hispanic Mayan, Aztec, Totlec, Zapotec or Tarascan footwear don’t hesitate, please let Huarache Blog know and write me a comment on this post. As always thank you for reading Huarache Blog.
Since my latest post on the ‘missing link’, I was contacted by a very interesting footwear brand called Mocactia.
Mocactia means “putting shoes on” in the traditional Aztec language; the Nauatl, still spoken in Mexico today.
From the Aztec civilization to the Manchu dynasty of China to the Apache tribes of the American South West, Franck Boistel designer and Owner of Mocactia is exploring, adapting and re-creating footwear with style, that has been so functional and successful for many centuries across the nations and across history.
The first collection of Mocatcia footwear is the Aztec sandal, inspired by traditional sandal design Mocactia is doing a great job in reproposing this ancient and forgotten design.
The sandals can be purchased directly from the Mocactia website.