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Crepe Rubber

Crepe Rubber – What is it and Where Does it Come From?

crepe-rubber-what-is-it-and-where-does-it-come-fromImage via Persuasive Products

In the shoe and boot world, leather and hard rubber soles are commonplace, but a softer, less common variant appears from time to time—Crepe Rubber. This crinkly, cushioning material is famous for appearing on the sole of the iconic Clarks Desert Boot, and many brands still use it today for a softer sole.


What is Crepe Crepe Rubber?

Crepe, or Plantation Rubber, is a natural material that’s predominantly made from latex tapped from trees like the Pará rubber tree. After being harvested in liquid form from the tree, the raw latex is then coagulated to form a semi-solid substance, and then crushed, pressed, and rolled into sheets using a series of machines. Now a solid material, the sheets of Crepe Rubber are then sent to manufacturers—such as Clarks or Yuketen—to be cut into soles for shoes and boots.


There are other types of crepe rubber available that utilize slightly different production methods, such as Estate Brown Crepe and Pale Latex Crepe, but the core process of coagulating latex remains in most variants. Crepe Rubber is often sweet-smelling and crinkly in appearance, but textures and composition can vary from sole to sole. Some Crepe Rubbers can be stiff and almost as hard as leather sole upon purchase—requiring some breaking in—while others will be softer and provide more traction form the get-go.


Image via Green Farms Cam Plantations


The Pros and Cons of Crepe Rubber


  • Affordability — Crepe rubber has a relatively low production cost, which in turn can lower the cost of products that use the material.
  • Comfort — As it softens more and more with each wear, the material provides excellent traction and cushioning for your feet. Some hail Crepe soles as the most comfortable, and brands often add a crepe sole their mainstay models for a more comfortable option.
  • Sustainability — Tapping rubber does not harm trees. In fact, a single tree can be tapped regularly for up to 40 years, and produce up to 19 pounds of latex rubber every year.


  • Cleaning — Because they are so abrasive, crepe rubber soles may get very dirty quickly, and once they are marked, it can be very challenging to get the rubber back to its natural color. Though the sticky Crepe holds on to dirt, you might be able to get rid of some surface markings, but discolouration is almost tough to undo.
  • Resoling — Many Crepe Soles are not replaceable, or indeed repairable.
  • Durability — If used on hard, uneven surfaces such as concrete repeatedly, crepe rubber will eventually degrade. But how thickly it has been carved will determine how long the sole lasts.

Iconic Usage of Crepe Rubber Soles

Clarks Desert Boot


The Clarks Desert Boot was first introduced in 1949 and was inspired by soldiers stationed in Burma who had bought boots with crepe soles from local vendors. The Desert Boot, a classic ankle-high boot composed of leather or suede with a heeled Crepe Sole, is still regarded as one of the most recognizable shoes ever manufactured.

Yuketen Angler Moc


Common Projects Chelsea Boot


Italian footwear label Common Projects uses a natural Crepe rubber sole on their iteration of the classic Chelsea Boot. With elasticated side gussets and a handsome suede upper, the heeled crepe sole provides extra traction

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