If no one else will, we'll take the stand: End the tyranny of Crocs.
In a nation as divided as this, for a while, I thought we were all united on at least one thing: Crocs are a fundamentally embarrassing shoe.
However, over the past few years, I have noticed something shifting in the air. Crocs seem to have gone from being laughable to … kind of cool? More and more people are stepping out sporting those atrocious foam clogs. It has now reached the point that it is impossible to ignore: The stock price is rising, and the streets aren't safe.
What's most surprising is who is wearing Crocs. It's not just the usual suspects — children who are too young to know better and adults who are past the point of caring, (and to them I say, godspeed). Over the past few years, crocs have been growing in popularity amongst people who consider themselves sartorially adept and whom others even consider cool.
The switch has flipped. Even before the pandemic pushed us into the warm embrace of the comfort of sweatpants and made us throw public opinion to the wind, Crocs were sneaking into the wardrobes and Instagram pictures of a whole new demographic.
It might be a consequence of the "relatable" aesthetic which has become dominant on Gen Z social media feeds — think: unfiltered photo dumps instead of curated posts with witty captions, imperfect TikToks, and a coolness in not taking oneself too seriously — which is reflected in their dominant cool girls like Emma Chamberlain.
It also might be part of the Gen Z penchant for irony, which has turned the shoe that we all grew up hating on into one of the hottest trends. But have we gone too far?
Suddenly, everyone is shameless with their Croc-wearing. First, the custom gibbets (the accessories you can put inside the holes of your crocs). Next, the outfit guides telling us how to wear Crocs (tip: don't). And it has recently culminated in an agonizing inundation of celebrity endorsements.
And yes, Questlove wore Crocs to the 2021 Oscars and Justin Bieber did his own collaboration with the brand (when Victoria Beckham said she would rather die than wear them … I felt that) but the 2021 spike in Croc clout can be directly traced to Miss Onika Maraj. Nicki … I blame you.
In advance of her Beam Me Up Scotty album re-release, Nicki Minaj posted a photo of her posing in pink Crocs, surrounded by Chanel — a juxtaposition if there ever was one. Immediately after, the shoes went so viral that the Crocs website crashed and the demand skyrocketed 4,900%. At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel. To each their own, I've been saying to myself, trying to let go and find peace.
But now, a photo has surfaced on the internet which is sure to haunt my dreams: a pair of heeled Crocs attributed to the new Balenciaga x Croc collaboration.
At first, many people assumed it was a joke, a play on Balenciaga's love for the strange, daring, and ironic — the qualities which have made it one of the top luxury brands, reading the room of the younger audience. However, photos from their runway show feature the heeled monstrosities, and they seem to be coming soon to retail stores near you.
This is not the first Balenciaga collaboration with Crocs. While Nicki Minaj's pink Crocs went viral, the Balenciaga pink platform Crocs became an internet phenomenon and were featured in the Met Museum's Camp exhibit in 2019.
When teasing that initial collaboration in 2017, designer Demna Gvasalia told French Vogue: "We were inspired by Crocs and we worked with them on a Balenciaga reinterpretation. Balenciaga x Crocs isn't impossible, the question of taste is a very subjective value. We'll see if this works in six months' time in the stores."
It seems the 2017 iteration must have been successful as the 2.0 launches. Considering the pro-Croc revolution, the Croc heels might be the shoe of the summer – especially if Nicki is spotted in them.