It's the time of year to start thinking about shoes for spring and decisions must be made. Another pair of ballet flats? Yawwwwwwn. Glads? On their way out. Glads with fabric cuffs around the ankles? Ultratrendy! And where ultratrendy goes, there's always victim potential. Finally, there's the fierce high-heeled sandal option, which, forget it, we've got places to get to.
Back on the ground, I think the time has come again for an 80s favorite, which, before that, was a several-millennia-in-Central American favorite, the huarache. Which, quite simply, is a sandal with a flat or low heel and an upper of woven leather strips. It is properly pronounced wha-rah-chay, but some of you will insist on pronouncing it hurrah-chee.
Authentic retro versions abound and they're all selling for great prices. Here are some tips on how to buy them:
1) Go for a new or barely-worn pair (this is of course the usual advice for vintage shoes but is extra important with sandals, for the obvious reason that there has been no barrier between foot and shoe).
2) Bear in mind that the leather will stretch to an extent, so be extra careful in the size/measurement regard.
3) Determine in advance how wide the shoes are. If they are too narrow, your little toe will try to escape through the weave and this will drive you nuts. If they are too wide, your toes will not be able to curl properly, you won't be able to walk naturally, and subconsciously you'll reach for another pair of shoes every time.
4) Look for quality old brands and intricacy of weaving. Ask the seller politely but firmly about whether any part of the shoe appears to be structurally unsound.
Now, on to the happier subject of how to wear your huaraches . . .
Easily enough, the answer is pretty much any old way you choose. Their native comfort and dress-down style make these go-to shoes in the summertime. As long as they fit right, you will want to have them on all the time.
1) If you're planning to shop into this summer's military trend in a big way, go for brown or tan.
2) If you insist on clinging to your black leggings (don't do it!!) black ones are the way forward. Do not fool yourself into believing that these will be more formal than the brown ones.
3) White ones are adorable, but you've got the issue of keeping them clean. Dingy white huaraches look nasty/manky.
4) They're out there and they're cheap! Go for all three.
5) Socks would be a bold move with a huarache, but since they're otherwise trendy with sandals this summer, do some experimenting. To up your chance of getting it right, wear a sock whose tone acts as a transition between your skin tone and that of the shoe. Ankle socks preferable to anything higher.
4) The open-toe versions looks more contemporary, but a nice pair of closed-toe ones can be quite elegant.
Good luck, muchachas. You'll be thanking me come summertime with those happy feet.
photo of huaraches at top from the Susie G. Collection, many thanks!