Brothel Creepers

Creepers or brothel creepers are a type of shoe usually with suede uppers and thick crepe soles.

They found their beginnings in the years following World War II, as soldiers based in the deserts in North Africa wore suede boots with hard-wearing crepe rubber soles because of the climate and environment. Having left the army, many of these ex-soldiers found their way to the nightspots of London wearing the same crepe-soled shoes and these became known as "brothel creepers".

In the late 1950s, these shoes were taken up by the Teddy Boys along with drainpipe trousers, draped jackets, bolo ties, quiff and pompadour haircuts, and velvet or electric blue clothes. This style of shoe was developed in 1949 by George Cox and marketed under the "Hamilton" name, based on George Cox Jr.'s middle name.[1]

Also, self-made brothel creepers were taken by soviet subculture stilyagi (rus. стиляги) in mid-50's. They were calling them "ботинки на манной каше", literally men's "shoes on semolina", because they used to call thick crepe sole "semolina".

The brothel creeper regained popularity in the early 1970s when Malcolm McLaren sold them from his "Let it Rock" shop in London's Kings Road. Teddy Boys were the obvious customers, but the brothel creeper still proved to be popular among regular customers[2] when McLaren and his partner Vivienne Westwood changed the shop to more rocker-oriented fashion.

The shoe has since been adopted by subcultures such as indie, ska, punk, new wavers, psychobilly, greasers and goth, Japanese Visual Kei, and was noted[by whom?] as the footwear of choice of Bananarama.

The original George Cox creepers are hard to find, but British Boot Company has a large selection and is now the main agent in the United Kingdom for George Cox.[3]

In Norway, they are called "traktorsko", literally "tractor shoes".

Due to the resurgence in popularity of grunge culture, creepers became much more mainstream in 2011 with popular artists such as R&B singers Rita Ora and Rihanna [4] wearing pairs by Underground England.


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