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Indian Footwear from different parts of the country

Indian Footwear aka desi footwear. We bring to you a list of desi footwear which depicts the various shades of India and if you want to sprinkle the magic of Indian essence in an outfit then pair it with any one of the exceptional footwear mentioned in the below.

  1. Paduka
  2. Kolhapuri Chappal
  3. Mojari Khussa
  4. Jutis
  5. Pula Chappal
  6. Osho Chappal

Significance of Footwear in India

Feet are culturally significant in India, their momentousness can be gauged with the innumerable references to the power of the feet in every Indian religious and romantic literature.

From the word ‘Pada’ (foot) representing the realm beyond the sky in Hindu Scripture Rigveda to the venerable golden Padukas’ of Lord Ram and sacred Buddha; India’s footwear heritage can be distinguished by the mentions in numerous Jain, Buddhist and Hindu texts.

Known as a country of articulate artisans, India is acknowledged for its traditional craft of footwear making.

Travelling from region to region, one finds varying ethnic and cultural groups which influenced the diverse footwear traditions across India.

As an international saying goes -Shoes that Shoo-in to win hearts

Marilyn Monroe once rightly said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

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These are traditional ‘Right shoes’ for every ethnic footwear lover

1. Paduka

Indian Footwear - Paduka


Padukas are ancient sandals of India which when translated into English, precisely means ‘Footprints of the Gods’. In the golden age Padukas were adorned by Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain saints. The more elaborate the padukas, the higher the wearer’s status, which is why some were also made of silver and ivory, with intricate decorations.


Traditionally crafted out of wood, the oldest Indian sandals were made with a grip imparted by the stub between the big toe and the other toes. With time the evolution of Padukas has resulted into diverse designs and vivid colour palette. The open design makes Padukas extremely comfortable and convenient to wear all day.

Latest Trends of Padukas

The latest innovations have taken these footwear to a new level with integration of ethnic designs and contemporary patterns. A must have for men’s as well as women’s shoe closet, Paduka’s complete the daily traditional as well as casual western look in a brilliant manner.

2. Kolhapuri Chappal

Indian Footwear - Kolhapuri Chappal

The astonishingly comfortable handcrafted leather slippers  known as Kolhapuri Chappals, are acclaimed worldwide for their long-lasting nature and evergreen voguish characteristics.


The origin of Kolhapuri chappals goes as early as the 12th century when the king Bijjala and his Prime Minister, Basavanna, endorsed Kolhapuri chappal production in order to uplift the cobbler community. These ethnic slipper’s name was coined after the southern district of Maharashtra called ‘Kolhapur’.


Traditionally, this open-toed, T-star footwear is crafted from stout and sturdy processed leather followed by tanning using vegetable dyes.The Saudagars are credited for the evolutionary enhancement of the chappals to a much lighter and thinner version with side flaps (known as ‘Kaan Wali’ or ‘Ear Bearer), making them more irresistible.

Since then 100 years have passed but the original format and shape is preserved due to its fame. These ancient pairs have come a long way from 12th century but still are ruling the 21st century ethnic footwear market.

Latest Trends of Kolhapuri Chappals

Due to escalating demand of these chappals, the traditionally natural shaded pair are now available in different colours and a wide range of designs. Today these are constructed with metallic gold-silver strips, and decorated with sequins to add a touch of modern and contemporary element. To make it fancier, these glamorous chappals can also be embellished with rhinestones. Kolhapuri Chappals have found their position in the urban society and are worn practically by everyone from college students, creative artists, social workers to journalists. Donned by both women and men, Kolhapuri chappals will never let you down and are a great choice to compliment any western outfit and every traditional attire.

3. Mojari Khussa

Indian Footwear - Mojari Khussa


In the olden times, Mojaris (also known as Khussas) were the staple style statement of crème de la crème of the society – the Nawabs, Maharajas and Zamindars. Recognised as the blingy variant of the ballerina flats, hailing from Rajasthan, Mojaris are mainly crafted in the blue city Jodhpur, pink city Jaipur and Punjab. At the time of their origin, Mojari were made using pure gold and silver threads and embellished by rare pearls and precious jewels especially for the Royal Kings and Queens. The prominent Sikh leaders Ranjeet and Sher Singh are also potrayed in miniature paintings wearing khussas (Known as ‘Jodhpuri’ in Sikh community).


Indian Footwear

With no left-right distinction Mojari’s are made minutely by hand, from the vegetable tanning of leather to sewing and cutting together of the insole, outsole vamp and sole. Traditionally Mojaris are made with no heels contributing to their unparalleled comfortable nature.The extended curled toe, open look from the back and the grand swirling designs depict the touch of the elite era.

Latest Trends of Mojaris

The lovers of boho chic style will appreciate the intricately embroidered Mojaris decorated with shells, bells, ceramic beads, glittery elements, dabka, velvet, sequins and pearls. The craftsmen who have been making Mojaris for decades bring life to them by implementing the regional arts and traditional skills. Adorned with simple appliqué work, bewitching weaves, exquisite punches and raised leather lines on the upper sole, the shoe exudes charm and glamour. Impressing both the genders with its rich, vivid hues and classic high quality leather texture, Mojaris will jazz up any casual and fancy attire by bringing out your fashionable aura.

4. Juttis

Indian Footwear - juttis


From the lush green, prosperous and glorious Punjab and Rajasthan arrives the lovable Jutti which has made their mark not only on the Northern India but across the whole world.The juttis were first patronised by the Mughals, and were adored by the elite Maharajas and Maharanis who belonged to the richest era of Indian history.


Used by the Indian royalty, originally juttis were forged from leather, and had extensive embroidery in pure gold and silver Zari threads. Traditionally these exquisite shoes were extremely ornate and rich in texture and design which incorporated fine gems, stones, and precious pearls. The crafting of juttis is a tedious task, taking up energy from a lot of different craftsmen.


Latest Trends in Juttis

After undergoing through various forms of experimentation and innovation, now, juttis are available in rich hues and trendy patterns.These special flat type multicolored shoe has a snout and embroidery across the body with a little stylish heel or back strap. Embroidered in reds, greens, blues, peach and pastels, these are aesthetically handcrafted pair which comes in many variations according to both men and women’s taste. Adding a touch of panache and modernity, juttis are stylised with motifs and images, besides the traditional thread and bead work to keep up with the changing generations.

The most versatile pair that one can wear to weddings, religious occasions, parties, festivals and even day to day bestowing an essential ethnic appeal. Juttis not only add spark to any western attire but also are comfortable to wear with Indian lehengas, anarkalis and ghagras.They are timeless fashion accessories can also be custom made for special occasions.

5. Pula Chappal

pula chappal

Crafted by twisting and braiding grass of shale(bhang) into rope followed by stitching it together with a cloth-lining, and colourful needlework on the top. Hailing from the ‘land of gods’ Pula chappal is the ethnic footwear of the local Pahari people in Himachal Pradesh.

Due to the former leather shoes made of cowhide which were considered inappropriate for treading on the soil of Himachal Pradesh, the mountain folk ideated an innovative alternative of these vibrant light-weight Pula chappals. To enhance its pizzazz, the shoe’s upper part is designed with a blanket stitch along with contrasting hues of wool.

Worn especially during religious ceremonies within temple area these multipurpose chappals are also useful for walking on snow. The craft is chiefly practiced in Chad (a village near Banjar),but the market for the pula chappal has spread to Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

6. Osho Chappal

Indian Footwear - osho chappal

Deriving it’s name from the spiritual guru Shree Osho Rajneesh, the eco-friendly contemporary flip-flops (Osho Chappals) are created from bamboo, jute straw and natural grass. Faux velvet, rubber, or simple cotton cloth are used to make the two chappal strings while the sturdy bottom surface is made of hard rubber.

Latest Trends in Osho Chappals

Synonymous with tranquility and vogue, these simple and basic design chappals are the true representation of contemporary Indian fashion. From teenagers to old age grandfathers, Osho chappals are cherished by all age groups because of their affordability, variation of colours and diverseness of styles and patterns (square as well as round front). With cool embellishments like beads, stones, embroidery, cowries, seashells and even glitter, these are as high on comfort as they are on eye candy. The chattai (mat surface) of the chappals gives them an earthy traditional look while providing a cooling effect to the feet. Fit for most occasions, the chic-style Osho chappals can be teamed with all kinds of western as well as Indian attires.

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Written by Kritika Bora

Pursuing Bachelor's degree in Fashion Communication from NIFT(National institute of Fashion technology), Delhi. Simultaneously, I am exploring the world of creativity and design. My love for researching and analysing diverse topics, has aided me in efficaciously engaging and connecting with people. By adhering to the ideology of appreciating my viewer's yearnings, everyday I polish my skill of putting across innovative ideas.


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  1. As usual very interesting article explaining about the varieties of foot wear. Keep on writing such nice article.

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