The emergence of Indian fashion as a major trend in international circles also increased the popularity of a variety of Indian footwear. Indian textiles, clothing styles and accessories have percolated much beyond the geographical boundaries of the Indian subcontinent; today Indian fashion trends have a world-wide reach.
This also extends to the all the different types of Indian shoes. This global fascination with Indian styles has given the Indian footwear industry a boost and led to a renewed interest in ethnic footwear amongst Indian men and women.
What sets the footwear industry in India apart is the use of various ethnic patterns, designs, techniques, embroideries and embellishments to make the shoe more beautiful. They can be majorly of two types: either western style sandals or slippers decorated with ethnic embellishments or specially crafted Indian shoes with a unique shape and design not seen anywhere else.
Variety of Women’s Ethnic Footwear
The latter category includes beloved items like the mojari, juti, kolhapuri chappals, phulla, mocha and much more. These are traditional favorites which were, for many years, only produced in a particular region by skilled craftsmen who had inherited the trade from their ancestors; nowadays. However, mechanization has been introduced along with a lot of western fashion influences. This means that there are many more varieties available and these are accessible to customers around the world.
In India there is specific footwear for women as well as men. Ladies footwear includes jutis, slippers and sandals. These can be plain, embroidered, embellished and come with a close toe or open-toe design. Thus you will probably be able to find appropriate Indian ethnic shoes for any occasion, be it a casual shopping day, a party, a festival or a wedding.
Some of the popular variations in sandal designs include the v-shape, the toe ring, heels, wedge heels and flats. The v-shape sandals have a v-shape strap and are considered quite comfortable. This also goes for flats, which basically eschew the heel and are hence perfect for days when a lot of walking is involved.
Heels and wedges are generally the more fancy shoes which are worn with sarees and lehenga cholis. Toe ring shoes, on the other hand, can be worn for a variety of occasions. With the single ring for the toe incorporated into the strap, these shoes are quite funky and have a unique look.
Indian ethnic footwear for women typically incorporates a lot of colors and embellishments in distinctive Indian motifs. A more simple juti might just have colorful shades and a few rhinestones or stones, while a party wear sandal will display Dabka work, glitter work, bead work, Dori embroidery, gota patti, Resham embroidery, Zari work and various Indian prints. The straps may be encrusted with glorious designs of peacocks, flowers, fruits or animals constructed using stones and beads. All of this combines to give the shoe a glamorous ethnic look.
In Indian men’s footwear the most important place is occupied by the mojari, which is typically worn for festivals, weddings and ceremonies though the simpler varieties can also be worn on a day to day basis. They are also made for women though they are then termed ‘jutis’ rather than mojaris. Distinguished by the flat leather stoles and the close-toe, pointed design, the most authentic, hand-crafted versions are made of leather though cheaper, faux leather versions are also available.
With the influx of modern designs, nowadays you’ll also find mojaris made of silk and velvet as well. They come in a range of colors, from subtle shades like beige, cream, white, black and grey to vibrant reds, blues, greens and purples.
Embroidered designs of vines, fruits and leaves may be used to make these shoes look more festive, with Resham designs being the most popular. The most luxurious looking items will come with gold or silver thread work, stone or sequins designs as well as various other Indian decorations made of cowry shells, mirrors, beads and rhinestones.
Trends in Ethnic Foot Wear
Indian slippers match the best with Indian outfits, though they can also be worn with indo-western looks for a cool ethnic effect. For men, richly decorated mojaris should be worn with sherwanis for weddings, festivals and ceremonies, while the plainer varieties will pair well with casual kurta-pajama combinations.
Women often prefer to wear embellished and embroidered heels sandals with sarees and lehenga cholis since the fall of these outfits demand shoes which provide a little height. Flat sandals with elaborate designs can be worn with salwar kameez as well as kurtas and indo western tunics.
The designs on the footwear can easily be matched with the designs on the outfit. In women’s ethnic fashion, the toe-ring slippers are the trendiest casual variety especially when worn with patialas or palazzo pants.