2 years ago I made myself a pair of Huaraches, here is a short photographic introduction, overview and a pitch for my Huarache Blog in case you would like to know more about the fascinatingly varied and often complex craft of Huarache sandals.
I traveled to the town of Sahuayo, Mexico, which with over 200 production centers (factories and workshops) is the manufacturing center for Huaraches in Mexico.
I arrived in Sahuayo and after some asking and searching I found the Ochoa ‘Taller’ (workshop) down this dusty street.
Antonio Ochoa and his son Victor are the only Huaracheros in Sahuayo who make formal/dress Huaraches. Below is a photo of Antonio the ‘Master Huarachero’, who showed me how to cut and weave my Huaraches.
I used a new dress last I purchased from a last maker in the city of Leon, Mexico. Mexican Huaracheros, have very few resources and typically use what lasts they can find. Many Huarache lasts are 50-80 years old!
Woven Mexican Huaraches are unique shoes or sandals where the upper is woven into the sole from a single strip of leather. This type of traditional woven construction is not only very complex, but also effectively combines upper construction and lasting. Making footwear from a woven strip of leather reduces and can even eliminate the need for pattern cutting, without nesting very little leather goes to wasted.
Weaving my Huarache, you can see the single strip of leather (correa) that marks the weaving start point. The spike tool on the right is called a ‘corregidor’ and its used to guide and sometimes force the leather strip through the tight weave.
Finished weaving, notice the the end of the single strip of leather (correa) showing under the heel.
The outsole and heel are stitched on and the Huaraches are ready to buff. Most traditional Huaraches are made without glue and have have no stitching, they are simply made from leather, nails and rubber from an old car tyre for the sole.
A quick comparison with the existing Ochoa Huarache designs.
The final polish done, they were ready to wear. I had intended to keep the natural vegetable tan finish, but the Ochoas convinced me otherwise.
Later the Huarachero picnic.
For more information regarding the culture, history and design of Huaraches visit Huarache Blog.
I would love to learn how to weave huaraches! Would you have some sort of manual or instructions how to do it? Which hole to start with and how to proceed? I can’t seem to figure it out from the pictures. Thank you, I love this site. Jana
Hi Jana, the Armadillo Huarache is a bit complicated to make as a first pair unassisted.
I would recommend you start with a “3 Vueltas” that you can see in the photo HERE.
It has a small upper part and eventually you can begin to make bigger upper parts like the “10 Vueltas” HERE.
Until you can make more complex weaves like the Armadillo, also the Armadillo is more complicated to make because it needs to be lasted on the toe.
Remember you will need to use vegetable tanned leather and weave around the last which you can see some of the process HERE.
Weaving usually starts on the top inside hole, then diagonally across the vamp through a middle hole on the outside, then around the heel and through a middle hole on the inside, then diagonally across the vamp through the top hole on the outside after which the process is repeated backwards.
HERE is an article of a reader who has tried making his own from scratch.
Can you believe I just found your reply now, four years later? Thank you so much for getting back to me! I know it has been a long time, but my interest has not diminished. All the best to you, Jana.
I’ve worn huaraches for decades and have always been fascinated by the different designs I came across.
I have been a leather crafter novice for several years now and just recently I decided that I want to make a pair of shoes.
The more I looked, the more I came convinced that the Huarche was what I am going to make.
Thanks for your blog and the photos.
I hope to come back soon with photos of what I came up with.
Thank you Ochipwa, have you also checked out my Huarache Blog? And even more info to help you make Huaraches if you visit Huarache Blog on Instagram. Good luck.
Very nice work do you teach people who are interested in learning ? U. Can call me anytime at this number 702 525 1236 ask for Rudy V. Thank U Much hope to hear from you
Dear Rudy, unfortunately I have very little time to organize and find a space to teach. Besides I live in Russia and don’t speak Russian. But it you dig through all my Huarache Blogs especially on wordpress and instagram with thousands of photos of Huaraches you may get a sense of how huaraches are made. Good luck, Markus
I’m interested in learning how to make huarache shoes 👞 and I’m from Cameroon 🇨🇲. How can I make make and what are the tools used for their making?
Hello Mushkav, you can learn in Mexico, Italy and Germany. A lot of suggestions are available if you visit Huarache Blog on Instagram. You will need to have a shoe last and vegetable tanned leather and something for your sole, also a hammer, nails, pliers a screwdriver/awl and a sharp knife. Good look.