The moccasin is traditionally a heelless soft leather shoe, which is fashioned out of deerskin or soft leather hide. Its sole is moulded to the foot and sewn to the vamp (upper part of the shoe) with strips of leather. Some shoe designers have used the moccasin as inspiration to create shoes that look like moccasins. These fashionable adaptations have rubber or high heels, synthetic trims and new fabrications -- design additions that make them hybrids or imitations, not moccasins.
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Newer versions of the classic 1940s ballet flats are turning up in stores with moccasin sensibilities. It would have been difficult to confuse the original versions of these shoes for the traditionally Native American footwear. However, when today's designers modify the original design, adding a moccasin-like top stitching, it becomes increasingly easy to mistake the ballet flat for the moccasin. How the ballet flat differs is the leather cording isn't the only trim on the shoe. Designers still leave the traditional ribbon trim intact to solidify its ballerina slipper design. Additionally, there are differences in the sole, which can be made from man-made materials or rubber. The moccasin-like qualities this shoe retains are the comfort level and fabrication. These ballet flats tend to be made in soft leather.
The spectator shoe is a white, black and sometimes brown shoe that was originally designed as a man's sports shoe. It became a popular golf shoe in the 1940s, and it wasn't until the 1950s that it began to be marketed towards women. If pegged against the original, it would be difficult to mistake this two-toned shoe for a moccasin. Yet, in recent trends, designers have crossed the two designs making it possible to mistake the traditional sports shoe for its deerskin counterpart. The difference in the two shoes, other than colour, is the construction. While newer versions of this spectator shoe have lost the heel, opting for the completely flat and moulded moccasin sole, the spectator is still a shoe that is laced or bowed at the front. These new versions also use tougher hides to retain some of the structured qualities of the spectator shoe.
Whether it is a kitten, wedge or high heel, the moccasin-like heeled loafer design can often be mistaken for the traditionally flat shoe. Loafer and moccasins resemble each other, especially since they both are flat slip-ons. In the height of the moccasin trend, loafers got new stitching to appear more ethnic. It was a matter of time before that flat design got a heel. These days the moccasin-inspired loafer comes in many heels, and thus a new shoe trend is popping up on high-fashion runways. The heel changes this shoe from the traditional moccasin into a different form of casual footwear. Add the harder hides, patent leather and man-made soles and this heeled loafer hybrid is a completely different shoe.
A creative moccasin-inspired shoe is the new, more ethnic rain boot. The "welly" was made popular by Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, in the early 19th century. This newer moccasin-like welly that has been fashioned out of rubber, and sometimes complimentary fabrics, has been designed to imitate some of the moccasin's aesthetics. The rubber has been moulded to imitate fake leather stitching. And, some of these traditional rain boots are even embossed to have some likeness to the leather hide. Even if it is moulded to look like the moccasin, these rain boots do not retain any of the intrinsic moccasin qualities. The most obvious being that while they might be a flat all-weather boot, they are not made of leather or sewn in any capacity.
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