Even though my childhood memories of them aren't nearly as vivid as the ones in which I spent entire summers slapping and slipping around in jellies, I remember huarache sandals marking the definitive departure point from the waterproof plastic footwear in my closet. Like the summery espadrilles my sisters and I also graduated to, these woven leather shoes could easily get flatted down to pancake proportions, which made them easy packing items for our family trips to Bermuda every August.
And as I've grown older and more aware of how my mother's personal style did in fact influence the clothing options for her brethren—for the longest time, I thought Laura Ashley must be the world's only dressmaker, thus a life of florals was inevitable for all—I can see how the sandals, similar to the beachy espadrilles, reflected my mother's Euro-boho aesthetic (although huaraches are actually South American).
Originally worn in farming and peasant communities in Mexico*, huarches have enjoyed several key fashion moments north of the border, most notably in the 60s at the height of the hippy movement. And I'm excited to see them making a comeback this season, most notably in renditions by Proenza Schouler (the brand's platform version stands out as one of the most-wanted shoes of the season) and Valentino. Hurrah for huaraches? Si.
*Fun fact: in the 1930s, to make the shoes more sturdy, the woven jute soles were replaced with rubber ones made from old car tires, which accounts for their classic zig-zaggy footprint. Smart, resourceful, and good for the environment...which is something everyone's striving for in fashion these days.