Understand the History of Your Huaraches


If you are a fan of leather huaraches, you may also be aware that these originated in Mexico. These sturdy sandals have been worn as staple footwear by peasants and farm workers in Mexico for hundreds of years. This handmade footwear was initially designed by humble peasants that wanted to protect their feet from the scorching summer heat as they toiled away in farms.

Evolutions in the Early Days

These sandals were made from wood and cloth pieces with two or three strips of leather holding the toes and keeping them on the sole. They were designed more like flip-flops or slippers. The word “huarache” is derived from the native Tarascan language, which is spoken by several natives of Mexico who had a major influence in developing the humble slipper to fashionable Mexican huarache sandals for men and women.

Before the Spanish occupation of Mexico, these rough sandals were created out of rough deer leather, but after Europeans introduced tanning methodologies, cow leather became the preferred choice. Over time, leather workers developed the complex “pata de gallo” pattern that later became the trademark for all leather huaraches. However, these were largely out of the reach of commoners. Instead, common people used cut-up tire treads to make the sole for their sandals. These were cheaper and would not wear out as easily, but the upper designs were generally simple, comprising of two or three strips of leather or rope tied to keep the foot on the sole.

Modern Huaraches

Huaraches slowly gained popularity across Europe before moving into the US during the 1960s when hippie culture was at its zenith. Their lightweight design and trendy appearance were some of the reasons this shoe’s popularity boomed. Depending upon the location and style selected by the buyer, original huaraches are made of leather strips woven through tiny holes in the sole, forming an intricate pattern on the sandal’s upper section. Changes in customers’ tastes have urged weavers to also make new innovative designs in leather huaraches to meet demand. Some have peep-toe or closed-toe designs and are available in multicolored variations.

There are even summer huaraches with shoelaces to tie them on in fancy designs. The humble Mexican sandal has now become a fashion icon across the world and reliable summer footwear for both men and women. Though huaraches are still woven by hand in Mexico using the old-fashioned methods of tanning leather overnight in oil and water, there are also machine-made huaraches.


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