A Treat for Your Feet

From Oakland Magazine, May 2016
Ronn Simpson’s footwear really can brighten your day.

By Karen T. Hartline

Back in 1972, after graduating from Cal with a degree in Spanish, Ronn Simpson decided to start working as a street vender. “I had the help of two friends,” Simpson says. “Cold and hunger.”

Inspired by the summers he spent in Mexico, he decided he would sell huaraches, that country’s traditional footwear, which were popularized by the hippies in the 1960s and ’70s. It wasn’t long before his humble setup on the corner of Telegraph and Durant grew into a successful business. So in 1976, Simpson and his wife, Marcela, bought a building on the corner of Telegraph and 43rd, turning Oakland into the permanent home of Brand X Huaraches.