How to Make a Handmade Huarache

Written by joy prescott
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How to Make a Handmade Huarache
Huaraches are popular sandals in warm dry climates. (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Huaraches are a type of Mexican sandal. Commercially purchased huaraches typically have uppers made from woven leather. Homemade huaraches use cord or leather laces instead of woven leather to attach the sandals to your foot. The sole is made from many types of materials including leather and old rubber tires. You can also purchase synthetic sole material such as Vibram Cherry. Create your own custom pair of sandals with just a few materials and simple steps.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Fine point marker
  • Two sheets of 8 ½ by 11 paper
  • Scissors
  • Sole material such as 4mm Vibram Cherry or leather
  • Hammer
  • 1/8-inch leather punch
  • Shears or utility knife to cut sole material
  • Two 5/32-inch polypropylene/nylon cords, leather lace or hemp cord each 60 to 72-inches long
  • Lighter or matches
  • Tape
  • Wax

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  1. 1

    Trace your foot. Place a sheet of the paper on the floor and step on it with your dominant foot. Lean forward slightly putting pressure on your foot. Use the marker to trace around your foot keeping the marker perpendicular to the paper. Make the toe area a curve rather than drawing bumps for each toe.

  2. 2

    Mark where to make the holes for lacing. Place a dot where your big toe and second toe connect. Make the mark slightly closer to the second toe rather than centred between the toes. Make marks on both sides of your foot at the front of the ankle. Make the mark on the outside of the ankle where your foot touches the paper the least.

  3. 3

    Cut out the template. Cut on the outside of the drawn line rather than on the line to preserve your marks and add a little extra room to the sandal.

  4. 4

    Check your other foot. Flip the template and step on it with your other foot. Use the same template if your other foot fits within the template. Add marks in the same locations as the first foot or in new locations as needed. Create another template on the second sheet of paper if your other foot is significantly different from the template such as larger or smaller. Mark the template for your right foot with an R and the template for your left foot with an L.

  5. 5

    Transfer the pattern onto the sole material. Place the templates onto the sole material and trace around the template with the marker. Use the marker to transfer the hole marks to the sole material. Place the ankle hole marks approximately 1/4 inch in from the edge. Save the templates for making future huaraches.

  6. 6

    Punch the lacing holes and cut out the soles. Use the leather punch and hammer to punch the toe and ankle holes. Use the shears or utility knife to cut out the soles following the inside edge of the marked line. The utility knife provides a more accurate cut. Work your way around the sole making small cuts near the back of the shear's blades when using shears.

  7. 7

    Prepare the laces. Prepare the ends of the laces so they are easier to lace through the holes. The method used depends on your lace material. Cut the ends of leather laces aslant to create a point. Carefully heat the ends of polypropylene/nylon laces with a flame from the lighter or matches to seal the ends. Roll while warm on a nonflammable surface to shape the ends to a point. Cut the ends of hemp laces aslant and then tape tightly or dip in melted wax and let harden.

  8. 8

    Thread and knot the toe hole. Push one end of the cord through the toe hole from the top to the bottom. Make two square knots in the lace on the bottom. The knot flattens with wear. Run the flame from the lighter or matches under the knot of polypropylene/nylon cord to melt the cord slightly and then press the knot while still warm against a nonflammable surface to seal and flatten.

  9. 9

    Thread the ankle holes. Thread the cord through the outside ankle hole from top to bottom. Pull the lace up along the outside of the sole and under the toe cord. Next thread the cord through the inside ankle hole from top to bottom. Pull the lace up along the outside of the sole and loop the lace from back to front around where it goes down into the inside ankle hole. Step into the sandal and tie in a variety of ways around the ankle.

Tips and warnings

  • Make the toe knot smaller by removing about 1.5 inches of the core from the end of the cord before making the knot.

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