How to Tie Huarache Sandals like a Tarahumara!!

How To Tie Huaraches

When we travelled to Costa Rica to run the La Ruta ultra marathon, we were fortunate enough to spend the week before the race with about 15 Tarahumara runners who had travelled from Mexico to compete in the race.  In this time we shared our modern day style huarache sandals from Xero Shoes, and they shared their handmade traditional huarache sandals with us.  At first we were skeptical about their tying method, as it looked quite insecure, we were convinced after the Tarahumara racers swept the podium, wearing their simple huaraches for the entire 100km ultra marathon.  This is how the Tarahumara showed us how to tie huarache sandals, and we hope you give it a try and send us a pic!!!

How to Tie Huarache Sandals like the Tarahumara

tying huarache sandals mel and tarahumara runner

Born to Run – The book that started it all

Born to run novelI have to admit that I owe a lot to this book.  It taught me a lot, made me think, and ultimately has changed my life dramatically.  The most prevailing thoughts that this book provoked into my head were ones of a more simplistic outlook on things.  The more it spoke about the Tarahumara runners and how they lived their lives, the way they ran and “trained” (airquoted only because it is hardly training to them, its simply a lifestyle that includes a lot of running as a means of transportation and entertainment) caused me to look into my live and my fitness regime.  I my goals started to change from hitting a new pr lift or run, to running up this mountain, rock climbing in this national park.  My eyes were opened from the narrow vision that we in the western world see our fitness as, and look at these experiences as once in a lifetime opportunities.  We need to do what we can while we can, becuase no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

This novel also dives into a broad scheme of topics from the evolutionary progression of humans hunting techniques, to looking into the physiological attributes that we have vs other species to help answer the question “Were we born to run?”  Christpher McDougal does a great job of bringing in a number of very interesting characters to the non-fictional storyline, which has been a major influence in the current minimalist movement we are in today.  Before the release of this book, you wouldn’t have been able to walk into a sporting good store and find shoes with soles only mm thick, and there definitely wasn’t a multitude of companies offering their take on the Tarahumara’s famour running footwear, huarache sandals.  The idea was planted, the research began to follow, and the popularity boomed.

mel and tarahumara runner tie huarache sandalIn our 2013 season, we were able to experience things and meet people right out of this novel which made some of our adventures very surreal.  Running the Born to Run Ultra marathon in California where we met Patrick Sweeney and Luis Escobar, travelling to Costa Rica to race La Ruta, allowed us to spend time with over a dozen Tarahumara runners, including Silvino Cubasare who was a character in the novel.  On this trip we were even able to share our Xero Shoes with the Tarahumara, who in turn showed us how they tie their classic huarache sandals.

I can honestly say this book played a major part in why I run ultra marathons, and a huge part of why I run in my huarache sandals made by Xero Shoes.  I would recommend this book to every runner or fitness enthusiast, and anyone else who’s willing to read this great novel with an open mind.

Very rarely do I read a book twice, however this one is on my list for its second time as I think I will have a more enlightened outlook and appreciation for the storyline than I did before.

La Ruta Ultra Marathon – Costa Rica

***La Ruta Ultra Marathon***


November 16, 2013, will be race day…

The week leading up to it will be where the memories are built…

Visiting in and around San Jose, Costa Rica..

With a small group of ultra runners from around the world…

Including native Tarahumara legends…

All mixing and sharing each others culture, endurance secrets and lifestyles…

Building the memories and friendships to last a lifetime…

Before facing off head to head, in a 100 km trail ultra marathon race

Climbing over 13,000 feet in elevation…

Covering a biologically diverse trail through the ecological wonderland of Costa Rica’s mountains and jungle…

Wearing simple huarache sandals made by Xero Shoes…

We will literally be racing side by side with some of the best natural runners this planet has ever seen…

What would you want to know? What would you like to see us ask these pure bred ultra-athletes?

Let us know how you would see Costa Rica and all it has to offer…

Follow our trip as we dive into this incredible experience…

Twitter, Facebook, and here at

Or tune into one of our webinars that we will stream live from San Jose…

What we will learn, experience, see will be shared to inspire each and every person to look outside the box and to what other cultures and countries have to offer this world!!!

La Ruta


To say we’re excited would be an understatement… but we are more looking forward to sharing everything to followers… what have they always wanted to know, to try, and to see… Let us be the inspiration you need to take the jump and just go for it!!!

See how the race went: La Ruta “An Ultra Hard Ultra” Race Report

Born to Run Ultramarathon – May 2013

While it is infinitely late, we figured this was one race we couldn’t not post about!!

Born to run cattle ranch california

Born to Run…where it all started for me. The race that made me realize ultras are my calling. From the get go, we could tell this race was unique. As soon as we arrived to the race grounds: a cattle ranch in the middle of California’s hills. We claimed a spot with our little Kia Soul on the campgrounds and almost immediately were throwing on our Xeros and pumping ourselves up for the annual Tarahumara Ball Races. Line up with 5 other people on the start line and as soon as the shotgun fires (yep an actual shotgun) start kicking your wooden ball through the 200m or so course. How did we do? To say the least, if the Olympics had this race in their lineup of events, Canada could be taking home a lot more gold medals every year. Jonathan, myself, and one other Canadian all won our heats and with 7 heats total, it’s safe to say we represented The Great North fairly well!

How do you usually wake up come race day?

An alarm clock right? Not here. We were woken up at 4:30 am Born to Run style which consists of 5 shotgun rounds firing off followed by mariachi music blasting through the campground. We fall out of the tent to see Luis Escobar, the race director, standing on the stage across from our tent in a full-blown mariachi/Mexican outfit.

This was my first ultra so to say I was nervous standing on that start line would be a mass understatement. I hadn’t even started running yet and I already felt like I had runner’s gut. This would be my first time every tackling this distance in one go and all in a huarache style sandal called Xero Shoes. But before I psyched myself out pass the point of no return, I started to get my confidence up, reminding myself of how many of hours I poured into training to get to where I was and how lucky I was to be here to race this world renowned ultra. Before I knew it we were all chanting the race oath, “If I get lost, hurt, or die…it’s my own damn fault!”, and were off. Jon and I were off fast onto the figure 8 shaped course. After finishing the first loop we began to realize we jumped a bit too fast out of the gate and started to pull the reins back; we did have another 85 km to go. Towards the middle and end of the race, we ran into a bit of runners gut (Jon) and knee pains (Mel), and then both decided to run 4 miles off course, but just as Luis had said at the race briefing, no race will ever go as you planned. The course we both agreed was absolutely amazing. It was a nice mix of moderate difficulty terrain, and gorgeous Californian farmland scenery.

14 hours and 17 minutes later we crossed the finish line of our first ultra marathon together. Both extremely fatigued and ready for some good ol’ homemade food whipped up by Luis’ sister…or at least we thought. Jon and I both managed to almost puke or faint as soon as we got food in our hands. Sitting in some aid station chairs with our head between our legs and volunteers rubbing our backs; we both had the same thought in mind…”Get yourself together and up quick because we have a guy with a beer in his hand waiting to tattoo us.” And that’s exactly what we did. We pulled ourselves together, hobbled over to a mosquito tent, flopped onto a lawn chair inside and got “Run Free” tattooed along each of our feet by a guy using a generator to power his gun. Now you cannot find a more unique tattoo story than that!

The Born to Run Ultra opened my eyes to the ultra world. The running community in these types of races is the friendliest you’ll meet. It took me awhile to comprehend what I had just done since I was once that person that said “Run a 100km straight? You’re crazy!”.  But I got hooked and this race made me realize running ultras is something I want to pursue.


Remember to always run free and enjoy every minute of it!!


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