Jutti Shoes

The Jutti shoe, also known as the Punjabi Jutti, is a style of footwear in Northern India and the regions surrounding it. Generally jutti’s are made of leather, real gold or silver thread and embroidery, as a representation of Indian royalty dating back 400 years ago.

Jutti Shoes on display at the Bata Shoes Museum
A pair of jutti shoes on display at the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada © User:Daderot / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

Jutti’s are identified by their flat sole that does not differentiate between the left or right foot, as well as a pointed toe. Oftentimes, the jutti is made from the hide of cows, buffalo or camels and are decorated with silk, cotton or gold embroidery. Many regions in India have specific features and names of the type of jutti they wear, such as the curled toe Salim Shahi which was named after a Mogul prince.

History of Jutti Shoes

The jutti originated from a classic Indian shoe called the mojari, which was worn by the wealthiest individuals of the early 1600s. Juttis were first introduced in India by the Mughals and became extremely popular amongst the royals.

Characteristics of Jutti’s

  • Pointed Toe
  • Flat, straight sole
  • No difference between left and right foot
  • Made of cow, camel or buffalo hide
  • Embroidered

Who Wore Jutti’s?

Juttis were generally worn by the wealthiest, highest class citizens in India. Overtime, Jutti’s became much more readily available to the public and are now worn all over India.

How are they made?

Jutti’s are a very tedious shoe to make and need several people to construct one pair. The “chamars” process the raw hide, “rangaars” color and dye the hydes and “mochis” assemble all the pieces, finalizing the product.

The process begins at a tannery where the raw hides are processed using a vegetable tanning method which will give the shoe its strong, wearable and water resistant qualities. The shoe is then given its coloring by the mixture of powder pigment and water. The processed leather is then cut into shapes that will soon be the jutti.

Jutti Shoes featuring outsole detailing
Jutti shoes featuring outsole detailing on display at the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada © User:Daderot / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

Types of Jutti’s

Jutti’s come in an array of styles and colors depending on the region you are in. The modern day jutti is used as an expression of Indian heritage and history. Although jutti’s are a traditional shoe, modern day flair can be added.

Tilla

Tilla’s come from the town of Fazilka and embroidered with gold and silver thread, as well as paper checks cut out by check artists.

Basic Check Design

In the towns of Mukstar and Malaut, basic check designs are traced and embroidered with stencils, which are then pasted on the leather. This simpler process is done to meet the high demands these particular jutti’s have.

How Do You Take Care of Jutti’s?

Best Juti Center has a good resource for care and handling of juttis, but here’s a summary below:

Quick Tips

  • Try to avoid wearing them in rain or on wet surface for a longer life
  • Do not polish
  • Do not machine was
  • Do not tumble dry
  • Wipe clean only

Storing

Wrap each shoe in muslin cloth. This specific type of fabric is softer and breathable in comparison to other fabrics. It will not damage any embroidery your jutti might have.

Breaking Them In

Mustard oil should be used prior to your first use as it can help with the avoidance of blisters.

Drying

In the case of your jutti getting wet, dry them in the sun for the best results. Due to the fact that they are leather, drying them in a machine can cause damage.

Cleaning

Use a thin cloth or a small brush to clean your jutti. Using a toothbrush that has been dipped in mild soap and water could also work if done carefully. Jutti’s that have a lot of embroidery should be dry cleaned to avoid impairment.

shares