Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/36

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26
A STUDY OF MEXICO.

Shoes in Mexico are a foreign innovation, and properly form no part of the national costume. The great majority of the people do not wear shoes at all, and probably never will; but in their place use sandals, composed of a sole of leather, raw-hide, or plaited fibers of the maguey-plant, fastened to the foot with strings of the same material, as the only protection for the foot needed in their warm, dry climate. And these sandals are so easily made and repaired that every Mexican peasant, no matter what may be his other occupation, is always his own shoemaker. As a general rule, also, the infantry regiments of Mexico wear sandals in preference to shoes; "not solely for the sake of economy, but because they are considered healthier, keep the feet in better condition, are more easily repaired or replaced, and make the marching easier."[1] Very curiously, the pegged shoes of the United States and other countries are not made and can not be sold in Mexico, as, owing to the extreme dryness of the atmosphere, the wood shrinks to such a degree that the pegs speedily become loose and fall out. The crowning glory of a Mexican peasant is his hat. No matter how poor he may be, he will manage to have a sombrero gorgeous with silver spangles and heavy with silver cord, or, if he pre-

  1. "United States Consular Reports" on "Leather and Shoe Industries in Foreign Countries," Washington, 1885.