Chappals with fine leather strip decoration and stacked leather soles. The left shoe has a large toe loop and a metal loop inserted in the heel.Possibly Kolhapur, Maharashtra, late 19th century.S88.19 (leather, fibre, metal); P85.191 (leather, straw, pegs, metal, pigment)Photo: John Bigelow Taylor
Chappals with fine leather strip decoration and stacked leather soles. The left shoe has a large toe loop and a metal loop inserted in the heel.
Possibly Kolhapur, Maharashtra, late 19th century.
S88.19 (leather, fibre, metal); P85.191 (leather, straw, pegs, metal, pigment)
Photo: John Bigelow Taylor

Diversity and Continuity

Chappals

Sandals are the archetypal footwear worn outdoors throughout much of the Indian subcontinent to protect the sole of the foot. Men, women and children of all classes living in rural and urban settings wear chappals, which consist of little more than a foot-shaped piece of leather with a toe strap or toe ring and a strap across the instep.

Traditional chappals are made of leather, and are sometimes held together with leather thongs instead of cotton thread.

Kolhapur, a city in Maharashtra State, has been famous for its leather sandals since the 14th century. Today Kolhapuri-style sandals are made all over India, and the name is used to identify a type of construction with ear-like projections of the sole to which the instep strap is attached.
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