Yes.  All of our moccasins and soft-soled boots (even those with a soft leather sole) are intended for outdoor use.  The Yazoo slipper, though, is made without an innersole and is more appropriate as an indoor house shoe.

Will the soft leather sole wear through?

Most customers will eventually wear through the soles.  Some people will wear them for many years with minimal wear evident, while others will wear through them more quickly.  The biggest factor in premature wear is if you shuffle or drag your feet when you walk.  Be honest in your evaluation:  If you’re hard on more traditional footwear, you’re going to be hard on our mocs, too.

How long should a pair of moccasins last?

It’s impossible to give a one-size-fits-all answer to this question.  We’ve had customers who have worn our mocs for more than a decade, while others are harder on moccasins and see significantly shorter wear.  For longer wear, we suggest ordering your mocs with a crepe rubber sole, or those made with buffalo hide (which we believe is our toughest-wearing leather).  If worn as your primary footwear, expect shorter wear unless you trade them off with other pairs.  Shuffling gait and pivoting when turning also shorten the wearing life.

Can moccasins be repaired?

Yes.  Some repairs are easy to make – particularly the toe area or the collar around the top of the ankle.  Repairs to the sole are harder because we need to deconstruct the entire shoe to get to the sole and then rebuild them from the bottom up.

Do you offer a warranty?

We will always repair or replace defective merchandise.  If you wear out your moccasins quickly (e.g., within a year or so) we will almost certainly repair them at no charge to you.  If you send them back for repairs after a longer period of time, we’ll likely charge you time and materials for repairs.  If you wear through the repaired pair quickly, we may mutually decide that moccasins aren’t the best footwear option for you and may decide to refund your money. We strive for customer satisfaction in every transaction.

Are Itasca Moccasins waterproof?

Our moccasins are not waterproof.

What happens if my moccasins get wet?

If they get wet, simply walk them dry or let them air dry naturally and you’ll have no damage.  Do not force them dry in the dryer or microwave, on a heat register, or over a heating vent.  You’ll potentially shrink the leathers as well as make them stiffer.

Are soft-soled moccasins slippery?

All shoes with leather soles are slippery on snow and ice and sometimes in other wet conditions such as a wet wooden deck or on wet leaves in the fall.  Our moccasins should not be more slippery than any other leather-soled shoe.  If you experience slipperiness on carpet, we recommend that you take them outside and scuff up the bottoms on cement.  If you’re concerned about slippery soles, you’re the perfect customer for our natural crepe rubber soles, which exhibit a lot of grip on almost every surface.

Should I treat my moccasins?

We recommend no specific treatment.  Most leathers are infused with oils and waxes at the time of tanning, plus the natural oils from your body continue to condition the leather if you wear your mocs barefoot.  There’s nothing wrong with using mink oil, other conditioners or silicone sprays but you may darken the leather.

Are Itasca Moccasin boots good for winter wear?

In northern climates we don’t consider our boots to be winter-appropriate.  In more moderate climates, they’re a great year-round footwear option.

Do you sell mukluks?

No.  There is a well-known maker of mukluks located in Ely, MN and they’ve got a great reputation.

Do you offer sandals or flip-flops?

If you can come up with a design that is consistent with our current soft-sole construction, we’d love to hear your ideas.

Do you sell a lined moccasin?

Yes.  In 2012, we introduced Cota and Leitner styles that are lined with sheepskin.  Sheepskin is one of those amazing materials – it keeps feet warm without overheating, especially when they’re made with a leather sole.  Their year-round comfort is a result of their ability to breathe and not trap body heat or perspiration.

Do you wear moccasins barefoot or with a sock?

Most people like to wear their moccasins barefoot but might slip on a sock when the weather cools in the fall and winter.  Others prefer to wear socks all the time.  If your mocs are made with a soft leather sole, you’ll notice that they’re as comfortable as sandals and flip-flops in the summer because the leather breathes and keeps the feet from overheating.

How comfortable are Itasca Moccasins?

Most people indicate they’re incredibly comfortable.  We’ve refined our styles for fit for more than 30 years.  Most of our customers describe them as “a better version of barefoot” and it’s true.  Some of the comfort is attributed to the soft sole, but a good part of the credit goes to the leathers we use.  In particular, our premium leathers – buffalo, elk and moose are incredibly comfortable because the hides are so supple and soft.

I have bad feet ... can I wear moccasins?

The easy answer is this:  If you are comfortable barefoot, you’ll love the way our moccasins feel.  If you always need arch support, you might have troubles with our moccasins without adding a supplemental arch support.  We have had had numerous customers add an insole (such as Dr. Scholl’s) to create an arch support.

Can I use my orthotics with moccasins?

The answer isn’t easy due to the variability of the orthotic devices.  Some thick orthotics make it feel like the moccasin doesn’t come up high enough on the foot.  If that’s the case, we suggest that you order the Loosahatchie model rather than our basic Cota style.  The sides of the Loosahatchie come up higher provide a better balance for thick orthotics.

What benefit do I get by trading up to premium leathers?

We consider our premium hides to be buffalo, elk and moose (and sheepskin for slippers or baby booties).  Compared to cowhide, they tend to be softer and more supple and feel like they’re broken in the first time you put them on.  They also tend to be more “interesting” hides.  Buffalo has intense graining patterns and tends to be a bit thicker and is great for the soles of moccasins.  Elk is the softest and most stretchy of the leathers and it’s more comfortable than anything else you’ll ever have on your feet.  Moose is interesting and rare – and it feels silky smooth, and almost spongy.  In our opinion, all of these premium hides are more durable than their cowhide counterparts, meaning better wear, longer wear.  Yes, it does cost more … but we feel it’s worth it.

Why don’t you use leather laces for all of your moccasin styles?

We typically use leather shoelaces for our boots, such as Obion, Hatchie, Meramec and Nokasippi models.  For our slip-on styles, we switched to nylon shoelaces many years ago by customer request.  On a smaller-profile moccasin, the knots tend to be big and bulky, and leather shoelaces are notorious for coming untied.

I'd like a knee-high boot but I don't want to lace them up every time I wear them. Do you have a zipper option?

Yes.  Upon request we can add zippers to the Nokasippi or Meramec boots; they’re placed on the inward side of each boot and the zipper curves at bottom towards the toe.  The placement is discreet and the curve allows for those with a tall instep to get into the boots without undoing the laces.  There is a modest upcharge for adding zippers.  We recommend calling our Factory Store at 218-699-3978 to discuss zippers with our shop manager.

Why are moccasins good for baby?

Well, besides being super cute there’s a functional reason that mocs are good for baby, especially as they’re learning to walk.  We know that many pediatricians recommend bare-footing for balance, stability and musculoskeletal development.  Our soft-soled moccasins are as close to barefoot as you can get, allowing the bones of the feet to work to stabilize baby and they learn to use muscles to gain balance.   The mocs protect the feet and offer warmth without losing the benefits of barefoot.

What is the “Earthing” or “Grounding” movement?

There’s an emerging line of thought that there’s great benefit being physically connected to the earth.  Digging deeper, it’s suggested that there’s physiological and psychological benefit from the transfer of electrons and electrical fields from the earth below directly into people – best accomplished when barefoot or lying unclothed on the ground.  In the real world, barefoot isn’t always practical (or permitted) and the next best method of connection is via leather – without artificial plastics or rubber that act as insulators.  Individuals who follow this lifestyle movement feel that there’s benefit to the circulatory system, immune system, and synchronization of biorhythms, along with a decrease of inflammation.  People who follow Earthing guidelines may order any leather-soled Itasca Moccasin without the synthetic foam pad so that the leather’s conductive properties (aided by sweat from the body) can connect you with the earth below.  Click here to be taken to the Earthing page for more information.

What happens if my moccasins get dirty?

Part of moccasins’ charm is a well-worn, lived-in look that comes from use.  On full grain leathers with a top finish, spot cleaning may be all you need, feathering the edges as you go so a ring doesn’t develop.  For suedes, a pencil eraser or pumice stone or very fine grit sand paper may eliminate dirt and dry stains.  As a last resort if they’re badly stained or dirty you could toss them in the washing machine with a gentle soap.  You’ll be amazed at how they turn out and there’s no harm to the leather.  Air dry; do not tumble dry.

Will colors bleed onto the foot or sock?

Any brightly colored leather shoe has risk of transferring the dye onto the foot or sock, and ours will as well.  Of course, this diminishes over time and should ultimately stop transferring.  The colors that have the biggest chance of bleeding are our turquoise and fuchsia suede.  If dye gets on the foot, it washes off easily with bathing; if it transfers onto light colored socks it may or may not wash out during the laundering process.

How should moccasins fit?

If there’s anything at all to pay attention to it’s this:  Start off with a snug (but not tight) fit.  The leathers stretch and conform to the shape of the foot as you break them in.  We recommend that the big (or longest) toe come right up to the front of the moccasin, even touching it.  You want the sides to feel snug – like a thick pair of socks.  Some leathers will break in as fast as a half hour of use; others will take a longer time to break in – perhaps several wearings.  Of all of our leather options, elk has the most stretch – to the point we suggest sizing down, perhaps as much as a full size.  Buffalo and moose are also supple hides and stretch nicely, followed by cowhides – some of which have significant stretch and others of which have virtually no stretch.

Why do you recommend that the big (or longest) toe come up to the front of the moccasin?

It’s half about the appearance and half about the fit.  If your toe does not come all the way forward, the moccasin toe will curl up with use – giving an elfin appearance.  From a fit perspective we recommend the toe go all the way forward; if your big toe is back more than an eighth of an inch or so, the moccasin is simply too big and will stretch out of shape as you break it in.

What happens if I’ve got a wide foot?

If your foot is modestly wide, we suggest that you trade up to an elk hide.  It is somewhat more expensive but it has the stretch that’s needed to make the moccasin comfortable for you.  And as an added benefit, the elk wears fantastically.  If you’ve got a significantly wide foot we offer custom order options via our “custom” tab.  You’ll be instructed to have a tracing done of your feet and submit it with your order.  There’s no extra charge for this service and completed footwear is turn around to you in about ten days to two weeks.  Click here to be taken to the Custom tab.

How accurate is your sizing scale?

You’ll find sizing suggestions in the bullet points on each product page.  We do our best to take the guesswork out of figuring out your size.

Do you offer half sizes or do you do full sizes only?

Due to space considerations, our retail stores offer full sizes only, but you have the option of ordering half sizes at any time.  Online, you’ll find both full- and half size options, as well as the possibility of ordering a custom size.

Do you fit hard to fit feet?

Yes!  This is one of our core competencies and we’re really good at it!  Many people’s feet are significantly different sized and we offer a custom fit program to address your needs.  Also, if you’ve got a high instep, we can take that into account with our pattern-making.  Please refer to the “custom” tab for instructions.  Oh, and best of all:  There’s no additional charge for custom fit work and we turn around our work in about ten days to two weeks.  Click here to be taken to the Custom tab.

What about bunions?

We know that bunions are an (unfortunate) fact of life for many people.  We suggest ordering moccasins made from elk because of the natural stretchy nature of elk hide.  They’re immediately comfortable and don’t cut or bind.  If the bunion is severe enough, consider doing a custom order with a custom foot tracing.  Please refer to the “custom” tab.

Do you keep my foot tracings on file?

Yes; for a period of at least five years we keep tracings on hand so that future orders can be placed without re-submitting foot tracings.

What happens if I order a pair of moccasins and they don’t fit?

If you order a custom pair with our foot tracing program, we guarantee a perfect fit and we’ll alter or remake your moccasins if they don’t fit right.  If you order a stock size of a regularly-stocked moccasin, you may return or exchange UNWORN moccasins for a different size.

What shipping service do you use?

We offer various shipping methods that you get to choose during the check-out process.

Do you ship internationally?

Yes.  However, you’ll need to contact the Factory Store or email info@itascaleathergoods.com to make arrangements.  International shipping costs will be confirmed at time of order and we’ll either accept a credit card payment over the phone or offer to send a PayPal invoice for payment.  We will not indicate on customs paperwork that the moccasins are a “gift” to avoid tariffs.  International shipments will typically go via US Mail.

What is your return policy?

We will accept unworn moccasins or unused leather goods from our basic stock offerings for return or exchange.  If you order through our custom program, we do not accept returns for changing your mind or not liking the color combinations you’ve selected.  If you order custom sizing via foot tracings, we guarantee fit and at our discretion we will alter or replace items that don’t fit right.  In the unlikely event we’re not able to get it right, we’ll gladly refund your money.  If you receive a pair of moccasins that’s defective, we’ll repair them or replace them at our discretion.  If you quickly wear through the soles, we’ll repair or replace at our discretion, or offer to repair them for a charge of time and materials for longer-term wear.  The customer is responsible for shipping costs back to the factory store.  For our full return and exchange policy click here.

Where are Itasca Moccasins made?

Since 1986, we’ve proudly produced our handcrafted moccasins in the tiny town of Lake George MN, just a few miles east of Itasca State Park, the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River.  In fact, all manufacturing employees and owners reside in North Central Minnesota.  Purchasing goods made in USA is important for our economy – we’re one of the few footwear companies still producing shoes in the US.  We’re small, we’re independent, and even if we’re not next door to you, we still fit the profile of a “local” company.

Do you have a retail store so that we can try them on in person?

Our original Factory Store opened in 1986 in the tiny town of Lake George MN, just a few miles east of Itasca State Park.