Salvador & Fernando Cisneros
Huaraches are traditional Mexican sandals and shoes. Their origins are unknown, but there are clear design links between some modern huaraches and Pre-Hispanic footwear seen on ancient codices. As far as we know, the first huarache sandals were easy enough to make that the user could make their own. Over the years however, basic thong designs have developed into complex woven styles. Every region in Mexico has its different style of huaraches, but there has been no official count of all the different styles.
Traditional sandals exist in Japan called Waraji, a word that sounds quite similar to Huarache although there is no evidence of any connection between the two sandals. All woven huaraches are all made using a single strip of leather or textile that is woven around the last and through holes in the sole.
Salvador and Fernando Cisneros are a father and son team of huaracheros that make amongst the finest huaraches in the world. They work and come from a small town south of Mazamitla called Concepción de Buenos Aires, or Pueblo Nuevo in Jalisco. Only a few things have changed in this small cobble street town that still retains its old world feel, traditions and lifestyle.
Thirty years ago, Don Salvador, as he is known in town, did something very few huaracheros have done and that is to focus on elevating the quality of his craft instead of lowering the price of his sandals. Today, Don Salvador and Fernando are the only remaining huaracheros in a town where there used to be a dozen or so and, although the high quality of their huaraches means that their prices are mostly too high to sell on the local markets, over time, and with the help of some media exposure, the Cisneros have acquired a substantial international and national consumer base and many clients continue returning to purchase their high-quality huaraches.
Salvador and Fernando not only make all their huaraches by hand (for both men and women), but they custom make them to fit. They measure the foot like any shoemaker and modify their last (wood shaped like your foot) accordingly to provide their clients with the best fitting huaraches. Some of their lasts are over 80 years old.
The Cisneros are best known for the picado-style of huarache. The leather strip on the bottom is called a fuerza and it reinforces the upper, reducing any stretch. Make no mistake, their huaraches are made with only one continuous strip of leather and none of the strip is ever glued under the sole. Instead the strip is woven in a circular manner around the last and through holes in the sole to make a sandal that uses no glue, no stitching and no synthetic materials.
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