The roots of the Chala sandals
1. Inspiration: The shoe of the best runners worldwide.
The Tarahumara are one of the most native tribes-people in Mexico. In the impassable mountains in their home, the province Chihuahua they manage to set world records: They complete distances of over 170km without a break during a chase or in a competition – with noting more on their feet than a pair of sandals that they made themselves using a thin sole and a lace. These sandals that the Tarahumara call “Huaraches” are a key component of their over 2000 years long successes in running as a native people.
The thin and regular sole of the Huaraches enables a natural, conscious and muscle strengthening running style that is similar to being barefoot but at the same time they protect the feet from rocks, pricks, and splinters. Instead of walking on their heel the Tarahumara land on their forefoot. This running technique results in shorter strides and a higher step frequency. As a result they benefit from an enormously increased running efficiency and endurance that most high-tech-ultramarathon-runners can only dream of.
By now their running culture and heritage have inspired many people. Ambitious runners from the USA have started to form small Huarache-sandals fan groups that trust in the healthy and efficiency increasing properties of their shoes. The Huarache sandals have also reached a cult status in the fashion industry as even the Beach Boys mentioned the Huaraches as a fashionable must have in their cultsong Surfin´USA “You'd seem 'em wearing their baggies...Huarachi sandals too”.
The Tarahumara have been using only leather for their shoes for a long time. In the 1930 years they started using rubber from old tires to make their shoes more robust.
2. Chalas - our Huaraches (Background/History of the Chalas)
In Germany Huarache sandals are mostly unknown. We want to change that as we´re big fans of these sandals. So we decided to create our own handmade Huarache-Sandal that we then named Chala®. The name Chala comes from the Latin-American Spanish language and means “sandal made from raw leather”. And this is exactly what our Chalas are: minimalistic sandals to which we added a protective layer of natural rubber. The naturally coloured leather sole and are tied only with a lace to your foot.
3. Sustainable, regional and fair
We produce our Chalas in our manufactory completely handmade in Germany. The production of our Chalas happens in our 300sqm big manufactory in Freiburg. For the production of our soles we glue together different materials (natural rubber, vegetable tanned leather, cork, Poron XRD and the natural and sought after Pinatex) with our extremely sustainable, water- based and solvent-free glue.
After cutting them out we punch the holes for the laces into the soles. For our choice of materials we were always lead by our own high demands: almost all of our materials come from suppliers from South-Germany. Through this choice we can guarantee short production distances, the support of our regional economy and we make our statement against exploitation and child labor. For Sustainability, fairness and a regional product.
4. We´re giving back: a part of the price goes to the Tarahumara people
With the purchase of your pair of Chala sandals you´re not only doing something good for your feet. We donate 3,00% of the price directly to the Little Light Feet e.V Foundation. This NGO supports the Tarahumara by for example giving them the opportunity to get a school education and thereby improving their future prospects. With your purchase of your pair of Chalas you effectively support the people in the region in which the Huarache-Sandals have been invented.