My signature shoe in cognac - ETA creepers are keepers!

I can't believe my luck. I just walked into my favourite vintage store and found these. My signature shoe, absolute mint condition, in an extremely rare colour.

These are original George Cox creepers, bench made in England. Regulars may recall the hoops I had to jump through to buy my other pair.

So here's the new addition. In cognac. Not a colour I wear very often, but one I'm in the mood to embrace (thanks in no small part to Angie's influence :P )

Two problems though:

  1. They are a size larger than I normally wear. With an insole and a woolly sock they will fit, but not as comfortably as the others.
  2. The cognac colour way (which I love!) reads as very menswear and makes an already chunky shoe look even larger.

These could be a great thing to put in a web shop. They are a real rarity and I think the right shoe aficionado would pay significantly more than I did. On the other hand, I would love to wear them myself! I can suck up the size problem if I think I can make the look work.

What do you ladies think?

Yay - quirky androgynous cool and JFE! keep and wear!
Nay - great for the shop! sell them on for a fast buck!

PS: they have another pair! Plain brown, not quite so lovely, but still darned cool. Should I go back for them and put them in the shop too?

UPDATE: Creepers are keepers! 

I managed to work a quick pickup into my schedule today and brought the shoes home for a tryout. It took a bit of hacking but I’m pretty sure they’re a good fit now. Possibly even better than the first pair and good enough to come on holiday with me next month. I’ve explained how I did it in the comment below

Thrilled to bits!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Helen11 replied 3 years ago

    Quirky androgynous cool.....but too big. I always think I can make too-big shoes work ok. But they are never comfortable. Maybe you have better luck. Do buy the other pair, though!

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Helen: I have big, wide, chunky feet that fall between sizes. I sometimes take a size up to make way for woolly socks and it's rarely a problem. But it's a good point - they'll fit someone else perfectly. 

  • Stephanie replied 3 years ago

    I once bought a pair of shoes half a size too big for me which I absolutely LOVED, but they didn't fit right. I had to do the insole/sock thing like you mentioned above and even then, they just weren't right. They became closet orphans as I reached for my shoes that did fit properly every time. I'd say it all comes down to fit and comfort - if you don't mind the bigger size and it won't bug you too much then go for it! But you could also make another shoe lover very very happy, which sometimes makes rare finds like this easier to pass on. :)

  • Deborah replied 3 years ago

    They are so cool, and they bookend your hair beautifully!!  I just wonder, if they are not a colour you wear much and they are really too big, perhaps sell them and you never know another pair could come your way in your size.  Do go and get the brown ones :)

  • Tania replied 3 years ago

    Oh, I love these in general and on you. If the size can work for you, I'd keep. You can always sell them down the road.

  • skylurker replied 3 years ago

    1- Only you can tell if you can walk with them. In my experience, it's possible to walk in 1/2 size too big laced-ups (impossible with too big slip-ons).

    2- I love the colour, and it looks good on you (bookends your hair, you know). Actually I like these creepers very much, and I don't usually like creepers or flatforms. They don't look too chunky or large, with their tapered toes.
    At that point, I must remind you I have a preference for "very menswear" shoes.

    No idea how profitable selling them could be and if it's worth your time and down payment to go fetch the other pair.

    ETA : forgot to say, I love your outfit.

  • Elizabeth P replied 3 years ago

    I had completely missed your earlier story about tracking down these shoes... I've now read all about it :)  Fascinating!  And I admire your tenacity to get what you want.

    So, wrt these ones... if you are going to sell them yourself, is there anything to be lost by hanging on to them for a while and seeing if you reach for them?  If they are comfortable on you for long periods of time, or if the size makes them an orphan.  I guess if they are in mint condition, then the value may drop a bit.  But I doubt you'll put much wear and tear on them if they get orphaned, which is why you'd sell them.... if they get worn a lot, then you'll hang on to them.  Win win in my book!

    They do bookend your hair so amazingly.

  • Ginger replied 3 years ago

    If you really can handle the size, I would definitely keep them. Being vintage, you won't lose anything by keeping and wearing for a while, and you can always sell them on if they end up not working out!

  • unfrumped replied 3 years ago

    Beautiful shoes but this is so much a " foot feel" thing.
    If it's s size that works BECAUSE you like to wear dock and this is the size you wear for that( I have some shoes that " allow" nude hose if socks , and some tgat I have to choose 1/2 size up or down and dedicate to one way if the other), and if you like how your feet look- I do not like to wear a bigger shoe than I have to!
    I would not wear them if they're really too big. I think that will subtly or not subtly affect how you view them.

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    Well, first of all, I love the color on you -- it plays really well with what you're wearing here, and the warm tone bookends your hair nicely. As for the size/comfort issue, I've bought larger shoes and done the thick insole/sock thing before. It's been very successful in a couple of instances, and not so much in one (but that was a pair of boots, and the looseness extended into the ankle, which looked baggy, so eventually I sold those).

    At the very least, I would say you should get the other brown pair and put them in the shop. I would wear the cognac pair around the house and see if you feel compelled to reach for them when getting dressed. You already know that these will never be quite as perfect as the first pair, and only you can know whether that will end up coloring your feelings about them. I do think they look great though.

    And I love the pants too! Gah, I wish I could find that style that would work for someone hip-and-thigh-endowed :-(

  • Cerinda replied 3 years ago

    Those shoes qualify as objects of beauty in their own right!  You've styled them beautifully, too.

    That said, since they're such rarities, I don't see you have anything to lose by trying them out (gently) for a few weeks.  If they make your feet unhappy then you can add them to your retail stock.

  • viva replied 3 years ago

    I completely agree with Cerinda, who put it beautifully. These are amazing finds as works of art. Try them for a while, and if they are not right enough, add them to your stock. What a find!

  • JAileen replied 3 years ago

    They bookend your hair beautifully. If they are comfortable, keep. Otherwise, sell.

  • CocoLion replied 3 years ago

    I'm with Cerinda.  And I love them on you!

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Thanks ladies! As always, I know you'll give me the best advice.

    Deborah, Janet, Helen11: I swung by the shop again this afternoon and asked them to put the brown pair to one side for me until next week. I think they will be wonderful to have in the shop to establish an English punk/classic aesthetic. 

    Meanwhile, I'm going to test drive these around the house with socks and insoles and let my feet decide, as per Janet's suggestion. If they don't work, they'll probably make another English shoe nerd very happy, as Stephanie says.

    But, Elizabeth P, Ginger, they won't go outdoors until I'm absolutely sure, because if I do sell them, I'd like to keep them spick and span for their next owner. 

    skylurker, you're right about lace-up shoes being easier to size up. That's been my experience as well. In fact, I do sometimes wish my current pair were wearable with a thicker sock, so I think these may end up being almost as comfortable.

    And yes, I do remember your sensational shoes from the London meet-up - they're the perfect finishing touch to your impeccable style! You should post a picture sometime for everyone else to drool over.

    Cerinda: styled?? surely you jest! this is what I threw on this morning! (thinking the while of Ginger's planning thread from yesterday.) I did buy these pants because they look so good with creepers though, so there's that.

    Speaking of which, Janet, we missed a trick. If we'd met while you were in the 'Dam recently I could have taken you to meet the designer. :P They are indeed great pants.

    And  unfrumped, Tania, viva, JAileen, CocoLion - thanks for the feedback. Consensus seems to be that I should give them a tryout at the very least.

    ETA: a snap of the brown ones. A little more subtle and understated, but still a great shoe.

  • AviaMariah replied 3 years ago

    You need shoes that color - bookends your hair great.  I love those shoes on you , the only thing that gives me pause is the size.

  • catgirl replied 3 years ago

    If you can really wear them then of course keep!  They have MEANING to you - that's another factor for my list. :)

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    As much as I want you to have these shoes, Liz - the colour is WOW DELISH with your hair - I can't move past the fact that they are the wrong size and don't fit as well as they should. I am a stickler for fit so that's where that is coming from. I was a nay vote. 

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    AviaMaria: I probably do, but they'll have to fit me first ;)

    Una: absolutely! That meaning makes them even more valuable as a brand asset. Either way it's a win. 

    Angie: I hear you. I've no intention of messing these up for the sake of my vanity, they're far too good for that. That said, I know from experience that a size up doesn't necessarily mean a bad fit with heavy shoes like this. Some of my best boots ever have been a bit big on my chunky feet. And they tend to last longer like that.

    I should also point out that I haven't actually tried them yet with insoles and thick socks. I had to post and run this afternoon and I've left them at my workspace. I have a busy weekend ahead and I don't know if I'll have the chance to pick them up before Monday. 

    I'll just have to be patient. ;)

  • Firecracker replied 3 years ago

    Sounds like you have figured out what to do on the shoes. I agree they are beautiful on you and love them with your hair.
    And add me to the list of pant admirers. I thought they might be one of your designs. The sheen on that fabric is part of the appeal for me, too.

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Liz, you know your feet better than I do. If you can make this size work comfortably - keep the shoes!

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    I did it! I made them fit!

    First impressions were that boot socks and insoles delivered a comfortable fit in the toe box but too much slip in the heel. A quick Google on heel grips pointed me straight back here (surprise!) with the news that no, they don't work. Potential deal breaker!

    I had better luck on the menswear forums, where I found out about tongue pads for lace up shoes. Turns out that a little cushioning above the instep will fix slippage in much the same way as heel lock lacing in trainers. I tested this out with a paper towel and it works like a charm.

    It’s hard to tell with an unbroken shoe but I think it’s likely that the extra space and cushioning will make them even more comfortable than the first pair, which are an all day shoe in their own right. Contingent, of course, on finding actual tongue pads at the cobblers, because paper towels are clearly not the answer.

    Firecracker: super nice fabric eh? I have a pile of remainders from the production run in the stash. Who knows, maybe it will feature in the slash&couture spring collection…

    And Angie, thanks for the encouragement. You're quite right, nobody should settle for a bad fit. Not with shoes.

  • Staysfit replied 3 years ago

    These look beautiful on you. I have used tongue pads before when my shoes have stretched out and they work well. I purchase extra because they can fall out after several months of heavy use.

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Staysfit, thanks! I'll probably buy a few of them as you suggest, because this is a frequent problem with fitting shoes on my wide toes and narrow heels. It might work on some other shoes, and I do like to have the option to size up once in a while. 

  • skylurker replied 3 years ago

    thanks for the info, I had never heard of Tongue Pads.

    Since we're getting practical ;) how do you find the crepe soles Liz ? They're supposed to be very slippery in wet weather, that's always stopped me from buying shoes with crepe soles.

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    heh, skylurker, neither has anyone else! Tried to buy them this morning at my regular cobbler and they drew a blank. Going to have to try the specialists.

    As for the crepe sole, it's been fine in wet conditions throughout the summer. I haven't worn this brand in winter yet, so I don't know how bad it might get when the temperature drops and the rubber hardens... I'll keep you posted. 

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    Count me as another who has never heard of tongue pads, but what a briliant idea. I dare say that such a thing would have made quite a few pairs of shoes and boots work better for me over the years, since I have low-volume feet, and I frequently have to lace things up as tight as possible yet they are still roomy through that part of my foot, particularly on my right foot which is a little smaller. That would allow me to increase the padding on the smaller foot and leave the larger one unpadded.

    LOL at the idea of stuffing paper towels in your shoes every day. ;-) I am glad you can make these work for you! Can you order tongue pads online if they're hard to find locally?

    Oh, and I wish we had planned for a meetup in Amsterdam! As you know, it was such a spur-of-the-moment visit (we never thought we were going to leave Scandinavia!). I fully intend to return someday, and we'll have to meet then. J and I frequently reminisce about that trip, especially Amsterdam! We just loved it. :-) I am now pretty smitten with the idea of riding a bike across the Netherlands and maybe Belgium. It just looked so beautiful.

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Yeah, the tongue pad is an elusive beast. I may have to order online or make them out of something other than paper towels.

    That said, I've been trying them indoors today with a few different socks. A winter hiking sock doesn't need the either the pad or the insole and when I lace them up tight the slippage is almost nothing. I thought the others were fine, but oh! so nice to wear a favourite shoe with a really good performance sock. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if this wasn't the size I should have bought in the first place.

    What can I say. Feet are weird. Sizing is weird. They still need breaking in but early signs are promising.

    Janet, yeah, would have been fun, but don't worry. Not every holiday needs to be an epic forum meet-up and nor should it be. But this is a great place for a biking trip: we have the infrastructure and you can travel between cities very easily. The downside is the terrible weather.

  • Ginger replied 3 years ago

    Can you mimic a tongue pad with some moleskin?

  • Astrid replied 3 years ago

    Great to hear you found a way to make them work for you! My favourite socks for boots/booties are hiking socks and they're awesome, I just got a second pair last week. They're wool socks from Veith. Those combined with all leather boots made it possible that I could do the last one week Italy trip with a single pair of shoes and absolutely no blisters or damaged feet.

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Ginger: I'm not quite sure what the ideal material is. I'm also a bit concerned about gluing anything to the uppers. I'm wondering about taking them to a specialist cobbler and getting them to stitch something in.

    Astrid: they look like really nice socks! I'll have to look out for them. Do you use a liner with those? (Need some for my hiking boots!)

  • Astrid replied 3 years ago

    No liner, no. I just wear them on their own in hiking shoes or over hose with boots. My first pair is now over a year old and got a lot of wear and there are no holes or anything. I have the light version of the hiking socks and now added the ankle length ones, I think they will be perfect for the booties.

  • tulle replied 3 years ago

    You are so right:  feet ARE wierd.  Mine are of the bony, low-volume variety, and like Janet, I felt a lightbulb pop at the words "tongue pad." I've been wearing a pair of oxfords today (sort of a ladies' knock-off of your cool shoes) and feeling slightly annoyed by the slipping of my right heel, and the way I had to pull the laces until the sides overlapped to make the shoes fit tightly enough.  I remembered some foam innersoles in my closet, and just tried inserting one halfway into my shoe in the position I imagine a tongue would occupy, and voila! A snug fit at heel and instep, and shoes laced without overlap.  I will definitely look for tongue pads, but meanwhile, I'll just cut the innersoles to the right size & shape for the job.  Thanks, Approprio!

  • Cerinda replied 3 years ago

    The tongue pads I USED to get at the cobbler's were made of wool felt and then stitched in place, replaced when they eventually compressed. Maybe three times the thickness of moleskin  I had totally forgotten about them.

    If anyone finds these old friends, please share!

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Astrid: I know what you mean about investment socks! When you're used to paying a fiver for three, it's hard to credit what a difference a good pair makes. I have a few in my drawer which have long outlived the shoes I originally bought them for!

    tulle, Cerinda: yeah, I know, right? I never would have thought of it, but as soon as you put it in, it seems so obvious! I'm amazed that this simple little trick seems too have fallen into obscurity. 

    Anyway. Shoes are on their maiden voyage right now, au naturel with Bridgedale hiking socks. I've hoofed around town a bit and they feel pretty nice :) I'll wear them in a bit before I figure out whether it's worth the time/effort/investment to adjust for slippage. 

  • replied 3 years ago

    Catching up on forum time and can't believe I missed this: Just want to say your outfit is just fabulous, amazin, WOW! I can tell you're a fashion designer :) I love those pants, especially as you've styled them here. The shoes bookend your hair beautifully, and I'm off to try to create some tongue pads for my too-large Paul Greene creepers (though my problem is I'm not used to so much shoe in front and keep tripping over my own feet, but then I'm naturally clumsy to begin with).

  • marianna replied 3 years ago

    Cool!!! Gorgeous color and what an interesting style. They look fab on you!

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