Entwined with weaves of vegetable dyes, these slippers are locally tanned and are often referred to as open-toed, T strap sandals originating from Kolhapur, a southern district in Maharashtra. This artistic piece is the only footwear that can be paired up with almost anything. Currently, in vogue, the best part about this chappal is that it is unisexual. Thank Heavens, it is not sexist.
The Kolhapuri chappals have moved from Olden golden times to New one in the Design sense. Designs have evolved and of course, changed their course during the era. The artisans earlier developed heavy and intricate designs but have moved from that to a minimalist approach.
There are certain designs that are very extravagant and have elements such as glitter, sequins, pearls and stones. Geometric patterns, funky designs have also been incorporated.
Also, these chappals have been recommended as a style must have by many Indian and foreign bloggers. As a matter of fact, it became very popular with the Hippie movement in the seventies in the United States.
If you want you can also get customized Kolhapuris as per your design tastes. And along with that, the needs of today’s generations are changing and so the artisan families have also introduced new designs to fulfil the new generation’s expectation. So it is a perfect blend of Tradition and Style where men and women both find comfort and style in Kolhapuri Chappals.
Types of Kolhapuris
Shahu Antique Kolhapuri chappal
This slipper happens to be a link between the commoners and royals in that period. The beautiful craftsmanship, the hard-work and the perfect final product state a lot about this footwear.
Rapi Design Kolhapuri chappal
Since the chappals have a basic design, they can be worn for any occasion. Either it can be a wedding, a normal day at work or even an outing for that matters. The design is durable and basic, it probably matches every outfit be it a simple Cotton Saree or an elaborate Paithani Silk Saree.
These are the standard Kolhapuri and are a regular weight. These are the most common form of the sandal.
These are extremely lightweight version of the slipper made with a thinner sole and thinner leather, they are designed to be worn indoors only.
A heavier and thicker version of the traditional Kolhapuri which are designed to last longer. The sole can be so thick that it can weigh more than two kilograms!
How to clean your Kolhapuri Chappal
With proper care, Kolhapuris can last forever. However, you can cause damage to them if you wash them in soapy water or chuck them in the washing machine because you will irreversibly damage the leather.
If your Kolhapuri Chappal is dirty then begin by rubbing off any loose dirt with a cloth. Then get a second clean cloth and dampen it with water and a small amount of leather conditioner before carefully rubbing the dirty spots up into a lather. Once a lather has been achieved get a third moist cloth and carefully rub away the lather. Then leave them to dry, preferably in sunlight, until all moisture has left the Kolhapuri. Make sure that you don’t use them until they are thoroughly dry or you run the risk of allowing damp marks to reappear on the leather.
Hooked to Kolhapuri?! Read some more about this Art of Sole Dressing.
Writer- Ankita Badoni Copy Editor- Ankita Badoni, Alice Agarwal