Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Moccasin

Michael Toschi Women's Lisa Haircalf Ballet Moccasin

The moccasin is a slip-on style with visible stitching, often with a soft bottom, sewn from tanned leather.  Today, the moccasin is available to both men and women in more contemporary styles.  I think these Michael Toschi Women’s Lisa Haircalf Ballet Moccasins are darling, but then again I do have a weakness for leopard print!

The moccasin originates from Native Americans.  Although Native American apparel varied from tribe to tribe, the moccasin was one universal element.  All American Indian moccasins were originally made of soft leather stitched together with sinew.  The word “moccasin” comes from an Algonquian word, but that is only because Algonquians were the first Indians encountered by Europeans.  Most Indian tribes have their own native word for moccasins.

Though the basic construction of Native American moccasins was similar throughout North America, moccasin patterns were subtly different in nearly every tribe, and Indian people could often tell each other’s tribal affiliation simply from the design of their shoes. (In fact, the common names of some large nations like the Blackfoot and the Chippewas refer to their characteristic moccasin styles.) Tribal differences included not only the cut of the moccasins but also the extensive beadwork, quillwork, and painted designs many Indian people lavished on their shoes. In some tribes hardened rawhide was used for the sole for added durability, and in others rabbit fur (or, later, sheepskin) was used to line the leather moccasins for added warmth.

Plains Indian women also wore moccasin boots sometimes, which were basically just women’s thigh-length leggings sewn to their moccasins for a one-piece look. Heavy-duty boots called mukluks were the invention of the Inuit (Eskimos), who made them of sealskin, fur, and reindeer hide; some sub arctic Indian tribes adapted the mukluk style through trade or other contact with the Inuit, using caribou or buckskin instead.

information from Marieshoes.com

Check out previous Words of the Week, and read the shoe glossary for more footwear lingo!

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