For over 60 years, creepers have been the preferred footwear of British style tribes. In the 1950s, the suede shoes were sported by dapperly suited Teddy Boys. Later, in the 1970s, punks claimed the platforms as their own. Ironic, then, that a shoe so synonymous with rebelliousness finds its origins in the military.

British soldiers fighting in the North African deserts during World War II were issued thick rubber-soled boots. Made from layered sheets of coagulated latex, these crepe soles were inexpensive to produce. They yielded a soft foot strike, and were considered optimal for warmer weather work. According to contemporary creeper manufacturer T.U.K., thick, durable crepe soles “were ideal for helping deal with the extremities of the heat and the sandy terrain [of North Africa].”

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