If you’ve ever been in the market for a new pair of durable, long-lasting footwear, you’ve likely come across “moc-toe” shoes without even knowing it! Short for “moccasin toe,” moc-toes are typically made of leather and feature a rounded, visibly stitched toe box. The seam is made either by sewing two pieces of cloth together around the toe box or by sewing a seam within a single piece of fabric. The design was inspired by moccasins historically worn by Native American people and is featured on shoes of all different styles from work boots to boat shoes and loafers.
The History of Moc-Toe Shoes
The word “moccasin” originates from the Algonquin word “makasin,” meaning “shoe.” European settlers in America used the word as an overarching term for all animal-hide footwear worn by Native people.
Originally co-opted by shoe manufacturers for farmers and hunters in the early 1900s, moc-toes were designed to provide extra protection for the toes. The U-shaped piece of fabric– usually leather– that covers the top of the foot and the higher walls within the toe box found with the moc-toe design allow for extra flexibility within the shoe, making them a more comfortable option than round-toe boots for withstanding long workdays.
Moc-toe shoes became even more popular among manual laborers like electricians and factory workers after the end of WWII when Red Wing designed their classic 877 8-inch moc-toe. These boots featured rubber soles that repelled dirt, and high shafts that made the shoes waterproof and the wearers more resistant to snake-bites– a common concern for people who worked outside.
What Makes Moc-Toe Boots So Popular?
People still appreciate the comfort and durability of moc-toe shoes today, especially now that waterproof linings, anti-slip soles, steel-toes, and a wide variety of colors and styles are available. Although moc-toe boots are considered a great option for work environments, they are not considered safety boots without a safety toe, which is a steel or composite reinforcement added to shoes to protect the toes from falling objects or compression.
Beyond their capabilities as trusty work boots, moc-toes are popular everyday choices for their comfort, versatility, and robust, classic style. They also make for excellent riding boots because of their durable yet lightweight construction. Check out the Thorogood American Heritage boots we offer at Great Lake Supply Co.! These Midwestern-made moc-toe boots are constructed from durable full-grain leather, feature MAXWear Wedge™ slip-resistant outsole and Goodyear storm welt construction, and include a Removable Ultimate Shock Absorption insert on an EVA footbed as well as steel toes, making them excellent safety shoes for riders who also want to look good on and off the bike!