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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, et cetera. Historically, it is the footwear of many Native American tribes; 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 m'kusun), and from the Proto-Algonquian word *maxkeseni (shoe).


Moccasins protect the foot whilst 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.

Contemporary use

Today, moccasins usually are part of a Native American regalia, e.g. a powwow suit of clothes. The most common style is that of the Plains Indian moccasin. In New Zealandmarker and Australia sheep shearer' moccasins are constructed of a synthetic, cream-coloured 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. Shearers' moccasins protect the feet, grip wooden floors well, and absorb sweat.

The word moccasin might also denote a shoe of deer or of faux leather adorned with laces; recently, the moccasin shoe has resurged as a popular form slipper shoe for men.

See also


  1. moccasin: definition, usage and pronunciation -
  2. Online Etymology Dictionary
  3. moccasin - Definitions from
  4. 97/311/1 Shearing moccasins (pair), mens, synthetic felt, Australia, 1997 - Powerhouse Museum Collection, Retrieved on 10 November 2008
  5. Sheep parasites Retrieved on 10 November 2008

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