The moccasin is no new concept. It is one of the oldest types of full shoes to have been developed and, since the 18th century, has stood the test of time. It is still being made all these years later, in more modernized ways and also in their original constructions as well. The unique qualities of moccasins make them special, and make a truly exquisite piece of footwear.
A Brief History
The moccasin was originally developed by Indigenous people who were in need of protection for their feet while hunting and gathering, and also to keep their feet protected from the cold in harsh winter months. It is originally a heel-less walking shoe made of thick and durable animal hide. The fact that they were made of animal leather was no coincidence, the leather was in fact a bi-product of their hunting (similar to how leather is a bi-product of the meat industry in our time). Native Americans did not waste any part of the animals they hunted using the animal meat for food and animal skin for different types of products needed - part of which was clothing. The tougher leather pieces were not as easy to use as softer ones, but proved to be ideal in moccasin making, which was great and much needed for foot protection!
There are basically two types of moccasins, the soft sole and the hard sole:
Soft sole moccasins
These types of moccasins are often made of one piece of leather. The sole comes around the top of the toe and around the foot. Stitching at the instep of the foot then closes the shoe. These moccasins were primarily used for traveling through woodlands where the foot would need protection against elements such as leaves and pine needles on the ground.
Hard sole moccasins
These types of moccasins are often made of two or more pieces of leather. These were used in walking on rougher terrain where there would be need for protection from harsher elements such as cactus.
Moccasins have been unique to different tribes in construction and decoration throughout their history, making them identifiable to their origin. The Medan moccasin is no exception for the Rana Cheikha Brand.
There is no doubt that you will be able to get your hands on beautiful moccasins from different brands and manufacturers. The difference is that the Rana Cheikha Moccasin has gone through a unique process of development, where pattern making was brought to the forefront of the design process.
The primary focus was to create a shoe made from a single piece of leather that would wrap around the foot, neither an easy or economic task! Design, uncommonly, came second to the structure and pattern.
The pattern making stage is one of the most complex in the shoe making process. It is comprised of taking a 2-dimension design, drawing it onto a 3-dimensional mold, flattening it back into a 2-dimensional pattern (since your material is flat), cutting your material from the pattern pieces and then assembling them to build your shoe: a 3-dimensional product - and all while taking precise measurements sensitive to the millimeter.
In creating the Medan Moccasin, the focus was to look at design from the perspective of the pattern maker, allowing pattern to lead to design. Original forms and constructions of native moccasins were also studied to understand how the leather could engulf the foot. Ancient models were tested and re-created as a base to the exploration of the Medan until a direction to proceed was selected.
As with original moccasins, the Medan is also always assembled first, and then put on the mold to take shape (instead of being assembled directly on the shoe mold). Today, the base pattern is created from the various experimentations, testing and multiple versions of patterns. This will continue to develop with time.
Design Follows Pattern
The Medan Moccasin’s shape follows a single line that wraps around the mold with as little intrusion as possible, cutting the pattern in as little places as possible. The design is successfully created of a one-piece pattern (very strangely shaped I must add) that wraps around the foot covering the top, sides and base of the foot.
A unique design, intricately hand-stitched and assembled with care. It hugs your foot in comfort and ages with you as you take them on your modern-day travels. The unique X-stitch, identifiable to the Brand, further highlights the seam line that brings together the pattern edges to cup the foot and create this unique piece of footwear.
And there you have it, the iconic Medan Moccasin, truly unique and handmade.
If you haven’t already, get your hands on a pair from the gorgeous colour options currently available in our online boutique (accessible here), or get in touch to discover custom colour possibilities!
Signing-off: Rana Cheikha for The Shoe Advisor