Last week I decided to take a visiting friend to my favorite little huarache shop in La Peñita. It is something that I love to share with those visiting our casa. When you arrive to “Huaracheria Colotlan,” you are usually greeted by the warm smile of Rosaria Salas. She is the lovely wife of Señor José Salas Hernandez and together they make beautiful huarache sandals of all types.

As we entered their tienda, we enjoyed a little eye candy on the wall in the form of various styles of handmade sandals as well as the more traditional huaraches. They usually carry every size but in the rare case that something doesn’t immediately fit, they also offer to make you a custom pair. This process takes anywhere from 3-6 hours to make one pair. As the Salas’ have become well known for their beautiful work, their time can fluctuate to a few days until the order is ready. So it was for me. I fell in love with a pair of huaraches in a two-tone with a sling back but I really needed a half size larger. They assured me that I could have my new pair in 3 days.

Two days later I ran into friends who brought down a pair of worn out Mexican mountain running shoes. They consisted of a rubber tire sole and a simplistic leather lace that wraps your foot. Señor Salas had no problem making them two new pair of sandals. They were ecstatic!

José Salas making huaraches

(left) José’s wife, Rosaria showed me my new sandals. (right) Ah, they are perfect!

Muy especial!

(left) Lovin the huarache feel! (right) Their story

I returned to the tienda on the third day to retrieve my new pair of huaraches. As promised, they were ready and Rosaria greeted me with her smile. José continued to work against the wall on yet another pair of huaraches, using a hammer and chisel and working over his wooden stump workbench. He smiled up at me as I tried on my shoes, with the assurance that they would fit perfectly! They did of course and as I left them both, I recalled their sign in which was mentioned that José had apprenticed with an old master. At that moment I realized that beyond a shadow of a doubt, José was truly a master and that this lovely couple had added another dimension to my ongoing love of Mexico.

by Wendy DeBoer

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