Mojaris or khussa shoes are distinctive South Asian foot wear produced mainly in North India. These were the chosen shoes of royalty for many generations and those exclusive versions were stitched using real gold and silver and precious gems. Over time, a more affordable version for the use of common people was developed, typically plain and unadorned, though still made of good quality leather.
This was because the main function of the shoe was to provide insulation against the extreme temperatures prevalent in North India and only good leather could ensure that. Nowadays there are low-cost versions of both the fancy and plain varieties of mojari shoes, made with ethnic substitutes like cowry shells, beads and bells.
Comfortable ethnic footwear
In the last few decades, this unique Indian footwear has come into prominence not just in India but internationally as well and the artisanal craftsmen and shoe-makers in the khussa industry are enjoying the benefits of a wider customer base for their creations. In consequence they have started incorporating more modern techniques and designs into the khussa shoes albeit without giving up on the distinctive regional variations in design, motifs and patterns that make them unique.
One of the major attractions of khussa shoes is comfort. The flat sole and well fitting cut ensures that they leave no blisters and shoe bites. In fact plain mojaris in simple colors like beige, tan, black and white can be worn on a daily basis by men, not just with ethnic outfits but with western clothes as well.
Mojaris for men & women
These artisans make khussa that both men and women can wear. There are certain common features for both, such as the use of leather which is a must for mojaris and the closed-toe design, either rounded or pointed. The upper leather piece is sewed together with the sole using strong cotton threads that may or may not be colored. This gives the shoes an ethnic look and moreover, is eco-friendly as well.
There are a few design and pattern differences between the ladies’ khussa and men’s khussa. The former often have a softer, rounded shape with a burst of color and intricate designs while the latter are typically square-ish or with an extended and curled tip. This last style is exclusively used in men’s khussa shoes. They are typically more sober, with restrained colors and simple though bold designs.
However when it comes to daily wear khassa shoes, women prefer more colorful options that they can pair up with different outfits. Khussa designs can be made using cutout motifs, embroidered patterns, weaves in a second layer of fabric, appliqué as well as artificial gold and silver coated threads. The motifs can vary from nature-inspired stylized animals, fruits, flowers, leaves, trees and scenery to more artistic swirls and circles.
They can be studded with beads, bells, stones, and crystals, though the most high-end expensive varieties also include semi-precious gems. Since mojaris are produced in different parts of South Asia, each region has a distinct style and design range to offer, which means that there are many authentic and unique patterns to choose from. A Rajasthani mojari will differ from those produced in Pakistan or Punjab and even within Rajasthan the designs vary from region to region.
Mojaris for Men (source:utsavfashion.com)
These fabulous ethnic shoes come in so many varieties and colors that they can fit in with different wardrobes and fashion sensibilities. The fact that they are made of supple, soft leather only adds to their authenticity and appeal; however, one must purchase from a reliable retailer like a khussa mahal shop or from online stores that deal directly with the source.
For instance when getting a zari khussa, mehal emporiums as well as dependable online stores would be the best bet as these are likely to offer authentic items at fair prices. The latter can especially be valuable as they provide the chance to get ethnic shoes to those who stay far from the source or lack the time to seek them out.
Mojaris for traditional look
The first choice of outfits to wear with khussa shoes would be ethnic clothes. Plain and simple shoe styles will match well with casual cotton kurtas and pajamas, for men as well as women. On the other hand, women can pick a brightly colored pair of mojaris to jazz up a plain kurta or kurta-patiala outfit. A popular style is to match the shoe designs (whether zari, Resham, cut beads etc.) with the design on the outfit; thus an ornate pair of shoes can be worn with a similarly ornate salwar kameez with matching designs.
However, certain casual western tops like tunics and indo western pants like harem pants and palazzo pants will also go well with mojaris.