Early Orox sandal designMemorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, the time when feet come out of hiding as we switch to sandals. Sandals are a big part of our story and we'd like to share that with you, along with a friendly reminder that we've got some terrific sandals in stock!

Our great grandfather, Don Felipe, had a factory in Oaxaca, Mexico where he made huaraches, traditional Mexican sandals. Huaraches are simple leather sandals that date back to Pre-Columbian times. The modern huarache, beginning in the 1930s, used recycled rubber car-tires for soles. In the 1970s our grandfather, Don Pepe, designed a more elegant and formal sandal that he named Magdalena. Back then the Magdalena didn’t take off, as people wanted their traditional huaraches.  The above photo shows another early sandal design that José made when he was in Japan.

When José Martinez started Orox Leather Co. in Portland, OR in 2005, sandals was one of our first products. One Sunday, when José was walking to church with his family, he saw a pile of scrap rubber in a dumpster. This rubber would be perfect to use to make sandals, José thought and he took it as a sign to do so.

The first sandals Orox made were relatively similar to Mexican huaraches. But through talking to customers and searching far and wide for stylistic inspiration, we realized that we needed to refine our design. First, we dusted off Don Pepe’s plans for the Magdalena, sensing that its time had come. Then we used the highest quality U.S. leather; sourced contemporary buckles and fittings; and, most importantly, created an innovative, continuous adjustable strap. Our strap system allows for superior fit and comfort. One happy customer declares, “I am a bit of a sandal connoisseur, and I love the way they fit.” (Liz Stevens, Corvallis, Oregon).

We currently offer three styles of women’s sandals (Magdalena, Maria, Veronica) and two styles of men’s sandals (Pedro, Pablo). While the sandals we create today are quite different from the huaraches made by our great-grandfather, we continue to honor that legacy. All our sandals are extremely durable and long-lasting and if they ever wear out we offer resoling services. And we still use recycled rubber.

Our sandals are exceptional everyday footwear, designed for utilitarians, the style conscious, and above all style-conscious utilitarians.

May 21, 2015 — Martin Martinez