It’s been a while since I last posted, so I thought I’d get back into this with a creepers review.
The creeper is an iconic shoe of British subcultures from Teddy Boys and Rockabillies to Punks and Goths. When I first saw a pair of black suede triple sole creepers, I knew these statement shoes were going to be an essential part of my style and my go-to shoes.
The question I always get asked when I wear my triple sole creepers is whether they’re easy to walk in. But, with a shoe this iconic, does it even matter?
In this review, I’ll share a few things you should know about the single, double, and triple sole creepers from Underground*, to help you choose the pair that’s right for you.
*The fit, style, and weight of creepers varies between brands. Although I have worn creepers from other brands, I only own Underground creepers and cannot comment/advise on other brands (e.g. T.U.K Shoes, Demonia, Strange Cvlt, and high street fashion brands).
Disclaimer: I have previously worked with Underground as a model for their social media. I am not affiliated with Underground and have not been requested or commissioned to write this post. All opinions expressed are my own.
A Brief History of Creepers
You might be surprised to learn that the creeper shoe, as we know it today, was originally inspired by the crepe-soled desert boots adopted by British soldiers posted in North Africa during WWII.
These suede boots with their thick hard-wearing crepe rubber were an essential in the heat and sandy terrain of the North African desert. And when the troops returned to England, their boots came with them.
Ever wondered why creeper shoes are called brothel creepers? Well, it turns out they were named after the soldiers who would venture to the brothels of Soho and King’s Cross on their return.
In 1949, George Cox become the first company to commercially produce creepers in England under the name “Hamilton” (they’re still in business today). Since its inception, the creeper has remained prominent in British subculture fashion spanning decades.
It started off as the shoe of choice for the Teddy Boys in the 50s, and were also worn by Rockers and Rockabillies. Even as subcultures evolved and new subcultures formed, the creeper has seemingly withstood the test of time with multiple resurgences over the decades. In the 70s they were popular with Punks, and as Post-punk gave birth to the Goth subculture in the 80s, they too adopted the creeper.
The creeper has appeared on runways and even found its way into mainstream fashion in recent years such as the Puma Creeper release in 2015 by Puma in collaboration with Rihanna, which has been very popular among sneakerheads.
Single Sole Creepers
These were the first pair of “real” creepers I ever owned (real because they’re by a brand who specialise in creepers). These creepers retail for £135, but I was on a student budget when I wanted these and snagged this pair off eBay for £10.99!
Single sole creepers are the easiest to walk, but one thing you’ll notice straight away is that Underground creepers are much heavier compared to a high street pair. I love a heavy shoe, but it’s something to bear in mind if heavy shoes aren’t for you.
The pair I have are in dusty pink; I love the contrast between the dusty pink suede leather with the black interlacing and piping detail. I think this shade has been discontinued, but I’ve linked the peach shade above which is a close match.
Sadly, the colour has bleached out over time from poor care,so these images don’t capture just how beautiful these were – I highly recommend you look up how to take care of suede shoes.
Double Sole Creepers
The King Tut creeper is smart as hell and very rock ‘n’ roll. The design is similar to the Original Wulfrun creeper, but with a shiny statement buckle instead of D-rings and laces. I’ll always prefer creepers in suede leather, but the King Tuts were made for smooth leather and make the perfect work shoes when I’m feeling fancy.
I bought this pair from Underground’s flagship store in Soho with the model voucher I received after working with them.
The front of these creepers is much narrower than the Original Wulfruns, so if you have wide feet like I do, they might pinch a bit – I haven’t had much problem with this though.
You’ll definitely notice the extra height on the double soles, but it’s nothing your brain won’t adjust to within a few steps. These are perfect for when you want to look smart with a bit of extra height, without towering over people.
Triple Sole Creepers
If you prefer a shoe with a bit more height and that will turn heads, then the triple sole creepers are for you.
These are the most difficult to learn to walk in if you’re not used to big shoes as they’re heavy and chunky. But they’re fucking cool, so it’s definitely worth the patience! It took me a couple of wears to get used to these, but it might take you a little longer if you’re not used to wearing platforms.
The trick with these is to make sure you tie them up tightly, as if your life depends on it! This will increase ankle support and reduce the chance of your ankles wobbling or giving way, especially on uneven surfaces. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve put these on in a rush and almost toppled over on my way to work – save yourself the embarrassment!
I often wear these to work and am fine to speed walk and half-run in these. However, be warned that your feet and calves will probably hurt after wearing these a whole day.
If you experience any long-term conditions or pain anywhere from the hip down (particularly the knees), DO NOT invest in the triple sole creepers. I say this as someone with knee problems and I can feel the further damage they’re doing every time I wear them.
Instead, I recommend the single or double soles as they put less pressure on your knees.
These retail for £185, but again, being on a student budget, I bought this pair off eBay for £55.
So, are creepers easy to walk in?
Single and double soles are pretty easy to walk in. The triple soles take a little more getting used to depending on your experience walking in platforms.
The only other thing to note is that prolonged wear can hurt the heel of your foot due to the flatness of the shoe. How much this affects you depends on how sensitive your feet are in general and whether you’re used to wearing platform shoes.
Getting the right size!
The general consensus with Underground-wearers is their creepers come up slightly big as their shoes are gender-neutral. So, if you’re in between sizes, I recommend sizing down for the single, double, and triple sole creepers.
I’m a size 6.5 UK and opted for a size 6UK (38EU). My girlfriend is between a UK size 5-6 and found the size 5 fit well. She has much skinnier feet than me, so she uses insoles to make them snug.
The best place to buy creepers
There are many popular creeper brands you can check out. If you want to buy a pair of Underground creepers, I suggest you head directly to their store in Soho rather than buying a pair on their website. The reason for this is that Underground seem to have a few ongoing order fulfilment and supply issues, but it also means you can try before you buy.
If in-store isn’t an option for you, Office stock a select few creepers by Underground.
I also recommend checking out eBay and Depop for Underground creepers if splurging on a new pair isn’t an option or if, like me, you prefer to buy second-hand in general.
Ethics & Vegan Alternatives
I have reached out to Underground a couple of times for a response on where their leather is sourced from and I am still waiting to hear back from them. I will update this post if I hear back.
Underground have a vegan collection made from lorica. I haven’t tried these out, but please let me know if you do!
One final thing I wanted to touch on – and it’s something I’ll be doing in all my future posts – is representation of people of colour (POC) and other underrepresented groups.
As with the majority of alternative brands, Underground are not representative of POC which can be seen on their website and Instagram.
I got in touch with Underground via Instagram back in August 2018 to ask them about how they select their models as their Instagram feed is not inclusive of POC (except a few examples of tokenism) and I mentioned that I’d be happy to source models or model for them. I didn’t hear back and followed up in September 2018 when they eventually responded.
They didn’t address my concerns, but I ended up modelling for them in October 2018 with the hope that it would make some sort of difference – it didn’t.
Reflecting on this experience, this was the first time I realised that taking the “kind” approach when calling out brands doesn’t always bring about the desired results and certainly doesn’t mean you’ll be heard.
The naïve part of me though that being booked to model meant more than it actually did, and in hindsight I would have taken the opportunity to use my voice before and during that experience more than I actually did.
All of this doesn’t mean we should stop buying from brands that continue to make these mistakes but taken as a reminder that we need to continue calling out our favourite brands with the hope that they will listen and change.
Purely based on the comfort and aesthetic of the shoes, Underground is my favourite creeper specialist. I have tried other creepers, but none have felt as good to wear from the first try as Underground’s Original collection.
Overall, the creepers I own from Underground are comfortable, as long as you can put up with the weight. And if, like me, big shoes are your thing, you won’t be disappointed with their triple sole creepers.