What are Juttis?
Jutti (also known as nagra or mojari) are a type of traditional leather shoe popular in Pakistan and North India which originate from the Punjab region.
The word Jutti may also be spelt as Juti, Juthi or Jhutti. The word originates from the Urdu language and means a shoe which has a sole with a closed upper attached to it.
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Typical Jutti Design
Traditional Juttis usually have a “M” shaped front section which is called the Panna, this is decorated with colourful gold and silver thread which is embroided into the leather. The decoration is often inspired by the impressive architecture and vibrant plants and wildlife of the Punjab region.
Juttis usually have a flat sole and the shoes do not have different shapes for each foot but rather will take the shape of the foot over time. Men’s Juttis often have a curled end and some women’s Juttis will have an open back. They are a common shoe for everyday use however more elaborate version of the Jutti are worn for weddings and ceremonies.
History of the Jutti
Records exist of elaborate versions of the Jutti being worn as far back as the early 1600s by Indian royalty. These were heavily adorned with gold, silver, priceless gems, jewels and pearls.
Leather was regarded as being an impure commodity as it came from the bodies of animals. Those who handled the leather and crafted it into shoes were referred to as “untouchables” due to their contact with the impure. However because these elaborate shoes were created by those who were considered to be at the bottom of society it didnt take long for the Jutti to be simplified in order to meet the needs of regular people who quickly adopted it.
How are Juttis Made?
The process of making Juttis is fairly lengthy and is similar to the process used to make Kolhapuri Chappal. The process begins with the raw leather hide which is extensively processed to soften it before it is dyed using the tannin vegetable dye. The Tanning process helps the leather become much more durable and resistant and therefore far more suitable to be turned into footwear!
The leather is then coloured using a variety of different pigments depending on the desired colour. After this the leather is cut into the relevant parts and shapes ready to be stitched together as a Jutti.
Traditionally the leather is shaped, cut and assembled by the men and the decoration of the Jutti is done by the women. Ornate designs will be stencilled, traced, cut, weaved and stitched into the leather to complete the Jutti.
Why are Juttis so Popular?
Juttis have been a popular choice of footwear for millions of Indian and Pakistani people for years and it’s no surprise that they have such an enduring appeal when you consider how versatile and affordable they are.
Weighing little more than a beach flip-flop and often being equipped with a sturdy sole they will last a long time without making your feet feel like they’re encased in a sweaty foot tomb!
One of the great strengths of Juttis is that the basic structure of the shoe is very simple meaning that what really sets a pair of Juttis apart is the way they are decorated. You can find so many different styles, patterns and colours of Juttis that you are certain to find a pair that will go with any outfit from simple jeans and t-shirt to a beautiful Saree, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Juttis!