We have a soft spot in our summertime footwear lineup for huaraches, those woven leather Mexican sandals that the Beach Boys sang about in the 1960s and the fashionable set has been wearing ever since.
Now local designer Dolores Melgoza has made the hipster classic even groovier with her Soiyl shoes. The daughter of parents from Michoacán, Mexico, Melgoza coined her brand?s name as a riff on ?soil,? since these kicks are so lightweight, they almost feel like you?re going barefoot. The solid tan, brown and black leather styles suit minimalists; the Samara is girly-pretty with its blues and purples; and the Mazanilla is a fiesta of bright red, green and yellow. Custom orders are welcome; choose among leather and accent fabric colors to create your own soul sandal.
Purchasing these shoes isn?t a south-of-the-border afterthought, since the models for women ($172) and men ($187) cost much more than the cheap ones we?ve picked up on vacation. But they?re worth it, since each sturdy pair takes a local artisans six to eight hours to make. And they?ve got good karma: Melgoza donates a portion of each sale to RainCatcher, a nonprofit committed to providing clean drinking water to global impoverished regions.
Soiyl is available at Casmaine in Santa Monica, 2914 Main St. (310-928-3227) or Jackie Robbins in Los Feliz, 1954 Hillhurst Ave. (323-664-4860) or at soiyl.com