Kolhapuri Chappals as the name suggests find its genesis in the district of Kohlapur in the state of Maharashtra, India. Kolhapuri chappals are handcrafted leather sandals, and this craft has gained much popularity and the ubiquitous kolhapuri chappals are today widely favored the world over.
What makes this footwear unique are the intricate patterns that are cleverly incorporated and handcrafted with the use of leather. The leather used is obtained from the hide of bulls, cows and goats. In order to cater to different styles and tastes the leather used is either dyed brown or dark maroon. However, natural tan color leather is usually the most preferred. This footwear is a perfect depiction of the traditions and cultures of India and has evolved over the years to make this footwear a favorite not only in India but abroad as well.
Kolhapuri chappals essentially complement all Indian ethnic outfits. But the USP of this product remains that the product can be worn by both genders, can be incorporated as formal or informal wear, it is reasonably priced and perfectly depict the rich and unique Indian traditional footwear styles. It is most commonly worn with Kurta and jeans both by men as well as women. However, it can perfectly complement many other outfits like saris, suits etc. Kolhapuris are quite comfortable and are perfect for the hot and humid climates. Moreover they are extremely durable and come in varied colors and sizes. The price can range anywhere between a few dollars to hundreds of dollars depending on the leather quality as well as the level of craftsmanship and designs.
The other advantage of this footwear is that it is usually free from all allergic properties unless of course if the wearer is allergic to specific types of leather. The making of kolhapuri slippers does not involve the use of any nails and the sandals are stitched with cords that are also made of leather. This offers additional comfort and durability. The sole is usually made of two or more pieces of leather which are then pasted together and stitched with thongs to impart it with solid strength and durability. The designs could involve intricate patterns which are further enhanced with golden cords called "gota". So the customer has a wide variety to choose from, be it simple patterns or intricately to moderately embellished kolhapuris. Many new designs in this footwear have been incorporated over the years. These include thong-like straps or even pink or maroon colored pom poms that are stitched into thong like straps. The traditional designs essentially include Kachkadi, bakkalnali, and pukari. Over the years the superior viabilities of Kolhapuri chappals have been recognized en masse and its popularity is fast catching up in the west as well. This intricately handcrafted footwear has been able to retain its uniqueness and ingenuity primarily due to skilled craftsmanship and the fact that it complements most Indian outfits perfectly. Recently more creative and fanciful designs have lent this footwear a more modern appeal and versatility.