Throughout history, moccasins were needed to protect man’s feet from frigid harsh climates and without the use of the moccasin for protective gear, man’s feet could very easily have frozen.
The type of and style of leather footwear needed for cold climates would have been likely to be much more like a boot; however, in warmer weather with a mild climate, protective footwear would not be as necessary and a person could easily go barefoot should they want to; and this is where the style of a moccasin would be much more like a slipper.
However, moccasin slippers were less likely to be used in a desert area where sharp cactus and often tough grass are found all around and an occasional patch of rocks not smoothed down by time and water.
As people in woodland areas with only leaves and soft organic matter like pine tree needles walked along, they probably found a soft sole shoe to be quite comfortable. A lot of these moccasins were crafted from well-tanned and quite soft hides of many types of animals.
Hides from buffalo, deer, elk, and moose were frequently used for soft-soled slippers but hides from the larger breeds of animals were used for longer-lasting moccasins because they were much thicker.
Thicker and heavier-duty boots, not at all like soft moccasins were known in the frigid north of Alaska as mukluks. These were made of a combination of sealskin, fur, and reindeer hide. This setup a fashion or style to copy by others through trade and a new moccasin was born that used caribou or buckskin instead.
The soft slipper moccasins in some cases had been altered for added durability by using rawhide that was hardened and then used for the sole. Variations on the lining for cool weather would have been fur from rabbits and in later times even sheepskin for more warmth.
The Moccasin has passed down through history and stood the test of time. To this day, there are many popular slippers made of leather available for sale and being worn by many modern Native Americans today as well. The moccasin slipper is available commercially because mass production of suede and split leather is still suitable for making moccasins.
Don’t let the fact that moccasin slippers have passed into the mainstream and are commonly being produced by hundreds of shoe stores keep you from buying a moccasin slipper shoe. They still have the character of days gone by the wayside. The hard-soled moccasin shoes and soft-soled moccasin slippers can be found at many locations in many styles and qualities. You can even buy a hand-crafted moccasin slipper from a Native American tribe.
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