Autumn is the season of comfort. The temperatures are falling; there’s work to do before winter sets in. We don sweaters. We break out jackets once again from the closet, finding last season’s movie ticket stubs in the pockets. We rake piles of leaves and we winterize our summer toys. But in between chores, autumn is the season when we reconnect with creature comforts - with feasts of tryptophan-laden foods, Sunday afternoons watching football, gathering together and drinking apple cider and - yes, okay, okay, pumpkin spice too.
So let’s get comfy this autumn. In addition to jackets and sweaters, one of the clothing items that has become quintessential autumn for me is moccasins. The soft leather and suede of moccasins made by the likes of Minnetonka ooze comfort and warmth. They’ve got the look and the softness to give you that laid-back comfy hygge feeling.
Moccasins have a long history in North America. The word itself comes from the Algonquin word makasin, which just means “shoe.” The word came into English when east coast native Americans encountered white settlers, who admired their simple, comfortable footwear. This early association got flattened in the popular English-speaking imagination, and has survived into the modern day, so that now when we think of moccasins, we tend to envision a very particular type of shoe - low-top, suede, with a flexible sole and U-shaped stitching over the toe box.
But Native American moccasins were and are as varied as the geography of North America, from the eastern forests and southern swamplands to the deserts of the southwest and the cold rugged mountains of the northwest. They were made of different materials depending on who was making them and for what purpose. Like modern footwear, they had varying amounts of padding, thinner or thicker soles, and went up as high or low on the ankle as folks needed them to. Apache moccasins , for instance, featured upturned toes to protect the wearer’s feet from sharp sticks and rocks in the arid lands they called home.
These days, once again, purveyors of moccasins are introducing needed variety into the types of footwear that bear the moccasin title. They’re made in a huge variety of styles and cuts over and above the image conjured by the classic “moccasin.” So the question is: Which type of moccasin is right for you?
Softsole Moccasins - Women and Mens Leather Slippers For the Ultimate Coziness at Home
The first factor to think about in deciding which moccasin is right for you is where you’re going to be wearing it. Are you looking for something to wear around the house? Or are you looking for an all-day outdoor moccasin to replace your general-purpose shoes with something a bit more cozy and laid-back? Essentially, are you looking for a slipper or a shoe?
If you’re looking for an indoor slipper, Minnetonka has a wide variety of softsole moccasins to wrap around your feet. Softsole moccasins like Minnetonka’s Leather Laced Softsole are the most comfortable but least versatile, making them perfect cold-season slippers. They stay snugly on your feet with adjustable suede laces so you don’t have to shuffle around to keep your slippers on, and you’ll never want to take them off. The more decorative Women’s Thunderbird Softsole takes inspiration from the widespread indigenous symbolism of a creature that represents protection and strength, with a hand-made beaded Thunderbird emblem, its three tail feathers representing past, present, and future. Minnetonka makes their softsole moccasins with a padded insole but not much else by way of support or traction - these things are all about premium soft suede cradling your dogs to quiet them down after a long day.
For a warmer option, some of Minnetonka’s softsole moccasins go preposterously soft, with piles of soft fluffy insulation. Their Men's Sheepskin Softsole and Women’s Cally Slipper are the familiar low-top moccasin slipper design, but packed with warm moisture-wicking lining, perfect for those days as autumn slips into winter and we really start battening down for the cold.
Hardsole Moccasins - Sneaker Slippers Blending Indoor and Outdoor
If you’re like me, though, you might be looking for an ultra-comfortable moccasin with the versatility of a shoe. Hardsole moccasins ride the line between slipper and shoe, making them perfect for an indoor-outdoor autumn. They’re made of the same soft and warm materials as softsole moccasins but with a beefed-up outsole and tread for contending with the ground and elements outside. This is really where moccasins show their quality. You can still feel the ground beneath your feet, giving that natural, of-the-earth feel while still holding up to dirt and uneven terrain. Take them out to the pumpkin patch with the kids for the ultimate autumn experience, munching on an apple cider donut while the kids debate the designs they’re going to carve into each Jack-O-Lantern-to-be.
Take Minnetonka’s Men's Classic Camp Moccasin and Women's Kilty Hardsole. These are the quintessential outdoor moccasins. Soft suede or leather all around, a comfortable padded insole, and a rubber sole that lets you take them to the outdoors or out on the town in comfy style. Miss the fluff? No worries, because Minnetonka also crafts hardsoles for men and women with piles and piles of insulation to keep your toes toasty around the fire or out at dinner with friends, while giving off vibes of extreme chill.
Mens Moccasin Boots and Moccasin Booties For Women
But what about those different styles we just talked about? True to the history of moccasins, you don’t necessarily have to opt for the classic low-top. Minnetonka has a number of variations on the leather moccasin, developed in collaboration with talented Native American artists, designers, and creators, which explore the varied potential of indigenous American footwear heritage. Some of our favorites around here are the models that come up a little further to envelope our ankles. Minnetonka’s ultra-padded Sheepskin Mens Ankle Boots are super-cozy boot-style slippers that slip on snugly and stay on. The Classic Hardsole Boot tan booties feature tasteful fringe running up the ankle, and a thick rubber sole ready for any fall outing. And their Two-Button Hardsole Boots have quickly become staples of their lineup, with a little fringe, and two decorative metal conchos on the outer sides. While still maintaining the supple and ever-so-slightly stretchable leather and suede we’re all looking for in moccasins, these suede booties have more coverage than classic moccasins and roomy toes for more active pursuits.
Embracing the Season of Comfort With Minnetonka Moccasins
I used to be an autumn hater. Deep down, I’m a creature of the summer. I like backpacking and kayaking, beaches and barbecues, and as a youth the turning of the leaves, the slackening of the heat, the shortening of the days, always heralded the end of the good times. The days grew colder and school started back up, and it felt like the world was hunkering down. But somewhere along the line, and I don’t know when it happened, I started to really appreciate changes that autumn brought to the world. I started looking forward to the rituals of the season, the pickling and holiday house decorations and annual dark pilgrimages to haunted houses. Hunting season, football season, the beginnings of the holiday season with all its camaraderie and food, reconnecting with friends and family - it’s refreshing, and good for the soul. Far from an end to the good times, autumn represents the beginning of something new each year. Don’t worry; summer’s not going anywhere. It’ll be back next year. In the meantime, let’s retire those beach sandals, get comfy in some warm, soft moccasins, and drink hot cider around a warm fire.