These thick crepe soled shoes first walked onto the scene in the late 40’s when London’s Teddy Boys adopted the “brothel creeper” shoe style as a part of the teenage rebel uniform. The lightweight design of the stacked sole differed from the flat leather-soled shoe commonly worn, allowing the wearer to ‘creep’ the floors at night without making the squeaks and creaks regular soled shoes made (and we all know how useful that little function is).
The crepe sole was a soft, squishy rubberized material made by mixing rubber with wool. This revolutionary material was first used solely for orthopedic shoes, but the Teddy Boys created their own version by placing a pointy-toed shoe dubbed a winklepicker upon a thick black sole of crepe rubber. The creeper, coupled with the outrageous fashions of the Teddy Boys, carried them to the fringes of society.
The underground style of creepers climbed into the semi-mainstream with the 80’s New Romantics. Jon Cryer’s Nu-Ro styling ‘Duckie’ in John Hughes’ cult classic Pretty in Pink stood apart from the preppy crowd's sockless huarachies trend because of his creepers (and bolo ties, sharkskin jackets, and pompadour, but we’re just talking shoes here, people).
Creepers linger as a not-so-silent partner with the underground styletribes. While the black crepe sole remains a constant, the vamp (top) of the shoe is outfitted in outrageous leopard prints, flickering flames, plaid tartans, and even a take on the traditional black-and-white wingtip style.
Even if your shoes are loud, the creeper lets you tread quietly.
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