I am a freelance writer, author of 5 books, grant-writer, poet, river rat, amateur astronomer, and nonprofit consultant from Texas.
Huraches Step by Step
Building the sandal.
The trick with Hurache type sandals is getting the sole cut cleanly and cutting nice clean slits in the leather. A hammer and leather cutting tool work pretty well for this sort of thing. That's why you see cobblers with hammers so often. A sharp leather tool and quick rap with a hammer is lots faster than trying to saw through a leather sole with a knife
A band saw or reciprocating saw works pretty well too. Just don't let the blade bind. You'll have to pry the rubber apart behind your cut to keep the blade free. Avoid cutting through the bead where the tire meets the wheel. That area is reinforced with powerful steel cable and can wreck your blade. Cut inside the bead all way round to remove it like a hoop. Then you can cut freely from the remainder of the tire.
The lacing can be held in place with a series of knife slits in the ends of the lacing. Simply loop the free end up and back through the slit to keep the leather straps from sliding around willy nilly. Once you get the heel strap right, you may want to run a couple of stitches of sturdy cord through the end to hold it in place so that it fits your foot.
Cut the soles as shown. This is the most important step. If you don't like the way the lacing rides on your foot, you can fiddle around with it till you get something comfortable. If you want a between-the-toe strap, you can simply merge the front holes into one single near the front between the big and second toe. You'll have to dig a little recess in the bottom of the soles and tie the lace off with a knot.
To get the positioning of the lace holes, the best way is to put your foot on top of the sole and then mark where the straps should cross your foot. You may have to piddle with the placement a little and waste some leather soles, but when you get it right, Hurache sandals are some of the most comfortable things you'll ever have on your feet. They are light and airy and barely there.
As a former barefoot boy, I'm here to tell you that the more nearly barefoot you can get, the better it is on your feet. There are marathon runners in Mexico that wear these to run in and some people are saying they are better for your feet than those $200 scientifically designed runners shoe everybody thinks you ought to buy.
And no industrial shoemaker will ever be able to fit you as well as you can in making these custom sandals.
Huarache Sandal Variants
The tools are pretty simple. You need a leather working kit - basic sort with sharp knives, a leather awl, punch and such. Materials are also simple.
- Leather for soles or an old fiberglass or cotton car, motorcycle or trailer tire. You can use almost any ordinary stiff hide - something that will take a pounding when you walk on it.
- Rawhide laces - you want them pretty wide since they'll be rubbing against your feet. Go with what looks comfortable to you and sturdy enough to last a while.
There's not much else you need. These things get made out of old tires in some places. If you use tires, stay away from steel-belted radials. You want the ones with cotton or fiberglass cords that can be cut with a knife.
© 2010 twayneking
PaulStaley1 from With the wind---(or against it) on February 28, 2011:
Nice like those from a marketplace in Oaxaca!