Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A Brief History of: Brothel Creepers

TUK Mondo High Soled Creeper, 

I've had a fascination with 'Brothel Creepers', or 'Creepers' since I was about 10 when I remember going with my Dad to buy a pair. They are an iconic men's shoe style that has been having a bit of a rise in popularity. But whats the story, and how did these beauties come to be?

Creepers were originally developed by British shoe maker George Cox in 1949. 
He drew inspiration from the thick, crepe-soled boots of soldiers posted to deserts that, post-war, ex-soldiers started to sport at undesireable London nightspots.
The Creepers began to gain popularity with young Teddy Boys in the 1950's, and then had a massive surge in popularity in the 1970's as the Teddy Boy look suffered a revival. As the look became more extreme, the sole of the creepers seemingly did too!

One notable wearer of Creepers in the 1970's was, of course, Malcolm Mclaren.

Today, Creepers have been adopted for wear by all sorts of subcultures and fashion tribes and have become so sartorially popular that in recent seasons they have been seen reinvented on the catwalks of Fashion Week.

Prada's SS11 show featured shoes derived from a Creeper's shape, but mixing elements
of brogue, espadrille and even the trainer.

The company of George Cox is still producing Creepers to this day, and is continuing to innovate their classic Creeper. Their current collection for Oki-Ni is testament to the shoemakers versatility and continued innovation.

The Suede Creeper Boot is a fresh alternative to the classic creeper,
£170 from Oki-Ni.

 What are your opinions on the Brothel Creeper?


  1. Hi, really enjoyed this post, was researching the history of brothel creeps for my blog(fellow fan) and this was the second hit on the list from my Google search. Really like you blog.


  2. I, too was doing research on the creeper for a possible blog of my own, and landed here at yours. I've had quite a few pairs of creepers over the years, and have always been interested. Thanks for writing this!

  3. The Windsor Style by Suzy Menkes (Publishing Date:1988)
    The Windsor Style on page 102 refers to the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII/Duke of Windsor) as visiting New York in 1924 wearing a pair of tan suede "Brothel Creepers": "The Prince had scandalized society by arriving in New York in 1924 wearing tan suede brothel creepers with a wide-lapelled double-breasted light grey suit." The Duke of Windsor is quoted as saying regarding this incident: "I noticed that my American friends were looking down at my feet with some embarrassment," he says, "Finally someone explained that the wearing of these shoes in America was regarded as effeminate, to say the least of it." There was no photo or illustration of the brothel creepers that the Duke of Windsor is here referring to, so there would be no way to know if the shoe he is referring to the same style of shoe as mentioned in this article. It does perhaps indicate that the term " brothel creeper" could have been in use in the 1920's, which is quite a bit earlier than the post WWII reference in this article. Would love to find out more about this.