For thousands of years the
main way for the Plains people to get around was by foot. They made
comfortable and durable (long-lasting) shoes called moccasins out of
animal hides. Most of the time the moccasins had a hard sole
(bottom) and a soft upper part. Sometimes the moccasins had soft
One good source of
material for moccasin soles was the top section of an old
tipi cover, which had absorbed the
"smoke-from-many-fires" and was virtually waterproof. The upper part
of the moccasin was made from soft, tanned buckskin of elk, deer, or sometimes
antelope. This upper part could be decorated using quills or beads.
Awls made from sharpened bones, often ribs
sections, were used to punch holes for stitches. Sinew was used for thread. Some moccasins, well
over 100 years of age, are perfectly usable today.
In winter, moccasins were
made larger than usual, in order to make room for an inner lining
made of furs or grasses, which insulated the foot from the cold.
These moccasins had higher flaps. Leggings might be attached to protect the foot and
ankle from deep snow.
Moccasins were made from
the hide of different animals. The upper parts were often beautifully
decorated with porcupine quills and beads. The designs, or patterns
for decoration, varied depending on the tribe. To see moccasins from
many different areas, go to:
You can see more Plains
Want to know how to make a
moccasin, you can find instructions at
You can find more
Pattern for Moccasins