Handmade footwear: ‘Khusas’ still define luxury for the wealthy

Leather shoes may cost as high as Rs12,000 to make with customers willing to pay Rs20,000


Rana Almas Hanif March 08, 2020
PHOTOS: EXPRESS

KOT MOMIN: If you are traveling on a highway or motorway during spring season and come across the fragrance of chambeli flowers, then it is certain that you have entered the area of Kot Momin tehsil.

Kot Momin is famous for orchards of kinnows but it is not just its kinnows or chambeli grown the same orchards that the tehsil is known for. Kot Momin’s handmade footwear are equally, if not more, popular in the country.

This footwear are referred to as khusas, which are made with local leather by artisans in the region.

Although the rare footwear originate from the area of Talagang tehsil, Chakwal, but now the handmade khusas are being made by Kot Momin’s workers whose products are preferred all over the country and also abroad.

After the establishment of the country, Manzoor Ahmed, the member of a ‘cobbler family’, entered the business of mending shoes after training with experienced, elderly cobblers  in his extended family. He later started his shoe manufacturing business.

At first, he had 50 to 60 craftsmen who also came from the areas of Chakwal and Muzaffargarh. However, due to inflation and an overall lack of demand for locally made khusas, the number of craftsmen has significantly reduced to eight.

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One of the younger brothers of Ahmed told The Express Tribune that one leather khusa is manufactured at a cost of Rs2,500 and the cost may go as high as Rs12,000. “And there are wealthy families in the country who are willing to pay us an amount as high as Rs20,000.” He further said that the younger generation does not like their manufactured desi khusas anymore, which contributes to the overall fall in demand.

He pointed out that for a pair of khusas, it takes four to five days of strenuous work for the final product to be ready.

He remarked that two of his sons are not doing the shoe repairing work. “Only one of my sons has entered the business to work with me.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2020.

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