Kolhapuri chappals are one of the oldest types of footwear worn in India. They were originally made out of buffalo leather and thread, and tanned with natural dyes. Now they are mass produced so they are available in other interesting variants as well.
Kolhapuri chappals are named after Kolhapur, the region of Maharashtra they are produced in. They were earlier called Kapashi, Pie-taan, Kachkadi, Bakkalnali, and Pukari after the villages they were produced in. They were made with thick-soled leather, which made them very heavy, but also highly durable so as to not wear out in the climate and hilly terrain of Maharashtra. They also gained popularity worldwide during the hippie movement and those out of India were intrigued by these lovely flat sandals. Kolhapuris are shoes that take intricate craftsmanship to create and they are the pride of Indian footwear.
Wondering why Kolhapuris are so sought after? There’s no reason they shouldn’t be! They are available in more materials nowadays, including but not limited to leather, PU, jute, and faux leather. You can choose the material according to the needs of your lifestyle. Kolhapuri chappals, being a type of flat shoe, are also extremely comfortable, and they can take you from 9 AM to 9 PM. It doesn’t end there! Other than being utilitarian, they are also extremely beautiful pieces of footwear to own, suitable for western casual, fusion, or dressy Indian wear. There are different types of Kolhapuri chappals for different occasions.
These days, Kolhapuri chappals are essentially flat sandals with a toe strap. They are made of many materials. They are available in myriad designs, you will surely find one to suit your taste! Their appeal lies in their comfort and their beauty. There are two types of Kolhapuri chappals based on the structure of the chappal:
Kanwali: When the Saudagars of Maharashtra recreated Kolhapuris in a lighter form, they had two flaps at the sides, which earned the amusing name Kanwali, meaning ‘with ears’! These chappals have flaps at the sides of the main strap.
Even Strap: Kolhapuris can also have a strap that is of equal dimensions (without side flaps), these resemble the look of mainstream sandals.
Kolhapuris are also available in many designs, here are some of them:
Plain: Plain Kolhapuri chappals are free of any patterns or decorations, they come in solid colours. If you like basic sandals, get plain Kolhapuri chappals in neutral colours like black or tan, or get a bright colour for a splash of colour.
Metal Accents: One of the modern re-adaptations of Kolhapuri chappals include Kolhapuris with metal accents. The touch of metal adds a contemporary feel to these traditional chappals, and it adds a trendy touch to any outfit.
Pom-Poms: Traditional Kolhapuris sometimes had a red pom-pom placed at the centre which gave it a regal touch. These days, Kolhapuris sometimes come adorned with colourful pom-poms which make it look eye catching and fashionable.
Mirrorwork: Kolhapuri chappals with mirrorwork look elegant, and they can elevate the wow quotient of any outfit. Sometimes mirrorwork Kolhapuris also feature thread work and patterns that add to the effect.
Embroidered: Kolhapuri chappals with colourful threadwork look subtle yet pretty. They are for those who like colourful detailing but don’t want their outfit to be overpowered with colour. There are also Kolhapuris with metallic thread detailing that adds a classy ethnic touch to one’s clothes.
Patterned: Kolhapuris made with patterned material look effortlessly beautiful. They look simple, yet they add a little something to your overall look, and they are oh so easy to pull off. There are many patterns to select from at one’s disposal.
Which Kolhapuri Should You Get?
There is a perfect pair of Kolhapuri chappals for everyone, we will help you figure out which ones to get based on your preferences:
If you like simple looking yet comfortable footwear, get neutral coloured Kolhapuri chappals, these look understated so they let the rest of your outfit take the limelight. If you want detailing on your Kolhapuris but still want them to look versatile, go creative with the detailing you choose. Go for mirrorwork, metallic thread, or metal accents. Lovers of colour can go for small bursts of colour, with coloured thread or subtle patterns, or go all out with bright patterns or pom-poms.
You can choose your pair of Kolhapuris based on the type of wear you expect from it, as then you can get them in the right material. If you will wear your pair of chappals only occasionally, and don’t need it to brace all kinds of terrain and weather, you can grab a pair in faux leather or leatherette. But if you want your Kolhapuri chappals to hold itself against the ravages of time and rough use, you should prefer sturdier materials like leather and jute. If you wish for them to be waterproof, avoid natural materials like leather at all costs and try PU.
Kolhapuris have always been in vogue in India, but what designs have grown in popularity in recent times? Pom-poms and tassels are hot trends in Kolhapuris right now. Pom-poms and tassels are available either in single bright colours like red and blue (among others) or they are available in multiple mixed colours, leading to an eclectic look. These accents are quite easy to incorporate into one’s outfit, as they instantly liven up any outfit. You can match tassels and pom-poms to your accessories too, like tassel bracelets, or a bag with pom-poms. Kolhapuri chappals with colourful tassels or pom-poms look fabulous with silver anklets. There are so many ways to experiment with this trend, so don’t wait!
Kolhapuri Chappals are so universal, because they can be worn with a variety of outfits. They can liven up any set of clothes, and they are definitely a staple in everyone’s shoe closet.
Style Kolhapuris with western casuals to add a kick of fun. A floral dress will look dashing with a pair of Kolhapuris with colourful pom-poms and silver stacked necklaces. A pair of Kolhapuris with metal accents would perfectly suit a white jumpsuit, wear colourful bracelets with this for a summer-ready look. Mirror work Kolhapuris can elevate the look of a kurta and jeans. Embroidered thread Kolhapuris can add new life into a tee and jeans combination.
If you want to go the neutral route, get solid coloured Kolhapuri chappals and wear them with everything from a white shirt and jeans combo to a kurta and churidaar set. Neutral coloured Kolhapuris are good for your lifestyle if you don’t like heavily decorated shoes and prefer simplicity and ease.
Statement Kolhapuris are Kolhapuris that have many decorative elements, and they can renew your outfit. They can inject style into the simplest of outfits, try wearing statement Kolhapuris with a little black dress and metal bangles for a cute fusion look. Or wear it with a white kurta and palazzo combination with colourful mirrorwork earrings to look stunning.
Kolhapuris are great for western and fusion looks, but no closet of traditional wear is complete without them! Kolhapuris add a finishing touch to daily traditional clothes, like kurta, churidaar, and salwars, and also clothes for special occasions, like lehengas and sarees. There are also adaptations of Kolhapuris with heels that glam up this humble shoe. Try wearing a pair of Kolhapuris with heels featuring gold-tone thread and mirrorwork with a saree that has a gold border to look like a goddess.
If you think old is gold, and you like the original design of Kolhapuri chappals, get yourself an exquisitely handcrafted pair to feel royal. Wear it with daily ethnic wear, or reserve them for occasions to show off the craftsmanship that went into making them.
Shopping for Kolhapuri Chappals
There is no better place to shop for Kolhapuri chappals than Limeroad! Limeroad has a wide variety of Kolhapuri chappals sold by Indian brands, so you’re spoiled for choice! You can see collections other people have created for outfit inspiration, or to get ideas for which Kolhapuri to buy, or you can make your own collection to unleash your creative side! Don’t wait anymore, go to Limeroad and shop to your heart’s content!