Left: FBT (Prototype), Right: 0121102002004 FBT BEARFOOT PERF-FOLK
An encounter with someone or something that moves the heart; I want to design products that evoke an emotional connection.
One of my own earliest experiences of this kind was discovered during my late teens, within the traditional Native American moccasin.
Native American moccasins from various tribes and eras; collection archives of Hiroki Nakamura.
For thousands of years, Native Americans have lived in vast territories across the continent, ranging from forest to desert regions. Long before European settlement, mankind's feet on American soil was primarily protected by moccasins; shoes in their most primitive form. Utilizing functionality from natural materials, original moccasins are cut from a single piece of leather wrapping the foot from toe to heel.
Worn in a variety of climates and environments; from rugged wilderness terrains to grasslands, there may have been slight differences in the leather used, or unique decorations and designs adorning beads and laces depending on the tribe and era. However, the basic construction has remained relatively unchanged.
A geometric pattern designed by Kelsi NAKAMURA is embossed on French lambskin leather and paired with a thin vibram® rubber outsole to create a pair that feels as soft as if it were barefoot. 0121102002004 FBT BEARFOOT PERF-FOLK
We wanted to express this beautiful and functional footwear into a product suitable for urban environments; in early visvim collections, we introduced the "FBT" which combined a redesigned upper with the original Native American feeling with modern sneaker outsole technology.
Apache's Moccasin (1800s)
Left: FBT (Prototype), Right: 0121102002009 GILA MOC LO SHAMAN COYOTE-FOLK
Our prototype developed intent to maximize comfort and breathability consisted of a single piece of vegetable astringent-tanned elk leather with no lining and no glue, and a shock-absorbing EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer) midsole stitched together.
After trial wearing them for a few months, the leather upper of our moccasin came to develop a well-aged patina, which our team felt enthusiastic to offer to our customers.
In order to achieve the unique slope of the soles that stretches all the way to the toes, we used wooden lasts sewn to a thin rubber vibram® sole to give birth to our BEARFOOT series.
Our newest moccasin design featuring a single piece of English cow suede connected to the sole, fringe details and a slightly protruding heel.
Original moccasins worn by Native Americans, were made of deer hide tanned white or beige, sewn together to leather soles, which were replaced once damaged to ensure a long life of continued use.
Within our collections up until that point, the FBT silhouette featured a prominently sneaker style and design. We wanted to redesign our version of a moccasin with a slightly more primitive feel and aesthetic, slightly raising the rubber to create cupsole stitched in place to the upper.
Of course, we continue to incorporate great breathability by the use of natural materials such as cork and veggie tanned leather we've developed over recent years, placing importance on comfort when worn over time. I've enjoyed working on and designing these, as one of my favorite pairs of moccasins so far by visvim.