Nisolo Huarache Review 2023: Handsome Woven Sandals That Live Up to the Hype
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In my neck of the woods, sandal season officially kicked off a few weeks ago. (For those with West Coast zip codes, “sandal season” in New York refers to any time the weather inches past a breezy sixty degrees.) And with its arrival, I started thinking about sandals: specifically, sandals I could wear with all the pants in my closet—low-rise jeans, baggy cargos, less baggy chinos–without looking like a clown.
We’ve sung the praises of the Nisolo huarache in the past, but I was skeptical at first—in my mind, I’m not a huarache girl. Mostly, I associated the silhouette with preternaturally chill guys like Chris Pine, and Silicon Valley bros en route to LAX after a trip to Mexico who feel compelled to let their fellow travelers know they booked that first-class ticket to expand their “cultural horizons”.
And yet, something about Nisolo’s flagship style piqued my interest. The huarache, a woven leather sandal whose origins date back centuries, inspires plenty of imitators, but very few of those feel genuinely in-line with its heritage. The Nisolo huarache, though, is hand-woven in Peru from smooth, water-resistant leather that fades beautifully over time, gradually taking on a soft patina. The sturdy-yet-flexible foam midsole absorbs shock and molds to your feet, ensuring a near-perfect fit so you can get your steps in with panache, provided your endurance is up to the task. Plus, the reinforced heel cup eliminates the nagging worry that your sandal might go flying off into the horizon with one wrong turn. It is, quite literally, a deceptively solid shoe.
It also helps that Nisolo is both B-Corp and Climate Neutral-certified; its extensive sustainability framework includes paying its employees actually decent wages and offsetting 100% of its carbon emissions. 150 bucks is a lot more than what you’d pay if you bought huaraches straight from the source, but the price feels fair for a sandal you won’t stop wearing until your toes are at risk of frostbite—especially when you consider the factors above.
And, as it turns out, wearing them didn’t throw my personal style entirely out of whack. They slotted in pretty seamlessly with the rest of my wardrobe, which is currently stuck somewhere between 1994 and 2010 (arguably my most formative years). I wore them with a pair of mid-rise, wide-leg jeans with just the tips peaking out and felt very downtown chic slinking around Broadway. I threw them under roomy chinos and a gauzy button-up with a random assortment of beaded necklaces and felt like I was cosplaying as a hip middle-school art teacher. Very fun!
The first time I took them for a test drive, I walked for hours and my feet felt great. (In full disclosure, when I got home I clocked the start of a gnarly ankle blister forming, but that’s kind of par for the course when you’re breaking in leather shoes). It was humid outside, but my feet didn’t feel wet or sticky, so I was able to get around Soho without any embarrassing slipping and sliding. Most importantly, I didn’t feel remotely like the type of guy who pays for Crunchbase Pro—though, yes, every now and then I did feel like indulging in one of Pine’s patented high-kicks.
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