The pros and cons of crepe shoe soles

A polarising style of sole.

Crepe soles are a style of rubber shoe sole often found on more casual shoes.
Perhaps the best known example of footwear with this style of sole is the Desert Boot, a chukka popularised by Clark’s. Other common styles with crepe soles include Wallabees, and some types of moccasins.
All casual styles.

A crepe sole is something you’ll either love or hate wearing, and you’ll learn quickly.
If you love them, you’ll find yourself wanting to wear them all the time.
If you don’t, you’ll find any pairs of footwear you own with crepe soles on them to spend most of their time languishing on the shoe rack.

There are some notable upsides to crepe soles.
Their remarkable sponginess means they have plenty of cushion and give; it can feel incredibly comfortable to walk around on them.
Light in weight, legend has it that the crepe sole was originally designed for British servicemen in the North African desert.
Crepe soles are often paired with suede uppers to craft a light, breathable shoe.

Grip is also quite good on a crepe sole given its serrated surface, which made it even more suited to its original purpose.

Shoes with crepe soles, more often than not, also tend to be quite inexpensive.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest cons for crepe soles is a near complete lack of arch support.
This is what quickly put me off of wearing desert boots, as I found my feet were hurting badly within a kilometre of walking.
The soles are also quick to dirty, in addition to being very difficult to clean. Unless the sole is made from black rubber, the underside soon will be.

These soles went from crisp and clean to looking like this, within 10 wears.

Given the casual appearance of crepe soles, it’s also rare to find them on a dressier shoe. If you’re looking for a more formal shoe, crepe soles won’t be your ideal port of call.

If you’re comfortable in shoes with minimal arch support and are looking for a casual style of shoe, something with a crepe sole may be perfect for you.
The inexpensive nature of most crepe soled shoes makes for a style that you can experiment with and not incur a great loss if you decide you don’t like them.

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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