Native American Handmade Moccasins
Native American tribes historically took great pride in their handmade moccasins. It was a tribal tradition. These foot coverings had spiritual significance while providing protection for their feet. According to tribal stories, if the squaws did not make moccasins that year then the Indian braves could not go to war. Today, Native Americans still take great pride in making their traditional moccasins styled according to their tribal custom.
Individuals with an appreciation for the craft and style also make moccasins in the same unique way. They are sold in many venues around America and are available at tribal trading posts or at special events like powwows. The fashions are as diverse as the tribes.
General themes exist in the style of handmade moccasins. The common material used is leather which is cut and hand sewn making a thick sole with an upper part that is usually beaded in an artistic design. Other animal skins are used such as deer skins, sheep, buffalo, cow and elk hides. Leather provides the durability necessary in this type of footwear while it gives comfort and flexibility. According to moccasin makers, leather forms to the foot better than other materials for a more natural fit. Colors vary from brown to gray to dark brown, white or red.
Handmade moccasins are crafted especially to fit the individual foot so they are a custom item. Usually, the moccasin craftsperson will trace a person's foot for an exact fit in size and form. Boot moccasins are recommended for hiking and rough terrain due to their rugged nature and leg protection.
There are specialty shops around the country that sell handmade moccasins. Some offer special mail orders or walk in service. Often you will find displays of moccasins at powwows or mountain man rendezvous. Special vendor events offer another opportunity to find them made by many artists and crafts persons. Common vendor events are the flea markets or craft shows. Other possible retail outlets for the sale of moccasins are gem and rock shows. Renaissance fairs, historical re-enactments, Pirate festivals and black powder events are other places to find handmade moccasins vendors. Moccasins also thrive today as a unique cultural tradition that has endured generations.
- Arctic Region
- Subarctic Region
- California Region
- Northeast Woodlands Region
- Great Basin Region
- Plateau Region
- Northwest Coast Region
- Plains Region
- Southeast Region
- Southwest Region
- Alpha Tribal Listing
- State Tribal Listing