Synonymous with both style and Indian flavor, mojiris are handmade leather footwear worn by women and men. Similar to the Punjabi jutti, tanned leather was traditionally handcrafted into closed shoes with slightly curling ends and embellishments. No one pair is unique among handcrafted pairs of these beauties. Today we are treated to designs that have been handed down by generations of artisans, so these ethnic moccasins are a timeless fashion statement.

What sets these soles apart?

What sets these north-Indian beauties apart from other footwear is the embellishment. Golden thread, mirrorwork, sequins, beads, even bells, are used to enhance these Indian moccasins. Mojiris are also distinguished from other footwear by the similarity of both the left and the right shoes – even now it can be difficult to tell them apart.

Who wore them?

Made famous by the Persian-influenced Mughal rulers, mojiris were then adopted by the richer classes of ancient Indian society including Hindu maharajahs, maharanis, zamindars and jagirdars (landowners). However, some historical accounts reveal that prior to the introduction of mojiris, most of India went barefoot! Mojiris are still worn in India, by everyone – from the boy next door to fashion bloggers and movie stars.

What you can wear your mojiris with?

Whilst mojiris are mostly worn with ethnic apparel such as saris, lehengas, salwar suits, kurta-pyjamas, dhotis and on festive occasions, it’s perfectly acceptable to mix it up a bit, sartorially speaking! Try wearing your boyfriend jeans with a plain red kurta and mojiris to college. You could team a white dress with a mirrorwork vest and your favourite mojiris to channel your inner bohemian.

Where you can buy them

The best place to pick up a pair of mojiris is at your city’s local bazaar. If you prefer to shop online, then there is also a plethora of options available there. We recommend the designer options from Delhi-based label Needle Dust for women and kids. We also like the mojiris available on the Fab India website for the entire family as well as the fun Punjabi-style juttis from Juttigram.

Shopaholic’s advice

Given how much bling there usually is on a pair of mojiris, it is wise to team solid colors and avoid prints so you don’t end up looking like a bewildered bride. Both mojiris and juttis can be a trifle narrow so if you have wider feet then it would be ideal if you had your fancy footwear custom-made by an expert artisan. And if ever you want to indulge in a pair for your fabulous feet, just remember that you are supporting an artisan and contributing to the arts with your purchase!

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Shibi Kumaramangalam
Shibi, like the song in ‘West Side Story’, is oh so pretty, witty and bright! Modest too, but we can discuss that later. A Chennai native (34) who now dwells in the capital, there is nothing she loves more than a good story. Except for a good handbag. A self-professed shopaholic with impeccable taste, the young women’s rights lawyer and mother was ‘discovered’ by an Indian Express editor in Chennai at a famous boutique eight years ago and she has not looked back since. Fashion writing allows her to combine her two greatest loves and Shibi has been published in The Hindu, the Indian Express, Femina, Scroll, Bodahub, Hi-Blitz Magazine and many more. A militant optimist, Shibi abhors armchair activism and suggests that everyone ‘Be the Change’ instead of complaining about Modiji. Or run for POTUS – anybody seems better qualified than Trump. She also loves animals and has orchestrated many a doggy/kitty rescue; her most fervent hope is to see the status and treatment of both animals and women improve in India and the world over. Also, she requests you to RECYCLE and to REUSE. Climate change is real, people. Jai Hind!