Kolhapuri Chappals Fashion, History, Facts and Benefits

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If there is one chappal that Indians will never get tired of, then it’s the world famous Kolhapuri chappals. Beautifully hand crafted, these chappals are not only cheap, but also easy to wear, come in attractive designs and colors as well. And what’s the best part? They are made by tanning vegetable dyes, thus making them completely eco-friendly as well. We will tell you all there is to know about these forever trendy chappals:

Kolhapuri chappals Facts

Kolhapuri chappals are one of the oldest Indian handmade sandals. They are also called Kolhapuris and are open toed, T-strap sandals which originate from the historic city of Kolhapur in the state of Maharashtra, India. It is also known for its spicy missal and the famous Mahalaxmi temple. This chappal has great export potential and the Shivaji University based in the city has also applied for a patent on this footwear.
It is a status symbol for rural politicians, wrestlers etc. and is also popular in farmers. Though it has a masculine look, they attract a lot of youngsters. An interesting fact about these chappals is that they have ‘vinchu’ tree seeds between the two layers of the sole which make a sound while walking. Also, the kind of leather used in these chappals give a cooling effect to the feet.

A little bit of history
  • As far as Kolhapuri chappals history goes, they were first worn as early as the 13th century. Some other names for these chappals are Kapashi, Paytaan, Bakkalnali, Pukari and Kachni. In the late 1920’s, the Saudagar family developed a type of chappal, thinner that the original, had 2 side flaps and named it Kanwali, or a chappal with ears
  • Noticed by J.J and Sons when it was sent to Bombay, they ordered 20 pairs of these and sold them. Thus the family taught the skill required for making these to others and then a Calcutta order for the chappals made them even more popular
How is Kolhapuri Chappal made?

Kolhapuri Chappals made
The chappal is mainly marketed in Kolhapur and was encouraged for its continuous production by the Raja of Kolhapur. It is still also a product of various towns like Athani, Miraj, Nippani, Kapshi etc. of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Every household in these towns is involved in making these chappals. Men usually do the cutting of leather, women dip it in water for soaking and then stitch the strap (patta), while the children do the weaving of the braid (yeni). Different parts of the animal skin are used for different things, like head skin for the strap, tail skin for thread and goat skin for the braid. Oil is used to remove the wrinkles on the leather. Each family produces about 35-40 chappals per week, also, the chappals are waterproof.

Buffalo and bullock leather is bag tanned locally using vegetable dyes. The entire process of making the various parts of the chappal takes about 35 days which is quite long due to the manufacturing techniques being traditional and conventional. Moreover, once the chappals dry out, they shrink in size resulting in smaller sizes and fit.

Kolhapuri Chappals Benefits
  • These are waterproof, hence you can wear them all throughout the year without them getting wet in the rains or anything
  • Easy to use, and look stylish with traditional as well as western outfits
  • They are believed to be good for our health as they cool the feet and reduce body heat. This is precisely why Khas Kapsi Chappals, one of the various types of Kolhapuris, are used widely in Gulf countries
  • This footwear is free from allergic properties, unless the wearer is allergic to certain types of leather
What Can We Wear Kholapuri Chappals With
  • One of the best combinations is to pair Kolhapuri chappals with jeans. Simple, easy and very spunky. Wear any jeans you wish with a lively colored top, something that would suit the color and design of the chappals
  • They can be teamed with maxi skirts thus embracing the boho style, choose the closed toe ones pointed upward for this look. They could have materials like velvet with elaborate embroideries
  • How about Jodhpuris with these chappals? Play mix and match with tradition and team these up. Harem pants, chinos are other options
  • They could be worn as regular in hot summer days when the heat just cannot get any worse. You could try some nice candy colors in these for the summer
  • Want to go traditional? Team them up with heavy churidaars and add that simple perfect touch to your look

Where to buy Kholapuri Chappals From
Love the idea of them, right? Here’s how you can buy them online at reasonable prices –



Author Biography
Shalmali Shahane Shalmali Shahane is a fashion communication student at Symbiosis Institute of Design. She has recently started freelancing to pursue her love for writing. Someone who decided what she wanted to do for the rest of her life at the mere age of 10, she is an art, food and travel lover. A huge drama queen, her greatest passion remains books amongst many others. A strong believer of the phrase “Hope Has Power”, she likes to give her own creative bubbly touch to everything she does.

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