This was standard wear for Eastern woodsmen from the French & Indian War until well after the Revolution. Includes several options for cuffs, cape and fringe treatment. Sizes M, L, XL and XXL.
About Your Plains Hi-Top Moccasin Pattern
Often referred to as boots by non-Indians, these high
topped moccasins were being worn by Plains and Plateau Indian
women by the early 1800s. They were particularly popular on the
Southern Plains where, during the mid-1800s, the style was refined
to perfection by the Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne and
Arapaho, and Apache. A Southern Arapaho woman’s example from
the late reservation period is on our cover. Apache men also wore
a variation of this knee-high style.
By the 1850s, and perhaps earlier, sole material for these
high-topped moccasins had mostly evolved from soft leather to
Indian-prepared rawhide, although even today some tribes still use
the soft sole. The rawhide, however, made moccasins more
comfortable and durable, being better adapted to the rocky and
cactus-strewn ground of the Plains. Smoked, brain-tanned buckskin
was the most common material for the vamp and upper parts of
the moccasin. In the “buffalo days”, the high tops of some tribes
actually extended well above the knee, secured by a garter. This
allowed more complete protection for the woman’s lower leg while
Today, high tops are still a popular style of moccasin for
many Plains and Plateau tribes. Comanche and Kiowa women refer
to these moccasins as “leggings”. Since Cheyenne moccasin
makers are acknowledged masters of the moccasin making art, we
have chosen to present techniques of construction that are typically
Southern Cheyenne, while also including mention of style differences
worn by the Kiowa, Comanche, and Southern Arapaho. An
elaborately beaded Cheyenne example is shown in the left photo
below. Crow, Assiniboine, and other Northern women have a similar
style, but it is not covered in these instructions.
You should note that variations in construction and decoration
exist from tribe to tribe, and you are encouraged to research
these tribal distinctions. Today, there is a wealth of available material
with photo examples. Some recommended books in print are
Beadwork Techniques of the Native Americans by Scott Sutton;
Mythos Wild West: The Brundle Collection; and Whispering Winds
Crafts Annual #6. Your local library may have out-of-print books that
will prove helpful. However, most books have limited examples, so,
if possible, visit the many on-line museum sites that have numerous
excellent photos. A good place to start is the American Museum of
We would like to extend special thanks to Carl Jennings,
Barry Hardin, and the late Nellie Stevens for their help in developing
Notions & Tools
Simulated sinew or genuine sinew & beads or porcupine
quills if desired for decoration. A sharp awl is also necessary for
moccasin making , along with a glovers needle for easy stitching
Note: *As buckskin is a natural material, hides are usually shaped somewhat
irregularly. The chart above shows two options for selecting
your buckskin. The first is based on using one large hide for uppers,
leggings, etc. and the second is based on using two smaller hides.
The sizes are approximate and may vary according to the actual
shape of your hide.
Ideally, Indian-tanned buckskin is used for the uppers,
welts (a narrow soft strap sewn between the upper and sole), and
laces. However, any soft commercially tanned leather (including elk,
buckskin, and split cowhide) in a 4-5 oz. weight is very good.
Soles can be made of rawhide that is hand-prepared
especially for moccasin soles or 8-10 oz. latigo or strap leather.
Genuine sinew (a thread-like material prepared from long tendons)
is best for sewing on the soles, but simulated sinew is an
excellent substitute, being easier to use.