What are Moccasins? (Plus 3 Ways To Wear Them)
Posted on March 01 2020
Moccasins have been around for centuries, but this season, they’re emerging as one of the hottest shoe trends. Find out what moccasins are with Yogi Footwear and some tips on how to wear them.
What are Moccasins?
Moccasins are a type of shoe without a heel and made from leather. Traditionally, they didn’t have any sole and instead were made from one single piece of material. It formed a wrap-like shape around the foot coming together with a seam at the top. Today, most moccasins do have a sole to make them more comfortable and practical, but they still feature bold seam lines in the design and don’t have a heel.
It’s common for moccasins to be decorated with tassels, beading or sometimes embroidery. Part of this is due to the history of the moccasin and the way they were worn in Native America.
Features of Moccasins
Moccasins today come in a wide variety of styles. They commonly feature:
- No heel - While most moccasins now have a separate sole, moccasins don’t feature a defined heel.
- Distinct seam - Moccasins usually have a u-shaped seam in the shoe. Sometimes the seam will be a different shape, but it’s always a particularly noticeable feature of the moccasin style.
- Loose fit - Moccasins tend to have a looser fit than other styles of shoe, making them more comfortable and often a better choice for spring and summer.
Moccasins vs loafers
How do moccasins compare to other styles of shoe such as loafers and espadrilles? This is a really good question as they do look incredibly similar but here's the science bit...
Loafers and moccasins are very similar. In modern fashion, they are sometimes used interchangeably, however, they are not the same.
Historically, loafers and moccasins come from very different places. Moccasins originated in Asia and Native America, while loafers came from Scandinavia. Fishermen would fasten two pieces of leather together with a strip across the middle to create a comfortable and supportive shoe (a loafer) for when they were working. In Native America, moccasins were created from a single piece of leather that was joined at the top.
Another key difference is that loafers can feature a heel, while moccasins are always heeless.
Both loafers and moccasins can be made from the same material, such as suede or nubuck leather.
Espadrilles are, again, very similar to moccasins. However, espadrilles are often made from canvas material, rather than leather, and they are usually made from two or more pieces of material. They feature a ‘rope’ sole, rather than rubber or crepe.
Are moccasins slippers?
Moccasins are often assumed to be slippers. However, while slippers can come in moccasin styles, moccasins aren’t always for indoor use; they can be formal or casual footwear - for outdoors or in.
Moccasins have been a popular shoe for wearing while driving as they are comfortable and secure. Because of their popularity, a driving moccasin, or a ‘driving moc’ was designed. These have the same style as normal moccasins, but also feature a different kind of sole with bumps that provide extra grip.
History of Moccasins
Moccasins have been around for centuries. They are thought to have first arrived in America from Asia, around 30,000 years ago. They were adopted by Native Americans as a practical and comfortable form of footwear.
Different styles of moccasins were developed according to the different tribes and the areas in which they lived - different climates and environments required different kinds of footwear. During this time, it was possible to identify members of different tribes by their shoes as each tribe had developed their own unique style. Some tribes were even named after the kinds of shoes they wore.
The word ‘moccasin’ comes from the language Powhatan, which is distinct to the Algonquian people. This was the name that stuck because it was this tribe that had the first contact with white settlers. In Powhatan, the word ‘makasin’ simply refers to a shoe.
Chef Jackson Boxer wears Yogi Footwear's Caden
What To Wear With Moccasins
Moccasins are so popular partly due to their versatility. They can be worn with loads of different outfits and look great. Here are three ideas on what to wear with moccasins to look fantastic this season.
Remember to consider the colour of your moccasins and how they match with your outfit. Our moccasins are available in a wide range of different colours. Different shades of brown are most common because this is the most popular colour of suede and nubuck leather, but they can be found in black, olive green, white, pink and blue. From more summer-style moccasins to boots, there’s a style for every outfit and season.
1. Shorts or skirts
Moccasins are great for the spring and summer. Because they’re more loose fitting than other varieties of shoe, they help you to stay cool in warmer weather. It means they are ideal for pairing with shorts or skirts for a casual and practical look.
2. Coloured skinny jeans
Moccasins also look great paired with coloured skinny jeans. Coloured skinny jeans accentuate the casual side of moccasin style to create a relaxed and stylish look in the spring or Autumn.
Because these shoes come in so many different colours, there’s always a pair to match your favourite burgundy, red, green or blue jeans. Be sure to get the combination right though to avoid any colour clashing!
3. Formal dresses or suits
Moccasins don’t have to be casual. You can pair them with a favourite dress or with a smart shirt for a smart-casual look that combines classy with comfortable. They help you to create a smart and confident aesthetic.
Ready to get a pair for yourself? Yogi Footwear have a huge collection of moccasins for men and women which you can shop here:
Shop moccasins for men.
Shop moccasins for women.