Written by: Gregg Hall
Written by: Gregg Hall
The name, "moccasin" goes back to the early 1600s and came from a Virginia Algonquian Native American language. Moccasins are shoes that are made from soft leather; often deer hide and were the first shoes for Native Americans, traders, and settlers. Moccasins very soft and are also a lot quieter then most of the shoes out there today and they also have good traction so you won't slip.
When the shoe was first made the different tribes would paint on the shoes depending on what they did. The most common things to put on them were shells and beads. A lot of tribes liked to wear these shoes. A tribe who wore these shoes could often be known by the coloration on the footwear. All the Indians of different tribes across North America liked different types of shoes, some liked thin others liked long and pointy and many liked to decorate their moccasins with bright beads.
The appearance of the shoe was different from tribe to tribe. For instance a lot of tribes had certain types of moccasins that they would wear on occasions. Shoes worn for hunting were just very simple just a piece of leather across the top of the foot and around the heel.
The shoes fall into two different categories either hard sole soft sole.
Hard-sole were generally made up of three or four pieces of leather skin to make a nice shoe. Hard-soled moccasins were very protective over ones feet as they would normally be walking over rough terrain. The Apache tribe only had a two piece shoe. The soft-soled variety was made from just one piece of leather. The shoe was made just to cover the foot easily. Soft-soled moccasins were popular with the Plains tribes as well as the tribes of the Pacific Northwest.
The soft-soled shoes that came from the northwest were still a single piece of leather also and just wrapped around the foot and were sewed to meet the foot. There were a lot of different kinds of shoes but only a few really worked. A lot of the northern tribes covered the foot so nothing cut penetrate it. It was only other eastern tribes that made the vamp a little bit smaller than what other tribes wore.
The way the shoe stands out more than others is the way that it was made. These shoes were made inside out and were made without a permanent form. The bottom seams were turned in toward the foot to prevent them from ripping. The seams are then trimmed then there a soft pieces of lamb's wool padding that line the shoe. This is thought to be the first true shoe to be worn in North America and even today moccasins are very popular with everyone due to their extreme comfort.
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