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!
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)
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
SECOND ARRIVALS – The úkata “Pihuamo” by Huaraches Martínez – The Finest Pihuamo Huaraches in MexicoPosted: September 11, 2013
The design of these classic Huaraches originally comes from the small town of Pihuamo in southern Jalisco.
José Martínez makes hands down the best quality “Pihuamo” Huaraches you will find anywhere. They’re very far from your typical transmission oil/diesel dyed field Huarache.
José Martínez leather lines all his Huaraches with a thinner and softer leather using a traditional pedal powered sewing machine. In fact none of his Huaraches are made using any electrical tools. The only use for electricity is to power the radio. What’s more, given all the natural light that fills the “Taller” workshop during the working hours even the lights are hardly ever turned on, making the carbon footprint from his business minimal.
He also organically tans all the Huarache leather himself to his exact specifications and thickness for a consistently high quality. Personally tanning each batch with tree bark for 4 months compared to 3 weeks for industrial vegetable tanned leather and 1 day for chrome tanned leather.
Echoing other traditions as making fine wine, or whiskey, the thick insole leather of Martínez Huaraches is tanned using local Encino Oak bark. I can’t think of a more natural material to be walking on.
By popular request I’m offering some “Pihuamo” style Huaraches from Huaraches Martínez which you can buy HERE and also in size Mens US 12.
$30 DHL shipping to USA, Canada and Mexico.
The outsole is made from the most hard wearing central treaded part of a truck tire. Soles made from the central part of tires are nowadays rare because modern tires have metal belts that cannot be cut. To maintain his high standards José Martínez searches out only old school tires that use chord belts and doesn’t compromise by using lower quality sidewall rubber for his Huarache soles.
In this a short video Huarachero Melquiades Robles Jara shows how to make a basic “Petatillo”, or “Zapatilla” Huarache.
Via VULTURE COMPANY
Unlike most mainstream footwear, Mexican Huarache footwear leather is still vegetable tanned using wood. Fewer tanneries in the world still offer vegetable tanned leathers because of the slower tanning process and higher costs of the natural raw materials used.
The natural benefits of vegetable tanned leather are:
1. The organic tanning process is non toxic and has a much lesser impact on the environment and the health of the tanners (chrome tannery workers have a 20%-50% higher chance of cancer risk).
2. The leather maintains some of its natural qualities to stretch and adapt to your foot shape.
A few months ago in a post titled “Taller De Curtiduria González – Vegetable Tanning the Best Huarache Leathers” I introduced Jesús and Antonio González the father and son tanners in Colima, Mexico who still practice this traditional and centuries old tanning method and unlike many modern tanneries still tan by hand.
The González tannery offers a variety of hides from goat to pig and they also tan single hides for individual customers. But their mostly tanned leather is bovine which is the leather used to make Huaraches.
Their most popular item is bull leather which is tanned with the pod of local “Cascalote” vine. Bull leather is traditionally used to make Huarache soles, while Cow leather is used to make the Huarache uppers.
As many tanners are very guarded about revealing their process, I consider myself very lucky to have been so generously guided through their entire vegetable tanning process and gained greater awareness as to how Huarache leather is made.
What follows is a photo essay of the traditional vegetable leather tanning process used by the Gonzálezes in enough detail, that I have been hesitant to show it in its real and sometimes gory detail, for fear of damaging the appeal of Huaraches. But I believe that this quasi-handcrafted process and its end product are noble. As one of the most environmentally friendly tanning methods there is, traditional vegetable tanning should be promoted and hopefully increase in demand.
WARNING: Tanning is the treatment of raw hide so that it remains stable and does not decompose. The photos in this post show the stark reality of the tanning environment that is necessary to provide the leather we use. Please be aware that the graphic nature of some images may be disturbing to some readers.
Please click below to continue reading.
The Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City’s Historic Center is a new and beautiful museum showcasing the best of the many Mexican crafts. The 5 floors cover almost every kind of traditional Mexican craft, from fine weaving to elaborate pottery.
The museum has kindly allowed Huarache Blog to contribute to this wonderful collection by lending 2 pairs of Huaraches made by Don Salvador and Fernando Cisneros from Concepción de Buenos Aires, Jalisco. Here is a preview of those 2 designs before they are shipped to the MAP.
The “Arana” Huarache.
And the “Recargado” Huarache.
The “Recargado” Huarache is made with 64 overlapping weaves in the vamp and a total of about 42 meters of leather strip is used for every pair.
Next time you’re in Mexico City visit the Museo de Arte Popular, on block from the Alaaeda at Revillagigedo N.11. Free on Sundays.
For more information about the Museo de Arte Popular also known as MAP, check out their website HERE
A few years ago I posted many photos of their fine Huaraches in a post titled “Huaraches Cisneros, Un Huarache De Lujo – Luxury Huaraches from Concepción de Buenos Aires“.
Recently, I was able to spend the morning with Don Salvador and Fernando Cisneros and document some of their daily Huarache making routine.
For many generations the Cisneros have been making some of the best Huaraches in Mexico. Ask anyone in the know and they’ll tell you of Concepción de Buenos Aires, Jalisco and of it’s exceptional Huaraches.
Work begins at 9.30 am with the Huarache upper which is cut out freehand and draped over the last to make sure it’s the right shape.
To determine where each hole is punched, lines are marked out on the upper with the back of a blade and a compass.
While Fernando is cutting the upper, Don Salvador his father cuts the leather strips and skives them by hand. It usually takes a couple of passes until they are dead straight and of a consistent thickness.
Fernando in the mean time punches holes in the upper with a chisel.
Every now and then a customer will also come into the ‘Taller’ workshop to get a trim and Don Salvador puts down his knife and lends his excellent cutting skills to clipping hair.
A couple of Huaraches woven yesterday still need to be lightly hammered to smooth out the leather weave, this is called “Asentar”.
The upper punched and cut, Fernando hand stitches the “Fuerza” strip on the vamp using an interesting wooden leg vice to keep the upper from moving.
After which the sole is traced directly off the last and the holes are punched out. The process is all done by eye and no stencils are used.
Then the holes are first marked lightly on the leather sole with the punch and if they all line up they are punched out. Animal fat is spread over the area which is punched to make the hole cut cleaner.
Once one sole is punched it is overlaid to the other and the holes are marked onto the other sole. Each sole is punched twice this is construction technique specific to the Cisneros. Punching a slit into the side of each hole, to guide the direction of each leather weave as it makes its way back up the last.
The upper lining is stitched on and by 3pm the upper is ready to be woven.
For more information about Huaraches Cisneros click HERE
Vincente Torres Perez and Jacinto Lucas De La Cruz are the last remaining Huaracheros in Atoyac, Jalisco.
The Huaraches in Atoyac have the distinctively pointed soles. Srs. Torres and Lucas make many styles and their most popular are the “Tejido” in the “Finito” (fine weave) version.
The “Tejido Sencillo” Huarache with the “Fuerza” strip of leather on the toe.
And the “Tejido Sencillo” Huarache.
They also refurbish old Huaraches, something I have never seen before. In this case the customer wanted to keep the original leather sole and an new upper was woven into it.
All their Huaraches are made using the same traditional techniques using wooden mesquite lasts.
Many Huaraches are also made to measure.
All the strips of leather are softened in oil and water and left to dry overnight before weaving.
The workshop “Taller” where Don Vincente and Don Lucas work is about as authentic as it gets.
A cool open space with adobe walls and a thatched roof, old wooden tools and vegetable tanned leathers abounding.
They still had a child’s version to the traditional field Huarache the “Alcapoyo”. This Huarache style is one of the oldest and simplest styles. The likely successor of the “Pata de Gallo” and the design bridging that to the complex woven ones we see today.
For orders Don Vincente and Don Lucas can be reached at the following NEW number: 372.410.2115
Huarache making and tanning have always been very closely tied in Mexico (see past post ‘Huaraches Nube Magazine Article. ‘La curtiduria en Huajaupan. Arte en el olvido.‘), as my research on Huaraches deepens, I’m witnessing first hand how some Huaracheros, especially in rural communities also do their own tanning. The motive is usually the same; the increasing prices of vegetable tanned leathers has driven Huaracheros to learn leather tanning, to reduce costs their and become self sufficient in their craft.
Although vegetable is the most common form tanning, some Huaracheros also mineral chrome tan, sometimes even in their kitchen. The ingredients are quite varied and they sometimes add a personal touch of sugar or even panela cheese to the traditional tanning solution.
Daily contact with natural materials such as leather and transforming the leather into a product makes many Huaracheros very resourceful and practical. For example they can use the sheep leather for Huaraches and the wool for yarn or as in this case pillow stuffing. Its fascinating to think that all they need is an animal to make footwear.
One Huarachero told me how he once saw a dead German Shepherd on the side of the street, so he took it home, tanned the skin and sold it for Coyote. And I also heard a story of high quality specialty Huaraches made in Sahuayo from dog skin that are exceptionally soft yet hard wearing. Reluctant to believe the story at the time, it seems quite likely now that I’m meeting so many Huarachero Tanners.