Traditional Native American clothing varied widely from tribe to tribe, but one nearly universal element was the moccasin, a sturdy slipper-shaped type of shoe sewn from tanned leather. The word “moccasin” comes from an Algonquian word (also spelled mocasin, mocassin, moccassin, or mocussin, depending on the language and transcriber), but that is only because Algonquians were the first Indians encountered by Europeans–they were used as footwear from Sonora to Saskatchewan, and though “moccasins” may be understood and accepted by all of them at this point, most Indian tribes have their own native word for them. Moccasins were originally made of soft leather stitched together with sinew. Though the basic construction of Native American moccasins was similar throughout North America, moccasin patterns were subtly different in nearly every tribe, and Indian people could often tell each other’s tribal affiliation simply from the design of their shoes. Native American moccasin design has stood the test of time; not only are moccasins still being made and worn in many Indian tribes today, but they have also passed into the American mainstream, and both hard-soled moccasin shoes and soft-soled moccasin slippers are mass-produced by hundreds of non-native shoe stores now.