One of the best, most high-end outsoles on the market? No, we’re not talking about anything from Nike, adidas, or Vibram – we’re talking about crepe soled shoes. These things boast a super light, and bouncy feel paired with solid traction. And to top it off, they go well with even more formal dress shoes and boots.
Most commonly found on Desert Boots, this outsole material has a kind of crinkly, textured look to it. This is a result of the way the material is sourced and processed. Crepe rubber is often pulled from a latex coagulate that’s then processed, and hung up in sheets to dry. Once fully parched, these sheets are layered and then cut into outsole shapes for stitching to the bottom of shoe.
While crepe soles may all look similar, there are actually a number of different types of crepe soles; PLC, EBC, and PVC. The latter is more an imitation crepe featuring the look of the unique rubber without actually benefiting from its lightweight feel. PLC, the most common, is made straight from raw latex and boasts the most bouncy feel. And finally EBC, a naturally coagulated rubber that is often collected right off of the bark of trees. Unfortunately, few shoe makers actually list the types of crepe they use – leaving it up to discerning buyers to figure out themselves. While there aren’t too examples of crepe soled shoes out there, we wanted to highlight some of what we think are the best crepe sole shoes for men as a kind of guide for our readers.
Clarks Original Desert Boot
If you’re going to own just one pair of crepe soled shoes, then it should be this pair from Clarks. The brand has been turning out desert boots for over 60 years now, and they’ve barely changed a thing – not because the brand is lazy, but because they don’t have to. They got it right the first time. This particular example of their desert boot is made from a Beeswax leather upper and features a crepe sole and a 1-inch heel. All things said a great workday shoe for wearing in to the office.
This pair of shoes from Sanders, a U.K. based shoe maker that’s been in operation since the late 1800s, features an almost sneaker-like look to it. Rather than featuring a Goodyear or Blake welt, it has a kind of crepe sidewall. In addition to the unique grey sole unit, the shoe boasts an attractive suede leather upper with a full leather lining on the inside. A high end pick to be sure.
Grenson Oscar Suede Desert Boots
A take on the famed desert boot, a shoe that was adopted by British Army while stationed in Burma, these crepe soled shoes from Grenson have a genuinely classic feel to them. The upper of the shoes are made from a structured, suede leather and are sewn to the crepe outsole with a Goodyear-welt. An ideal pair of boots to wear year-round.
PS By Paul Smith
When it comes to men’s boots, this may be one of the most comfortable pairs out there. Along with featuring the easy slip-on, elasticized chelsea style, they boast a crepe sole that nearly blends in with the suede upper. A great pick for those who are looking to find that line between formal and casual without sacrificing on comfort.
Dreis Van Noten Crepe Chelsea
While most takes on the Chelsea boot feature a slim cut of elasticated fabric near the ankle, Dries Van Noten opted for a broader swatch of the material for this crepe soled version of the popular boot. The result of this design choice is a comfortable fit, and a more unique look. In addition to the interesting use of elastic, Dries Van Noten also goes for a darker, brown crepe sole. All things said a great pear for rounding out a wardrobe.
Common Projects Suede Boots
When it comes to producing high-end minimalist sneakers, shoes, and boots – few brands are as on-point as Common Projects. Just take a look at these suede boots and you’ll see why the brand has such a cult following. The Italian ankle-high boots feature side zippers along the inside foot, and are attached to a pair of soft, light crepe outsole. And of course, as all Common Projects shoes do, these shoes feature a gold serial number along the outside heel.
A.P.C. Black Grisha Boots
For those who aren’t quite as keen on suede boots, this pair of chelsea boots from A.P.C. may be worth considering. They feature an elasticated fabric along the ankle, a leather pull loop at the heel, and a brown crepe rubber sole. For some extra warmth during the winters, the boots also offer a shearling lining. Warmth, style, and comfort – you can’t ask all too much more.
Acne Studios Julian Crepe Boot
While sleek, minimalist chelsea boots can be fun – they aren’t for everyone. A high-end alternative worth considering are this pair from Acne Studios. Their Julian boot features a calfskin leather upper and a unique wraparound strap with silver-toned buckle. The shoe’s crepe outsole is attached via a rubber welt for a fit that is as comfortable as the look is unique.
Thom Browne Sole Wingtip Boot
Wing-tip boots are pretty hard to deny as it stands. But make a pair from pebble grain leather, throw in a crepe outsole and a Thom Browne label? It’s not even fair. Made in England and fitted with a stand-out tricolor heal tab, these boots are ideal for those looking to sport a classic style with a totally unique twist.
Rick Owens Slim Para Chukka
While they’re definitely not desert boots, these Italian chukka’s from Rick Owens definitely have an old-school military vibe to them. The distressed suede used for the upper have a faded look to them, while the gunmetal hardware, faded army green laces, and crepe rubber sole all come together to imbue the shoes with a kind of rugged, military look.
27 Best Dress Shoes For Men
Want to broaden your search a bit? Don’t stop at crepe-sole shoes. Take a look at our rundown of the best dress shoes for men.