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1477 Park St.
Hartford, CT
USA

The Brothers Crisp is an artisan, hand sewn moccasin local footwear company based out of Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood. The Brothers Crisp’s founder Joshua Westbrook first established a substantial following for his brand on Instagram, designing and hand-crafting one-off custom shoes for customers around the world. Westbrook and his team have since shifted their focus towards the production of a full line of branded American made footwear. Their variations on the traditional techniques of moccasin construction are both timeless, beautiful and innovative, durable, and – unlike any other brand in the world – hand-sewn in Hartford.

 

From the Shop

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From the 'Shop: What is a moccasin?

Zachary Haines

The Brothers Crisp was born out of founder and shoemaker Joshua Westbrook’s fascination  with moccasins: their simplicity, versatility, and enduring popularity throughout centuries of American industry.

Though many have enjoyed and worn out a good pair of moccasins, few are aware of what makes these shoes unique. In this installment of From the ‘Shop, we examine what makes a moccasin a moccasin.

Moccasins are the original American footwear. Native Americans had been making moccasins for hundreds (if not, thousands) of years before the first Europeans began settling the Northeast in the early seventeenth century.

Traditional moccasin construction begins with the leather vamp, which is placed under the sole and wrapped around the foot and over the toes. The vamp is sewn to the plug (the piece of leather that rests on top of the foot) with a puckered U-shaped seam.

Notice the U-shape seam in the front of these six-inch boots

Notice the U-shape seam in the front of these six-inch boots

Native Americans typically made moccasins out of soft leathers like buckskin. Especially in the forested terrain of the Northeast, a soft, soleless shoe was ideal for protecting hunters’ feet while maintaining optimal comfort.

Early European settlers valued moccasins for their ingenious integration of pragmatism and comfort and began exporting them to Europe as early as the 1650’s.

Moccasin production declined with the advent of industrialization. By the time of the Second World War, moccasins were sold almost exclusively as souvenirs. However, they regained popularity as a casual and sport shoe during the second half of the century.

We hand sew all our moccasins right here in the 'Shop.

We hand sew all our moccasins right here in the 'Shop.

Since then, the moccasin has experienced many transformations. Popular styles such as boat shoes, chukkas, and driving mocs are all based on traditional methods of construction, the simplicity of which lends itself to endless variations.

Well constructed moccasins will not only endure a lifetime of wear, but also mold to the foot and become more comfortable with age. It is no secret to us why the moccasin has remained a staple of American footwear for centuries!

We hope you have enjoyed this brief tour through the history of the moccasin. More informative updates to come!

Truly,

 

The Brothers Crisp