Khapusas were heavy boots that covered the knees. Made to protect the wearer from snow, snakes, stones, and the cold, khapusas were worn in northern India, especially in the Himalayan Mountains, from the first century C.E.
Boots are thought to have been brought to India by foreigners. Boots were a common foot covering of early invaders from central Asia, including the Moguls, Afghans, and Persians. The ancient Indian rulers of the Kushan Empire, which flourished in what is now Pakistan, Afghanistan, and northwest India from about 50 to the mid-second century C.E. were among the first to bring khapusas to India. Many depictions and statues of foreigners in India show them wearing heavy boots. No early examples of khapusas remain, but recovered paintings and sculptural artifacts suggest that the boots were made of heavy leather, sometimes decorated with patterns.
Boots were practical for those living in the cold mountains of northern India, but most Indians went barefoot when weather permitted. Other than mountain dwellers, the only other people to regularly wear boots were horsemen and soldiers.
Jain-Neubauer, Jutta. Feet and Footwear in Indian Culture. Toronto, Canada: Bata Shoe Museum, 2000.