The Crocs Timeline: How The Foam Clogs Went From Hated To Loved
“The Ugliest Shoe Ever Made”
In 2002, brightly colored foam clogs named Crocs were released to utter derision by the masses. The chunky, child-like shoes made their debut at a Fort Lauderdale boat show and were instantly deemed by the culture to be one of the ugliest shoes on the planet.
However, it was undeniable; Crocs shoes were comfy. The soft, lightweight antimicrobial foam, the strap option for ‘sport mode’ — became a favorite among chefs, nurses, teachers, parents, and anyone who was on their feet all day. They’re non-slip and wipe clean, making them effective and easy to take care of. Plus, they were inexpensive and designed to last, making them a solid investment.
Still, hating Crocs was cool, with trend reports condemning them and blogs popping up solely to bemoan such fashion faux pas.
For a long time, they persevered thanks to their function alone.
The 2008 recession went counter to the culture of Crocs; business casual, interview-chic leaked into mainstream fashion. And there was less room for ridiculous, loud shoes that could deem you as unemployable.In 2009, the L.A. Times deemed the chunky shoes ‘dead,’ but predicted a resurgence.
“Maybe in a decade nostalgia will set in,” said [Rachel] Weingarten, author of Career and Corporate Cool. “Then a pair of hot-pink Crocs dug from the back of the closet might inspire misty-eyed memories: “Remember when we had ugly, Flintstone-looking feet?”
The other part of the brand’s downturn was its indestructibility. They were well-made! Crocs invested in Jibbitz for a range of shoe charms to adorn the shoes’ holes. However, whimsical colors and accessories didn’t convince people to buy pair after pair.
In 2017, Crocs went runway, sparking a full Crocs rebrand. Christopher Kane dressed his models in marbled versions, but it was Balenciaga’s S/S 2018 show that captivated the masses. Platform bubble-gum Crocs with a collection of charms that ranged from the French flag to an avocado were suddenly the epitome of trendy. And elevated these babies from their humble $34.99 ancestors. Functionality was traded for fashion, and the public was riveted.
Like Ugg and New Balance, Crocs revived a millennial childhood brand with the aid of celebrity collabs.
Post Malone, Saweetie, Alife, Bad Bunny, and Justin Bieber are just some of partnerships that release limited edition styles and colorways that retail on seller sites for hundreds - or even thousands - of dollars.
The Comeback Part II
March 2020’s lockdown led to an abundance of sweats and joggers, seriously reducing the necessity for footwear. People lived in their PJs. Masking up for the grocery store and walking the dog became the only journeys outside — why not made these excursions as comfy as can be?
The people went barefoot. The people stuffed heels and loafers into boxes. And if they didn’t have slippers or Crocs, they bought them - experiencing that online-shopping-glow, one of the only thrills available during that bleak period.
Personally, I gardened during the summer. My sneakers got muddy, sandals exposed too much of my feet to the elements. It was the foam clog that provided me the function and support I needed to dig up my backyard’s neverending mint. And it was the tie-dye graphic that made me chuckle, inspiring me to get outside.
Crocs’ slogan is Come As You Are, a proclamation that recalls the 1991 Nirvana song. It calls for customers to stand up, stand out, and, most importantly, be comfortable. Cause it’s hard to be your best self when your feet hurt.