THIS POST CONTAINS MUSIC – ADJUST THE VOLUME OF YOUR COMPUTER ACCORDINGLY
A quick apology to readers of Huarache Blog for the slow progress and few posts during the last 6 months. Besides the fact that new Huarache related information is becoming harder to come by, it’s mainly due to another interesting Huarache related transition that I’m making.
I can’t reveal too much in this post besides the fact that although the journey has become a bit more challenging, the rewards just keep accumulating.
Despite my slow posting, I still sell the best classic Huaraches like the ones you see on my feet tapping away to the classic “Caminos de Michoacan” song.
They don’t make Huaraches like these anymore, not even in 99% of Mexico. The increasingly rare traditional 3-4 months tanning process makes them virtually last a lifetime and age beautifully. Its because traditional tanning is considerably more labor intensive and expensive that only a handful of people still continue the tradition. In recent months I’ve been very lucky to wear Huaraches made from such freshly tanned leather, that compared to regular leather has a unique glow and richness..by comparison it’s almost like the difference between a freshly grilled steak to an old dried up one.
I prefer such artisanal leather, unfortunately its un-industrially long processing lead times are not currently feasible in the traditional 50 point margin, low inventory, high volume business model.
Although footwear made from leather tanned with this 3-4 month pre-industrial method has become virtually impossible to find, you can still snap up the few pairs of Huaraches that are still made using this method HERE
Thanks for reading Huarache Blog and stay tuned as I hope to bring you some good Huarache surprises in the coming months!
These “Tamazula” Huaraches are a real rarity and are today made on request by only one Huarachero in Mexico. I have been fortunate to be able to order a limited number of Men’s sizes and have them for sale in my úkata store which you can access clicking the VISIT MY STORE icon in the top right of this page.
Finding the Huarachero after seeing a pair of his Huaraches for sale in Tamazula, Jalisco (see that post HERE) was a real investigation, especially as he doesn’t even live near Tamazula and understandably none of the Huaracheria owners in Tamazula were willing to tell me his name either.
And even after find him, Sr. Solano the huarachero never gave me his phone number. Although each time I visited him I always found him busy weaving Huaraches, with his seemingly busy huarache making schedule I was surprised to discover that he only makes Huaraches part time.
Like most Huaracheros he has his own workshop, his lasts, his sewing machine and has his local clients, but surprisingly most of his time is taken up as the caretaker of his local church. Its a mystery to me why a Huarachero of such talent chooses caretaking work over making his remarkable Huaraches. Thoughts of miracles, vows and answered prayers go through my mind, but maybe for Sr. Solano money and Huaraches aren’t everything, after all he’s also well into his 70’s.
It was touching to hear Sr. Solano talk about putting love into making his Huaraches, a philosophy so distant from today’s monetization and commodification culture even amongst other Mexican Huaracheros. Its clear that for Sr. Solano focusing on service and quality is very important. Maybe that’s why he offered to make me only 6 pairs of his unique “Tamazula” Huaraches, because he realistically didn’t have time to make me more.
Interestingly Sr. Solano’s Huaraches are made using vegetable tanned leather from Curtiduria Gonzalez in Colima. Sr. Solano is one of those crafts persons I wrote about who travel across state just to buy the right leather. Because not every leather can be cut so thinly so as to make his “Tamazula” 16 Vuelta Huaraches.
I’m also excited for this rare opportunity to show you in detail the tanning process of the leather of these “Tamazula” Huaraches. Its not often that consumers are able to witness the tanning of the leather in their products. Check out the “Tamazula” Huarache artisanal tanning process HERE
Like all good Huaraches the “Tamazula” sole is made from only the central/tread part of a recycled car tire (although the sole tread patterns are matched, the design on your pair of Huaraches may differ from the one in the photo).
The Huarache “Tamazula” is made entirely by hand and uses no glue.
The mysterious green colouring on the toe is a unique and traditional detail of the Tamazula Huarache. When I asked why it was there, I was told “that’s the way its always been”.
The fit of the “Tamazula” is little wide and are perfect if you have wide feet, or are a half size.
$30 DHL shipping to USA, Canada and Mexico.
I recently came across the 1939 US Patent 2,161,472 for a Woven Shoe with a Huarache Construction (where the upper is woven into the sole using a strip of leather).
The illustrations show some details of the anatomy of a Huarache which I find quite interesting.
I also think the drawings show the construction process quite well.
Click on the images for a close up high resolution view.
To read the patent document click HERE
SOLD OUT – THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
MORE HUARACHES IN LATE JANUARY.
Thank you to all Huarache Blog readers and úkata customers for your continued support! This is my first ever sale and I’m feeling quite excited!
Only for this coming month and leading up to Christmas, visit the úkata online store HERE and get 20% off the best crafted, all natural, Mexican Huaraches.
In a modernizing Mexico, traditional Huaraches like these might not be around for much longer, so snap them up while you can.
$30 shipping to USA, CANADA and MEXICO.
Happy holidays and thanks again!
IX Style is a new socially conscious fashion brand that currently sells Mayan style Huaraches, while donating 15% of profits to provide clean drinking water to Guatemalan communities that have none.
IX pronounced “eeks”, is the Mayan word for water.
Started earlier this year, IX Style will turn 15% profits to affiliated charities in Guatemala that run projects which create water filtration systems and wells. Not only does this initiative aim to offer a healthier life, but also to reduce the time spent collecting precious water from distant sources. Thereby providing people with more time to study, or work and a better chance to break the poverty cycle.
For more info check out the IX Style website HERE
A few weeks ago Bill Gates mentioned the importance of prioritizing the development and distribution of technology for basic things like “child survival” in the third world, over the projects of global connectivity proposed by Mark Zuckerberg and Google.
Although its hard to side with his point of view because essentially all help is good help. From the comfort of our smartphone interconnected world its also hard to imagine the daily hardships endured by about 90% of the world’s population. Its hard to imagine the hours spent walking for miles just to collect dirty water, or fire wood to cook with. How can anyone find time to study, work and least of all surf the web, when so much time is dedicated to the most basic needs?
And just the other day when I wanted to add a Huarachero to the online The Huarache Directory, surprisingly he told me he didn’t have a phone, let alone access to the internet. It never occurred to me that the average daily wage in Mexico is about US$4 per day, which means that some Mexicans are working for even less (like many people around the world). So assuming the internet will one day penetrate to the deepest and remotest parts of the planet, the question is will those living there be able to afford access to it?
Jamay is a small town on the eastern corner of Lake Chapala in Jalisco. It is known for its eyelet decorated Huaraches style especially for this one below called the “Guandarria Finito”.
I was able to find a small family “Taller” Huarache workshop, Father, Mother and 2 Sons all dedicated to the craft of making these Huaraches.
Like all woven Huaraches the “Guandarria ” can be made with different numbers of weaves and increased sophistication.
Also very sophisticated is the “20 Vueltas” Petatillo Huarache, which is woven exclusively by the lady.
Then there is the “Jamay Pachuco” that quite different to the similarly named Huarache style from nearby Sahuayo.
To make an order call Huaracheria Jamay in Jamay, Jalisco at Tel. 392.924.1230 (don’t forget the international dialing code for Mexico)
Sr. Alonso makes a “Petatillo” Huarache that has a unique Huarache weave. The name can be translated to “brick weave” and probably has roots in the Nahuatl word petlatl which is a traditional palm woven mat with the same weave.
But unlike petate matting you won’t find a “Petatillo” Huarache like this anywhere in Mexico outside of a 50 mile radius from his workshop. Because weaving a “brick weave” flat mat is one thing, knowing how to weave the same brick design over a 3 dimensional last, into a sole using just a single strip of leather is another.
Sr. Alonso is a humble man, I once asked him if he would be interested in collaborating with a small Canadian brand that had approached me, but he respectfully turned the offer down telling me “I’m getting old, I should be working less and not more”.
Nonetheless I was recently able to make a small order of “Petatillo” Huaraches from him to share with interested readers. You can buy them by visiting my store at the top of the page or clicking HERE
$30 DHL shipping to USA, Canada and Mexico.
I was immediately struck by his Petatillo” design for it’s sophisticated balance of thick ruggedness and complex weave. What’s more these Huaraches use no glue, they are made using only natural tanned leather, rubber and nails! The rubber outsole is made from a thinned out recycled truck tire that uses chord instead of metal ply.
These are probably my favorite Huaraches, I like the last shape very much, but I especially enjoy how intricate they are and yet also handmade with only a few essential tools and materials. What’s more, like many traditional Huaraches they are also made without the use of any electrical tools. Like some of the best cooking they show how much can be achieved with so little.
These Huaraches are also known as ” de campo” meaning for the field. The tight weave keeps the Huarache flexible and the foot protected while also allowing it to breath. Unlike most Huaraches the base of this “Petatillo” heel piece is nailed into the sole, this is to prevent stones and dirt from getting in under the foot.
It takes about 1 hour just to weave a pair of these Huaraches, which doesn’t include the time spent cutting strips and parts, pressing the insole leather to get it flat and stiff and nailing the insole and sole.
The vegetable tanned leather comes from a local tannery and though it is as rugged and natural as it gets, Sr. Alonso does a good job at thinning it down to a wearable thickness.
You can check out how this leather changes colour on a previous post titled “My Petatillos – Huaraches Get Better With Age” HERE
For more information about the process to make this “Petatillo” Huarache and my small challenge finding Sr. Alonso, check out a previous post titled “To Make a Huarache” HERE
Gracias Sr. Alonso!
I was lucky to drop by Taller workshop of Huarachero Antonio Granados last week to see a few new Huarache styles that he makes.
The recent wins at the yearly Huaraches Competition in Sahuayo had earned him a few orders some which he was busy finishing.
Below is the Huarache “Peinetón” named after the Hair Comb type leather tongue.
The Huarache “Petatillo Cerrado Combinado” is another example of how he also weaves different coloured strips of leather.
The Huarache “Marta Combinado”.
The Huarache “Pachuco 20 Vueltas”.
For more Antonio Granadas Huarache designs and contact details click HERE
Talpa de Allende is another pretty Mexican Mountain town and a good place to escape the summer heat. The town is famous for its Virgin of Talpa Shrine that attracts many pilgrims, Chitle the original pre-hispanic chewing gum made from the local Zapote rubber trees and its Huaraches.
With a good flow of tourists in Talpa de Allende and because tourists are always been eager to buy local crafts as souvenirs, the local Huaracheros haven’t struggled as much as in other parts of Mexico. It was refreshing to see the rare sight of young Huarache making artisans in a small workshop/store at one side of the main church.
The typical Talpa Huaraches have a distinct “grain ear” weave and a very short tongue.
The same style is made with more, or fewer weaves and with a strap for the traditional field working design.
The more rugged field version with strap has big staples securing the insole to the outsole. This is because it uses fewer nails.
The soles are constructed in an unusual way where the insole and outsole are first nailed and stapled together after which the huarache upper is woven on. Notice that there are no nails in the sole near the woven parts of the Huaraches.
The exceptional Raramuri, a people and culture have the attention of the world’s biggest sports brand.