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Shoe Profile: Kolhapuris


The world famous Kolhapuris need no introduction. Originating from a humble place in Kolhapur, a district in the state of Maharashtra, the chappals are known for their sturdiness and long shelf life. It can easily be stated that this footwear is a favourite amongst the old and the young, the urbans and the rurals alike.

The always-in-demand Kolhapuris have a fascinating history dating back to the 12th century. It is believed that the ruler of Bidar district, Bijal, and his Prime Minister, wanted to create a caste-free society. Once, they invited a dalit shoemaker, Harlayya to dine with the royalty. As a thank you gift, the shoemaker made shoes using his and his wife’s thighs! The king was extremely pleased and announced the chappals to be sacred. While coming back, a Brahmin named Madhuvarash stole these chappals and immediately suffered a paralysis attack. In a bid to find a cure, Madhuvarash apologised to Harlayya and took a bath in the liquids used to make the footwear. Madhuvarash was immediately cured and the dalit and the brahmin made peace. Thus, it is believed that the Kolhapuris played a huge part in fighting casteism.

Official records show that it was the Saudagar family who started making the chappals in the year 1920. One of their models was sent to J. J. and Sons, a retail footwear store in South Bombay, and a positive response led to recurring orders. Soon, the Kolhapuris were sold like hot cakes in the city! The traditional Kolhapuri chappals were made from buffalo hide which was tanned and soaked in a bag filled with myrobalan and babul bark to get the color and the texture. The tanned leather was then dried and processed in terms of shape, stitching and decoration. Today, the same process is followed, though the animal hide is replaced by synthetic and organic leather.

Kolhapur, Karnataka and Chennai are the leading makers of this footwear. Even though the Kolhapuris get their name from the place where they originated, they are known as Pukari, Kachkadi, Bakkalnali, Kapashi and Paytaan, which are also the varieties of the chappals. The Kolhapuris are an epitome of perfection. Channelling an eco-friendly production, the footwear is completely hand-made and is fit for rugged use.

Metro Shoes displays a collection of authentic Kolkapuris for men and women. These Brown Ethinic Kolhapuris with a rustic finish are a must-have for men.

At the same time, the footwear is given a dash of modern take in these Antic Gold Ethnic Kolhapuris for women.

With such a rich history, it is hardly a surprise that Kolhapuris are in vogue. Buy Kolhapuri chappals online here  and add a dash of traditional footwear to your collection, with Metro Shoes’ take on the classic. We dare you to find a pair that is not equal parts charming as it is voguish! Share your kohlapuri-inspired outfit with us and stand a chance to be featured on our blog!


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