THE BLOG
10/30/2014 03:17 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2014

#Made in India: Go Kolhapuri

We have a come long way since the invention of shoes, from walking barefoot until today. The journey of shoes is an interesting one.

There have been many quotes on shoes, and lessons that have come out from owning shoes. For example, "I used to complain for not having shoes, until I saw a man without feet." The gravity of the quote asks us to be grateful for all that we have. Another quote that comes to mind suggests, "Right shoes can help you conquer the world." I am sure Alexander the Great or Napoleon would definitely agree with this one. Still another states, anyone who "owns good shoes is not ugly." This quote doesn't connect well with me. It is like saying, having red bull gives you wings (fact #1: no, it doesn't), or angels fall because of the axe effect (fact #2: no, they don't).

These days' what kind of shoes you wear tells all. They speak your journey, your personality, where you come from and where you aspire to go. Today if you wear Adidas, Nike, Reebok or similar brands, you are tagged as a sporty person, someone who is always running on the treadmill, takes part in marathons, and pumps iron. Hushpuppies, Rieker, Sanita, Rockport, hint that you prefer comfort and style. Jimmy Choos, Prada, Chanel, Manolo Blahnik, and others give an impression that one is very glamorous, ultra rich and diva like. Wearing Toms Shoes or similar indicates that you care for a just world.

If Cinderella was a real person, I bet she would choose Nike to do household chores, Rieker for her office work, Tom shoes for fund raising events and probably Manolo Blahniks for extravagant, star studded parties that her prince would have arranged or she could skip it all by simply going Kolhapuri.

So, what is Kolhapuri?

Long before the rest of the world got on the bandwagon of eco-friendliness.
Kolhapuris' introduced the concept of environment friendliness and innovation in footwear.

Most Indian men/women own a pair of Kolhapuris. They are a must have, and have been a known figure in the history of Indian fashion. Kolhapuris were first worn in the 13th century, and over the years have been known as Kapashi, Paytaan, Kachkadi, Bakkalnali, and Pukari depending on the villages of Maharashtra where these were originally hand crafted.

The secret behind Kolhapuri elegance is the skill of the indigenous craftsmen. Each piece is considered as a work of art, and a great deal of time, energy and effort are spent on crafting out an exquisite piece that is comfortable, attractive and reasonably priced. The skillset is passed on from one generation to the other, mostly from father to son.

The Kolhapuris are comfortable, stylish and quite durable and are available in a variety of designs, patterns and colors. They can be easily used for any occasion, and can cater to a large genre of audience. Almost every age group can find something that may strike their fancy.

In addition, it is believed that these Kolhapuris are allergen free, and can bring good health to its owners. Specifically, Kolhapuri khas kapsi chappal may reduce heat of the body.

Possessing a pair of Kolhapuris can make you healthy, stylish, artistic, and ecofriendly. Like Cinderella, if you "Go Kolhapuri", you cannot go back. Not only will you help yourself but help in preserving this talent, the craftsmen of Kolhapur and their livelihood.

This article intends to spread awareness, and preserve the heritage and skill-set of Kolhapuri craftsmen. Hope you "Go Kolhapuri"!