a slip on, slip off kinda’ lover

The relaxed shoe style that we have come to know and recognise as a Moccasin today, is in fact an international evolution of a once predominantly practical and somewhat self defining item of footwear. Although the name Moccasin has come to include an amalgamation of varied shoe styles and constructions, each shares a common history and direct link back to the hand-sewn, deer-hide footwear from Northern America, and the indigenous tribes who pioneered the design. The name itself originates from the Powhatan people, who were Algonquian-speaking American Indians that came into contact with white settlers. The term subsequently stuck because it was the first word heard and thus used by white settlers when referring to the soft leather, soft sole traditional shoe designs with the puckered toe.

TALKING ABOUT TRADITIONAL

Authentically made Moccasins are crafted from deer-hide (or alternative soft leather), and attached to a typically flexible, leather sole. The hallmark quality of the original shoe construction is the gathered toe, which results in the iconic U shape on the front of the shoe. This puckered U formation meant that the turned up toe was always protected from rough, uneven terrain. Norther American tribes and tribesmen had their own unique Algonquin moccasins – with variations in seams, soles and construction techniques depending on the terrain and climate that the tribe inhabited.

along came the loafer

In 1936, G.H Bass launched his Weejun shoe in America, which society favoured instantly over the stricter, tighter, more formal dress shoes of the day. Owing to it’s relaxed nature and easy slip-on-slip-off style, the Penny Loafer – as it became known – rose rapidly in popularity, even as a formal item of footwear. In fact, the below ankle cut was favoured and flaunted amongst high society, with the leisurely, laid back style aligning itself alongside high end fashion and premium lifestyles.

In calling his shoe Weejun, Bass was hinting at the Norwegian influence and origin of his Loafer – suggesting a direct design link to the classic Tese shoe used by Norwegian fisherman back in the 1800’s. However, his attempt to forge a connection between his shoes and Scandinavian sentiments was largely ruled out because the Tese style itself was inspired by classic Iroquois design.

family expansion

The influence of the ever-practical Moccasin didn’t stop there. The iconic  Boating Shoe, designed for those sporting the occasional yacht, or perhaps doing deck work, is easily connected back to the indigenous designs of the Norther American tribes. However, these are iconically crafted with a very particular sole which ensures a good grip on wet surfaces. Another noticeable feature, which our own Halberd’s incorporate, is the 360-degree throat lacing – i.e., the lace that is threaded around the entirety of the shoe, in turn ensuring a firmer grip and fit.

Owing to the ease with which the Moccasin style bridges the gap between luxury and leisure, the style has remained a popular choice for the wardrobe of the elite, yet, in contemporary times it’s accepted and adorned in far more casual contexts as well.

legion Moccasin Shoes

R949.00
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SOPHISTICATED SIMPLICITY

 

The Legion Moccasin is an all seasons kind of shoe, paired quite happily with shorts for Summer or Chinos in Winter. The low cut brings a fresh sense of luxury to leisure, and is a timeless style worth anyone’s wardrobe.

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