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Indian Sandals – of Chappals and Jutis May 26, 2009

Q: When do you really know you need a pair of shoes?

Me: Is that a trick question?

Q: Why?

Me: Because you always need a new pair of good shoes.

To add to above, Id say, you definitely need a pair of Indian Sandals! As I mentioned earlier, the range of shoes available to the common ladies of India are quite different from those available in some other world economies.

However, as far as we are concerned, we have one of the best deals ever. We got chappals and jutis, since time immemorial. Lets talk about chappals first.

No, they are not the so called ‘flip-flops’ which apparently harm your walk, these are creations which leave your feet with enough space to breath, wiggle and have a smart small heel, if so required.

The traditional childhood wear of our Moms, these thin soled slip-ons are comfortable in offices where they can be quietly slipped off under the table, yet are elegant and fashionable. And come in more varieties than the Kolhapuri and Osho slippers.

While the standard chappal/ slipper is thought of by most Indian women as one of those chunky ugly pieces of footwear only aunty’s-from-conservative-households-who-are-also-extremely-bitchy wear, they do have their original strappy lovely numbers existing, which can give the Greek ones a run for their money and their makers for inspiration. (Yes, including the Gladiators)

Made in a wide variety of colours and ranges, these are probably the only type of footwear which can effectively carry off any design without looking really bad. Sure, they can make you look ‘aunty’ (as Indians say), but never really ‘bad’.

Available in all price ranges in every type of shop, ranging from sidewalks to top notch places, they are the footwear that at most can do only one type of harm to your feet – by giving you a shoebite if you bought ‘em tight.

The modern shoe makers have evolved the humble chappal into its newer shoe-inspired avatar. These can be tied around your ankle or have a loop thereby resisting any impulse of the shoe to slip off or ‘flap’ while you walk.

Essentially, a chappal shall not flap while walking because unlike a flip-flop, its fit is snug.

Kolhapuri Chappals

Kolhapuri Chappals

The Kolapuri chappals are made from leather, and have to be made comfortable by regular use – just like any other leather product. However, the readily available ones in various colours and exciting designs are made with any material the shoe designers can get. Another unique point of the Kolhapuris – they do not have a single bit of nail on them and are made of pure leather! Once you get an original Kolhapuri, it may just last you a lifetime! And, they are cheap.

In recent times the Kolhapuri chappals have evolved into various looks including hand painted leather on some of them, with the designs in blue, green, red…making the whole chappal interesting and bright to look at – and look amazingly well with jeans.

Colourful Jutis

Colourful Jutis

Then there are also the Juti-inspired chappals. Juti/ Jutti’s are essentially made famous by the Punjabis. They are covered in front and flat soled, with a little triangle at the heel to hold the foot in. In some designs the back may be open as well. The top of the Juti is highly decorated. It can be decorated with anything. Ranging from paint, to bead work, to silver and golden threads, plain wool threads, etc. the jutis are as versatile as any Indian garment when it comes to embellishment. They are also called Mojri/ Mojari and are worn extensively in Rajasthan and Gujarat as well. As with chappals, they are very comfortable once broken into!

WHAT DO I SUGGEST? Well, with the variety available in chappals and jutis, women quite justly should go mad. When wearing a plain pair of jeans, nothing can brighten up the whole getup like a pair of colourful, ethnic chappals / jutis.

With traditional wear, salwar kameez and ghagras, a well embellished juti goes very well. Especially if the salwar kameez is the Punjabi patiala style, and the ghagra is rajasthani. Awesome party wear.

Juti with Sherwani

Juti with Sherwani

Men of course are quite partial to both of them. With a traditional Kurta-Pajama, a kolapuri chappal or a plain leather Juti looks graceful and elegant.

DONT’s One thing is for sure, Indian Sandals/ Chappals/ Jutis are best suited for long dresses – i.e. things that cover your legs. So, it is a definite no-no with knee length skirts. If to be worn with long skirts, it is preferable that they are Indian ethnic to look at. Preferably wrap around, with enough flair. Also to be avoided are Saris! They are elegant dresses, but in my opinion, unless a heeled sandal is worn, a juti can quite spoil the show for a sari – unless its for casual daily wear. Chappals and stylish sandals can be worn with a Sari, but the colour and style has to be kept in mind. Again, these go best with crisp cotton and thick silk saris rather than chiffon/ mixed fabric ones.

For men, anytime is a good time to wear a Juti/ a Chappal. Right from jeans, to sherwanis, pujama-kurtas to shotis. However, I hope my male readers would remember that trousers were never meant to be paired with this oh-so-Indian footwear. A kolhapuri for near-the-house grocery shopping can be pardoned, but definitely not as a dress-up!

So I say, go get yourself a pair of genuine chappals and enjoy your walk for years to come! I promise you will look chic all the while. This is one design that has been there for eons and will continue to stay.

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14 Responses to “Indian Sandals – of Chappals and Jutis”

  1. Mothers Says:

    [...] Indian Sandals [...]

  2. [...] foot’s hurt real bad.” Was my colleague rant as she hobbled down the road wearing flat chappals on Monday. Yesterday I saw her sporting her latest chic black kitten heels. Duly admiring the asset [...]

  3. jugaadu Says:

    hello you have a nice and well maintained blog,
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  4. M Says:

    Hey JM,
    I am visiting your blog after a long time (getting updates via Reader), and I must compliment you on the look. Really like the color combo and the blog really looks great!
    You know that I have started wearing chappals only recently, and I agree with you that they make great summer wear. Was tempted yesterday to buy the famous Osho Chappals at 12 in the night :D We were driving thru KP.

    • misshoe Says:

      Thanks M :)
      Osho chappals are so comfortable – especially for wear in a hurry. They look chic with almost anything, and can easily be slipped on.
      Invest in a pair – they are cheap as well :D

  5. DK Says:

    I like kolhapuris! :) But because they are so thin, just 10 minutes of walking on street leaves my feet dusty and dirty. I really admire you ladies who can walk with paper thin chappals on Indian road without getting iota of dirt inside the chappal. With me, usually its a rotating cycle where the dust is propelled upwards from the front of my chappal, caught inside the sole in mid stride, and accumulated below the heels of high arch. :D

  6. misshoe Says:

    Well, then you had better wear Jutis! They are just as good, and they are covered so dust wont accumulate as much, and they come in a variety of styles! :)

  7. [...] wearing a Sari, walking in gardens, on uneven ground, it was an ideal opportunity for her to wear Indian Chappals or Jutis. Knowing the market and her wallet size, she would have easily got a pretty one to complement her [...]

  8. [...] well as any Indian sandal type. Flip flop style chappals are also a good bet.  You can look at the Indian sandals I had written about. You can choose any type from [...]

  9. Rifat Says:

    We are exporter of many products like ladies sandals, shoes,handbag,leather Items & many more,we work on a large scale.we can satisfying u wid gud quality & reasonable price plz contact wid us & make a good deal

  10. Rifat Says:

    We are exporter of many products like ladies sandals, shoes,handbag,leather Items & many more,we work on a large scale.we can satisfying u wid gud quality & reasonable price plz contact wid us & make a good deal nooronline@hotmail.co.uk

  11. As we know that Indian markets always have different types products and category in different shape and color. We can easily find our favorite sandals and shoes according desirable color in budget.

  12. Sheldon Says:

    Hello! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I
    came to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the
    information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Fantastic blog and amazing design.


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