Questions & Answers

Home made Moc

I've begun making moccasins for our children. Several of them have Soft Star Roos and we like the style for the most part. I've made several pairs like these from polar fleece.

Our current goal is to find a zero-rise winter outdoor shoe from easily accessible materials for minimal money for growing children. That's not too much to ask, right?

Here's our first try. It's a three-piece moccasin made from a synthetic fabric I bought. It has a brushed surface on one side that gives it a look of suede. The other surface is a synthetic sheep-skin look/feel. I treated the outer surface of the completed moc with 2 coats of a silicone spray.

I made these for our 10 yo daughter, M. She has worn them for 2 different outdoor uses: Dog chores & general play.

For dog chores, she is only out for 15 min or so and is not running though loose snow. She wears the mocs either barefoot or with 1 pair of cotton crew socks. She says they keep her feet warm just fine in these conditions.

For play she would outside for an hour or so. She was hiking though loose snow, sledding and other typical Minnesota child games. The mocs were worn with 3 pairs of cotton socks. Her feet were cold with 2 pairs so she came in for a 3rd pair and was just fine that way. The snow came in where the front piece overlaps the back/side piece and it melted in her shoe making her feet wet. This and snow pack from the top of the moc was the source of wet - not through the fabric itself.

My first adaptation to these will be to make them taller like a hiking boot. After that (or maybe at the same time) I hope to come up with a sole insulation. My current ideas are either a rubber/vibram sole similar to the huaraches from Barefoot Ted OR an interior insulation made from a flexible foam like yoga mats.

Sarah K


Answers and Replies


Those are very cool! Great work! One suggestion would be to use wool socks instead of cotton, the kids feet would stay a lot warmer, especially if they get damp or wet.


So true about the wool! She's been reminded so we'll see.

The insulation layer seems to be key when thinking wet & cold. Natural animal fibers seems to be the best. I have a pair of zero-drop leather boots with real sheep skin inner layer and wore them with just cheapo, worn-out cotton socks across the frozen field and sitting w/o moving for hours in the woods with our older boys deer hunting season '09 (air temps 5-15*F). It seems the leather and wool was all I really needed to keep the feet warm & wick any walking sweat away w/o chilling.

We have found sheep skin pretty readily/inexpensively in the paint department of our local hardwareish-superstore. (Mills Fleet Farm here in MN but there are others) In the area with sheep skin paint rollers you may find bulk packages of scrap from the production of these rolls. Most bags we have gotten have 3-5 paint rollers (that must have some flaw that our unskilled eyes don't see) plus some other pieces. We have taken these apart and made sole liners for a pair of RunAmoc Lites and that added a huge boost to the winter usability. We hope to take that material and use it in the children's footwear but just plain haven't gotten that far.

Are there other moc makers out there? I'm looking for more ideas about re-purposed materials that can make shoe making cheaper & easier for us.


Nice job on your moccasins.....I've got a large piece of Moose hide that I've been wanting to do something with and making myself a pair of custom moccasins has peaked my interest lately so i've been looking around at moccasin styles and how-to's recently, and I ran across something you might like......its a custom "Goop" sole they put on their "Stealth tracker moccasins".....very good idea and might be what your looking for...Check them out at


Wool is definitely key. Water goes right through my thin deerhide mocs despite application of two different waterproofers, but if I'm wearing synthetic sock liners and fluffy wool socks over, I don't mind the wet much. I stay dry in snow, even snow deeper than my mocs, but slushy parking lots get me. When I get to work my wet socks get draped somewhere and I pull out dry cotton socks from my bag.

I'm currently working on complex boot with wool liners and a deerhide exterior.

Short version: I'm using 100% wool felt from the craft store to make boot liners, using a felting needle for all the seams. I'm going to make a second layer of boot liner, and lanolize that to try to keep out the water. (Lanolin has to be frequently reapplied BTW.) The deer hide layer should protect the felt from getting random debris worked into the felt.


About waterproofers, my experience is more in wood waterproofing than hides. Treating bee hives with a combo of linseed oil & bees wax for example. Would any of these wax/oil combos be more effective? Do you have any waterproofing products or tips to recommend?

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