Summer wedding season is nigh, and your gnarly toes don’t belong anywhere near the dais. Enter the best huarache sandals, the ideal plus-one for that swanky linen number you bought in anticipation of this very moment.
The huarache’s appeal is pretty simple: the humble woven slip-on merges the airy feel of a sandal with the polished look of a loafer, minus the feet sweat. And unlike, say, espadrilles, huaraches skew far more substantial. In their most traditional form, their leather uppers are woven by hand and threaded or nailed into an outer sole hardy enough to withstand extensive mileage on rugged terrain. Which helps explain why they remain a staple in the regions of Mexico they originated in—and why so many misty-eyed travelers passing through the country return home with a pair.
In 2023, the best huarache sandals span the gamut, from traditional riffs crafted in Mexico to artisanal remixes that pull inspiration from around the world. None of the cohort below demand booking a ticket South—but if you’ve got the time (and miles) to burn, it’s hard to beat buying a pair directly from the source.
The Best Huaraches Shopping Guide
Nisolo’s huarache sandal is no stranger to these parts. In the past, we’ve praised its water-resistant leather uppers, cushy midsoles, and ultra-low rubber soles, and extolled the virtues of its exceptional arch support and deceptive versatility (in our book, the brand’s hero product looks just as good with pressed chinos as it does peeking out beneath baggy jeans). All that aside, though, what we really dig about the company is its B-corp and climate neutral certifications, and its dedication to ensuring the craftspeople churning out its shoes are compensated fairly. Sure, $150 is more than you’d pay if you bought a pair abroad, but it’s hard to put a price on peace of mind—or the simple pleasure of looking like Chris Pine.
If you live in a city, your exposed toes don’t belong anywhere close to the pavement. (Trust us: It’s seen things nobody should ever have to experience.) Yuketen’s Alejandro sandal is handwoven in Mexico with a beefy Vibram outsole for maximum cushioning, a welcome boost—and buffer—from whatever you encounter on the streets this summer.
It’s hot as hell outside and a last-minute meeting with the big cheese pops up on your calendar. Don’t panic—and definitely don’t show up in a pair of flip-flops. When that day arrives, Ralph Lauren’s huarache-inspired leather sandals are the ones to reach for. They still deliver on the silhouette’s core promise of breathability and comfort, with the added perk of bonus style points that may/may not factor into a promotion. They’re made in Italy so they don’t come cheap, but if you’re looking for a loafer alternative that’ll keep its cool when the boss starts grilling you on the numbers, they’re the only shoes you need in your corner.
Yuki Matsuda might not be a household name, but to a certain type of clothing fanatic he’s a rockstar. Matsuda is the creative force behind Meg Co., which owns Chamula, Yuketen, and Monitaly—a formidable triumvirate of indie menswear darlings that specialize in next-gen Americana. After visiting Mexico in the ‘90s, Matsuda cooked up an intricately-woven huarache cut from vegetable-tanned leather attached to a flexible EVA sole. Decades later, Chamula offers them as a mule, too, but the classic closed-toe silhouette still takes the cake.