Pakistani khussa, the colorful footwear from Pakistan


Made with high-quality leather, crafted often manually, and embellished with intricate patterns, these Khussas make a brilliant choice for both men and women. The shoemakers in the business add more glamour to this footwear by adding beads, golden and cotton threads, and much more. For this reason, this footwear is worn on all occasions across the country. It is equally admired by the guests from across the border.

What is a Khussa?

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Khussas are traditional Pakistani footwear that has been around for centuries. Often made from leather, they are soft to wear. Khussas typically have a pointed toe and are decorated with intricate stitching. They are usually slip-on shoes, but some styles also have a strap or lace that helps to keep them in place. Today, khussas are worn by men and women as part of a traditional dress. They are also popular among Pakistanis living abroad, who wear them to connect with their heritage. Whether you’re looking for something to wear to a formal event or just want a comfortable pair of shoes to walk around in, khussas are a great option.

How are the Khussas crafted?

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Khussa shoes are made with vegetable-tanned leather and brass nails. It is added with cowry shells, mirror bells, or ceramic beads. The upper is embroidered and embellished with adornments such as bright threads, beads, and much more. The upper and the sole are then bonded together with strong cotton threads that keep the shoe in shape and last long. The shoemaker ensures he can maintain flexibility for comfort when worn even for long hours.

The History of Khussas

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A wooden sandal, possibly from as early as 200 BC, is said to be one of the earliest instances of footwear used on the Indian subcontinent. During the Buddhist period (3rd–4th centuries CE), strapped sandals were widely worn; even Indian monarchs adorned theirs with priceless jewels. Leather shoes were commonly used to prevent injury to the feet, as documented in Jain literature. Various domestic and wild animal hides were used.

The Mughal emperor Jahangir adopted the more ornate form in the 17th century. This khussa was crafted from the finest leather, set with genuine stones, and exquisitely embroidered with gold and silver threads. The area was dubbed after Jahangir’s nickname, Saleem Shahi. The khussa were created by Nur Jahan, the emperor’s adoring wife; she gave them the name Saleem Shahi. It was immediately linked with prominent society figures like rajas and nawabs. After the invention of synthetic thread, clothing became widely accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Miniature paintings often include Ranjeet and Sher Singh, two prominent Sikh leaders, both of whom wore khusas. Jodhpuri khussa was the style of khussa most popular among Sikhs. Hoshiarpur, a district in the Punjab state, is also the inspiration for a feminine style that is typically worn above the ankle and has a lower top that just covers the toes.

Khussas for women

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Slip-on khussa, as their name implies, is a slipper-inspired style of khussa. When putting on a pair of slip-on khussa, there’s no need to bend over and fiddle with the shoes back to ensure they fit properly. A wide variety of colors and embroidered designs are available for slip-on khussa shoes. Most commonly associated with this category is multicolored thread work or beaded khussa.

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The back-closed Khussa for women is the most popular option. Since the back is closed, this makes a great fit. Walking can be difficult in khussa if they are the wrong size. The leather stretches slightly to conform to the foot but can’t make huge adjustments. Beads, sequins, threadwork, and tilla designs adorn this category of khussa. Heavy materials like dabka, mirrors, and diamantes are now being used by the employees.

Khussas from men

The most common colors for men’s khussas are black, brown and golden. These shoes come in various styles with or without pointed fronts that give them an upwards turn-up at the end like something you would see on a king! Pointed tip khussas were traditionally used by royalty. Today the style matches the men with a royal attitude. These khussas are specially worn during weddings where grooms love showing off their fineries .

Sandal-inspired khussas are another popular choice among men. These decorated and embellished sandals make a great choice for summers.


The multicolored khussas make great footwear for everyone. It is just the right choice you may love to wear to an event. If you have fallen in love with the colors and designs, it’s time to visit Pakistan and get one for your feet.

Photo Credit Pinterest

By Nudrat Fatima 

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