Moccasin

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For other uses, see Moccasin (disambiguation).
Osage (Native American). Pair of Moccasins, early 20th century. Brooklyn Museum
A soft-soled moccasin

A moccasin is a shoe, made of deerskin or other soft leather, consisting of a sole and sides made of one piece of leather, stitched together at the top, and sometimes with a vamp (additional panel of leather). The sole is soft and flexible and the upper part often is adorned with embroidery or beading. Though sometimes worn inside, it is chiefly intended for outdoor use, as in exploring wildernesses and running. Historically, it is the footwear of many indigenous peoples of North America; moreover, hunters, traders, and European settlers wore them. Etymologically, the moccasin derives from the Algonquian language Powhatan word makasin (cognate to Massachusett mohkisson / mokussin, Ojibwa makizin, Mi'kmaq mksɨn),[1][2] and from the Proto-Algonquian word *maxkeseni (shoe).[3]

Design[edit]

Hopi Pueblo (Native American). Dancing Shoes, late 19th century. Brooklyn Museum
Beaded moccasins original to the estate of Chief Washakie, Wind River Reservation (Shoshone), Wyoming, c.1900
Crow moccasins, ca. 1940
Cheyenne moccasins
Kiowa moccasins
Shearers' moccasins on a wool rolling table, In the 1800s moccasins usually are part of a Canadian regalia, e.g. a powwow suit of clothes. The most common style is that of the Plains Indians moccasin.

Moccasins protect the foot while allowing the wearer to feel the ground. The Plains Indians wore hard-sole moccasins, given that their territorial geography featured rock and cacti. The eastern Indian tribes wore soft-sole moccasins, for walking in leaf-covered forest ground. Moccasins are usually all brown, the same color.

A traditional form of the moccasin shoe was most popularly worn in 18th century Britain. The "Daveth" Moccasin originated in the county of Shropshire (UK) and was adapted over a period of 130 years to eventually become a hard soled shoe traditionally used in farming communities.

Contemporary use[edit]

In New Zealand and Australia, sheep shearers' moccasins are constructed of a synthetic, cream-colored felt, with a back seam and gathered at the top of the rounded toe. These moccasins are laced in the front, and the lacing is covered with a flap fastened with a buckle at the shoe's outer side. The fastener arrangement prevents the shearer's handpiece comb from catching in the laces.[4] Shearers' moccasins protect the feet, grip wooden floors well, and absorb sweat.[5]

The word moccasin can also denote a shoe of deer leather adorned with laces; recently, the moccasin shoe has resurged as a popular form of slipper shoe for men.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.