Reviews Slow Fashion

Review: Nisolo Ecuador Huarache Sandal

August 6, 2015

These shoes have been in frequent rotation this summer, especially on days my pedicure looks worse for the wear. (Read: most days! Who has time to let toe nails dry for two hours?) While I do like my huarache style sandals by Nisolo, I have one significant hang up.

But first…

The leather is super soft, and as one reviewer wrote, it’s buttery. The color is great, and the sole, while not super supportive is definitely softer than most flats or flat sandals. These shoes are pretty versatile, they go well with jeans, shorts, and casual skirts.

My biggest problem with these shoes is that they stretched way the heck out! I have heel pads in the back of these shoes (one shoe has two!) and they are still on the floppy side. Sadly this means they are more like slippers than a nice shoe. I wish the fit was better so I could wear them in a nicer scenarios (for example out to dinner instead of grocery shopping). For the price I paid for them I want them to fit perfectly and I want to love them.

I hemmed and hawed over which size to order, even emailing the company for measurements before making my purchase. They were kind and prompt with their emails, but I wish so badly they had steered me toward sizing down. About a month or so after my purchase I emailed them again politely suggesting they note on their website that the shoes stretch out. They again kindly emailed me back letting me that was already listed under their “sizing and fit” section. Somehow I did not see it when studying the fit before placing my order.

Still feeling unsatisfied and a little bit unheard I decided to leave a customer review because I don’t want anyone else to end up in my camp – spending nearly 100 bones on shoes that don’t fit well. Needless to say I did not give five stars, and shared my honest experience. I didn’t see my review get published to their site, but I did notice they changed their sizing recommendations to say “We recommend going down a half size.”

Nisolo believes in radical transparency when it comes to the manufacturing practices, and treating producers well. They strive for beautiful and useful products. The Ecuador sandal is made by hand in Peru. Lots of thumbs up for this!!

For customers: The Nisolo Ecuador Huarache sandal is really nice and well-crafted. They look great and standout amongst big retailers. If you are going to order make sure you size down and that they are snug when you get them.

For the company: Consider publishing all reviews so customers can get the full perspective before ordering, not just the positive ones. Additionally, posting a size chart for customers to get a good perspective on which size to order would be very beneficial. Saying the shoes fit “true to size” was not very helpful when I ordered. I am happy to see the website now recommends customers to order a half size down.

Since publishing this post I decided to contact the company directly and share my concerns and grievances. They seemed to take my words to heart and did offer me a $30 credit at Nisolo.

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  • Jeanne August 6, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Once upon a time practically every member of the counterculture wore huaraches. Comfortable and cheap, but of course they stretched out after a while. Apparently the secret to shrinking them back to size has been lost over time, heh. So here you go–get them wet and dry them (preferably on your feet) in sunlight or use a blow dryer. They’ll shrink about a half size down. Repeat periodically as needed.

    • Andrea August 7, 2015 at 12:34 am

      Jeanne, I might just have to give that a try, thank you!!! :)

    • susan May 16, 2017 at 8:25 am

      I had asked Nisolo about this, and they urged me not to try this…. My pair is totally unwearable now because they are so huge. I DID size down, and now…. they fit like 2 sizes too big. The last time i dared to wear them (with 2 or 3 heel inserts in each), I ended up rubber banding them to my feet to make it home safely. So tragic, and I looked like a homeless person, wearing very costly sandals.

      I hope they find a solution — All of their other products are outstanding, and i adored my Huaraches while they fit.

  • Dori August 6, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Such cute shoes, but I’m sorry they stretched out. I hate purchase regret… especially with larger purchases $100+!

  • Colleen Welsch August 6, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    That’s too bad they stretched out because they’re so sick!


  • Ali Grace | Cookies & Grace March 17, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    I just got these — and I ended up sizing a FULL size down. Usually, I wear a size 10 but after hearing so many say that they stretch and emailing with the company, I returned the 9.5’s and got a size 9. They fit, slightly snug, but I’m hoping that once they stretch they’ll be just right. Crossing my fingers!

    • Andrea March 17, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      Good for you!! I *WISH* so badly I’d sized down, I have the 10, and they are loose, even with little pads in the back. :/ As long as the sole fits your foot, the top part with DEFINITELY stretch. I hope you love them!!

  • Kimberly April 7, 2016 at 9:49 am

    To get your shoes ready for summer, you may consider dropping $10 at a cobbler to get the straps shortened. It’s truly worth the small expense and shoes usually come back from the cobbler even better than when you purchased them. (if you don’t know a cobbler, lots of dry cleaners have shoe repairman on staff)

    • Andrea April 7, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you Kimberly, that is a great tip!

  • Kristina April 28, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Hi there! I’m sorry your Nisolo sandals didn’t end up working for you, that’s a real bummer! :( I do however love the way you styled them with your various outfits :)
    I actually just got my Nisolo sandals today and they are TIGHT!! I followed the recommendation and ordered .5 size down(i normally wear 7, ordered 6.5) I know they’ll stretch out over time – but my concern is the footbed of the sandal is a lot shorter in length than my other shoes, which makes me think they are in fact too small?
    How long did your sandals stay snug for? Again I would say mine are tighter than snug – like borderline cutting off circulation….

    • Andrea April 28, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      Hi Kristina!

      Maybe order the next size up too, just to double check? And then return one. Also, you don’t want the footbed to be shorter than your foot. Mine have mostly stretched out in the width. I did buy the proper size now, and I love them. Best of luck! Let me know if you have any more questions!

      • Kristina April 29, 2016 at 7:25 am

        Oh I’m glad you finally got the right size because these ARE so cute! Unfortunately they’re currently out of the next .5 size up and there’s no telling when they’ll restock(I had to wait over a month just to get my current ones).

        I was actually all set to return the 6.5s until I came across your blog….
        But your latest comment about them stretching mostly in width also helped – I feel like mine might be a little short in length? I did measure my foot against the sole of the sandal and they’re almost exactly the same(my bigger foot might be a tad longer than the sole…)

        With your new size did the sandals feel super snug at first? How long would you say it took for them to stretch out to be comfortable?

        Ugh this is so frustrating! I want these to work out so badly!! But I do appreciate all your help! :)

        • Andrea April 29, 2016 at 1:06 pm

          Perhaps they might re-stock a little sooner? I have had that happen before. Mine footbeds are almost the same length as my feet, just a hair longer. Mine stretched out in width pretty quickly, in just a few days.

        • Nina September 21, 2016 at 11:53 am

          Kristina – I’m curious, did you end up keeping your sandals? I have the EXACT same problem right now…normally a size 7, ordered a 6.5 per their recommendation and am finding that they are super tight (like almost painful). And of course they don’t have any size 7s left. Did yours end up stretching out? I have a slightly wide foot so I’m worried they might not stretch enough.

          And Andrea – Thanks for your tips about fit, it’s super helpful!

          • Kristina Hsieh April 21, 2017 at 10:05 pm

            Hi Nina,

            No, after lots of “but they’ll stretch out!” and “are they really that painful?” I sent the 6.5 back(I even tried stretching them out by wearing them over socks – a trick I had read about as a way to stretch out leather shoes/sandals). I had to wait anoth month or so to get the size 7(they do restock, though it always takes what feels like forever) BUT when I got my new size 7, I noticed the color was off – I ordered the ones in white(or Bone) but the new pair I got had a yellow tone to them. I emailed them with my concern and they did acknowledge that they had gotten a batch of white sandals that were more yellow.. By this time I was pretty frustrated and decided it just wasn’t meant to be, and returned the size 7.

            For reference though the size 7 did fit much better – though I was also worried they were going to get too stretched out over time…

  • Elisabeth April 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    I know this is an old post but it was the only review that came up when I was researching this shoe so maybe it’ll be helpful to other people. I normally wear a size 6 or 6.5, and 6 is the smallest size they had. I ordered it and when I got the shoes they seemed incredibly tight (for context, my rock climbing shoes, which are literally skin tight–my toes are scrunched at the toe when I wear them–were only 1/4″ shorter than the size 6 shoes). I called customer service for advice on whether they would stretch more and the women I spoke to said that for sizes 6 and 6.5, they actually suggest you order your real size, not a half size down, because they’re smaller and don’t stretch as much.

    She asked that I take a photo of the shoes on my feet and send it to her and she could tell me from that. I did so, and she quickly suggested that I go up to a 6.5. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how the 6.5 fit once I get them. I hope someone else finds this information useful.

    • kristina April 18, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      I had the same experience as Elisabeth – I’m normally a size 7, and so based on all the reviews and sizing guidelines I ordered these sandals in 6.5 – they turned out to be way way too tight. I know these are supposed to stretch out over time but it was literally a struggle to even get my foot in the sandal. I also noticed the footbed of the 6.5 was a lot shorter than my other size 7 shoes/sandals. I sent them back to exchange for a size 7, but had issue with the color of the new sandals(whole other story). In the end I decided this was more trouble than its worth and didn’t end up keeping the sandals.

      I am curious to know though from anyone who’s had these sandals for an extended period of time(say 6 months to 1 year), do these sandals get stretched out to the point where they are no longer wearable? I can’t justify paying this much money for a pair of sandals that will get tossed after a year.

      • Elisabeth April 19, 2017 at 7:20 am

        I saw on an amazon (I think) review of these, someone suggested that getting the sandals wet and drying them on your feet with a hair dryer makes the leather shrink up a bit if they stretch too much. Also, someone suggested (and presumably had) taken their shoes to a cobbler and had them shorten the straps on the sides so they fit again. If you went to a good enough cobbler, that would be pretty easy for them and it wouldn’t cost very much–I had a cobbler reconstruct the entire back of a D’Orsay flat my dog ripped to shreds. It was only $20 and you can’t tell the difference (for context).

        • kristina April 19, 2017 at 9:48 am

          thanks for this Elisabeth! also please do let us know how your 6.5 fits and how they wear over time.

    • Janet June 29, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      As with others commenting on this post, I am in the same boat, especially with you, Elisabeth. Did your 6.5s end up working out? I’m a size 6 more often than not but, weirdly, I am a 6.5 with Nisolo mules and chukkas as they generally seem to run small (but claim to be true to size). With these sandals, I ordered a 6 because I had read this review (thanks, Andrea!) and I didn’t trust Nisolo’s fit guide from previous experience.

      Just got the 6 yesterday and like everyone else, they are TIGHT. I can get in them, but they’re not comfortable when I walk around. As Andrea said, the footbed is practically the same size as my foot maybe a hair bigger… but as Elisabeth said, the 6 and 6.5 are smaller shoes and don’t tend to stretch out as much.

      I am extra confused as to what to do with a shoe that generally runs big… from a company that generally runs small (for me).

  • Kyung Nam Lee April 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I just got mine in the mail today, size 6.5, I normally wear 7. They look like they’ll be too short even if they stretch. And right now they are way too tight. I’m going to exchange them for a size 7 and if they stretch too much, try the wet/blow dryer technique.

    • Kyung May 6, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      The 7 fit much better and are still a bit tight. I think they’ll work out well.

  • Molly Fonseca May 23, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Anyone with a size 9 foot? I wear a 9 – 9.5 in most shoes (9 in the Oliver from Nisolo) so I ordered an 8.5 in these huaraches, and I share the concern that when I put them on and stand up, my toes are almost over the footbed!! Did people find that the shoe stretched length-wise? Or just width wise? I certainly don’t want my heel slipping out, but I’m concerned that my feet are almost the exact same length as the actual footbed itself, and don’t want my toes hanging over the top as I walk…