PALAPA was founded by Art Historian Lorena Marrón, soon after she moved from New York to California pregnant with her first child, when she realized she couldn’t find a comfortable and chic sandal for her new life as a mother.
A believer in simplicity and "going back to basics", she started researching the history of huaraches, the handwoven footwear dating from Mexico's Pre-Columbian times, an art form now on the verge of extinction.
Tired of fast-fashion, low-quality items and patriarchial-manufacture, Lorena built a female-led in-house design team composed by master cobblers, artisans and shoe designers. She partnered with one of the most sustainable tanneries in the world as well as a female manufacturer that honors every step of the process with love and care.
PALAPA's prices reflect the ethos of its female business model, anchored on labor ethics, high-quality materials and master craftsmanship.
PALAPA (in English: “pah-lah-pah”) takes its name from the Spanish word referred to a shelter roof made of woven dried palm-tree leaves. Also known as "tiki huts," palapas are found in Mexico's beaches, providing shade and refuge from the sun.
PALAPA has the Tropics' slow-paced lifestyle inscribed in its DNA. We feel inspired by its slow-living philosophy, exuberant vegetation & sophisticated raw-ness.
Lorena Marrón, Founder
Prior to founding PALAPA, she worked as an Art Historian in New York and Mexico City. Lorena was a Jumex Foundation fellow and a Stanford Research fellow. A tropical girl, she was born in Acapulco, Mexico, and now lives in California with her husband and two girls.
Sandra Dávila, Co-Founding Partner
Became PALAPA's co-founding partner in 2020, leading the digital strategy and e-commerce launch. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and baby daughter, and teaches Information, Architecture & Interaction Design at Pratt.
Sofía Prado, Technical Designer & Manufacturing Partner
Entrepreneur and footwear designer, she leads a small team of five master cobblers, all of them second or third generation of shoe-making families. She lives in Mexico City and is fully involved in the production process.