This post has been rolling around in my head for a while because I wasn’t sure that this question about creepers was entirely worth asking. I vacillated between “that would be a dumb post because obviously, no, ska is dead and there’s nothing cute or new about creeper style platform shoes” and the other side of my personality countered with this pro-creeper argument:
Pretty compelling argument, right? Once I saw the photo of the woman in black with the green coat, I became a fiend for more gorgeous photos of women in creepers. Let me tell you – it’s tough to find great outfit photos that include creepers, much less a woman over 22 wearing creepers. (Sadly, not everyone can get away with the bright-orange-hair-black-lipstick look, and that’s okay. If we all rocked that look, it would be soooo b-o-r-i-n-g.) Most gals I found were rocking the stereotypical punk remnants: plaid skirts, torn up fishnets, coquettish outfits… It’s just not my style.
I used to be into that kind of caricature style, but I’m freaking 30 and not only is it uncute~ for someone my age to try to dress like I work at Hot Topic, I also just think it looks predictable and boring to revive a trend along with the original components of its previous notoriety. We know what the 1980s looked like, and these were more popular in the 1970s punk scene, anyway! Transform it into something new! Work it into a completely unrelated style and wardrobe – that’s what impresses the hell out of me.
But obviously, by all means, wear whatever you want as long as you feel awesome in it.
Generational differences are already occurring in regards to creepers, because when I searched for information about these iconic shoes, I was presented with information about all platform soled ankle shoes, and brands like Puma have already come out with their own version of creepers, blurring the lines between flatform and creeper.
When I think creeper, I mean the platform shoe with a thick, crepe sole, sometimes with weaving at the toe, and occasionally the toe is tapered and exaggerated. These shoes were invented in the 1940s, shockingly enough – and if you want to get specific, they’re actually brothel creepers. They were inspired by the style of a group of Londonmusic nerds who were called “Teddy Boys” (there were also Teddy Girls!) who, post WWII, wore their military-issued boots with Edwardian-inspired finery in the city’s clubs and cafes. A company called George Cox created the common brothel creeper style based on the Teddy Boys attire, and became an instant staple in the Teddy Boy wardrobe.
In the 1970s, their popularity was revived, inspiring people like Vivienne Westwood and the punk scene to make creepers an iconic part of fashion history. In pretty much every consecutive decade, creepers sought a revival and won. Eventually, shoe designers began to take that iconic, fluted sole and construct new shapes for the rockabilly/punk scene, including babydoll (dolly) shoes, boots, and standard oxford uppers.
I’m still not sure how I could work them into my wardrobe, though, without feeling like I was playing dress-up in a costume shop. Then again, the gals in the beginning of this post make it look effortless. Adding creepers to an all black, Bad Sandy outfit is really smart and clever, I think! Replacing your everyday oxfords with platform creepers is ballsy, and considering the fact that creepers come in all kinds of styles from subtle to screaming, I think it might be something I’d like to try.
Fortunately for us, there are companies like T.U.K. from San Diego who have been ruling the world of creepers since they were last in style – the early nineties.
The vast majority of T.U.K.’s creepers are under $100, and include extremely appealing creeper materials like red crushed velvet, blue patent leather, and excellent wingtips. There are great representations of each era of creeper shoes, and their options range from subtle (for replacing your standard flats with something a bit more… elevated) to flashy and loud – I’m looking at you, green velvet!
T.U.K. is also liberal with their sole heights, as well. The same sole has been stretched and extended to up to six inches! Combine that with a patent leather upper or black & white checkerboard patterns and you’re not being subtle anymore. If you’re looking to make a statement, considering adding these iridescent, patent leather wingtip creepers to your list. (All of these T.U.K. shoes except the white perforated pair are vegan, by the way!)
Other alternative shoe brands have given the creeper a good college try, as well. Dr. Martens, for one, almost always has at least one on rotation. The Ashley creepers feature the classic Dr. Martens sole – not quite the same, but not totally unappealing, either!
So what’s the verdict? How do you feel about these ever-present kicks?
Would you wear creepers?