Crocs Were Once The Most Hated Shoe In America, Now People Are Saying They're Cool
Good news: Crocs are cool again! Actually, were Crocs ever cool to begin with? No one knows. The history of Crocs is filled with unexpected surprises, but no one was shocked to learn that the creator of the goofy shoes didn't care that they weren't fashionable. He was more interested in the comfort the revolutionary material offered customers.
While the brand's "form follows function" approach to creation has caused some big names in fashion to condemn them, it doesn't seem like most fans of Crocs care about the what the haters have to say. Perhaps people who wear Crocs aren't wrong, since some major fashion designers have recently collaborated with the brand, and a few fashionistas have been seen sporting the odd shoe.
While Crocs very well may be one of the worst fashion trends of all time, Rihanna wore a pair in public, so now we all have to talk about them. That's how it works.
A British Fashion Designer Showcased Marbled, Gem-Encrusted, And Fur-Lined CrocsPhoto: Christopher Kane
For a time, it seemed like Crocs were forever destined to be the most unfashionable shoe in the world, but then the fashion industry suddenly embraced the goofy but practical footwear. In 2017, British designer Christopher Kane sent his models down the runway wearing Crocs that were marbled, gem-encrusted, and fur-lined.
Of the decision, Kane said, “I’ve always been a fan of the iconic Crocs Clog. I like that they are perceived by some to be quite ‘ugly’ and not at all feminine or designed to flatter.” These high-end Crocs were then sold by some stores for as much as $375. One can only assume that anyone who paid that much broke in their new Crocs by taking a stroll through some muddy water.
Balenciaga Featured Platform Crocs During Paris Fashion Week
When #Balenciaga takes on crocs, you already know it's going to be far from basic. #PFW pic.twitter.com/r2NlP4FYjy— HELLO! India (@HELLOmagIndia) March 10, 2018
During the 2018 Paris Fashion Week, the Balenciaga show featured models in platform Crocs decorated with high-end charms. These platform Crocs were then sold on Barney’s for $850. Who would pay that much for Crocs? Apparently, a lot of people; pre-orders for the Crocs sold out in the same day they were released.
Balenciaga is actually a brand known for taking something cheap or unfashionable and giving it a high-fashion makeover. Previously, Balenciaga released a $2,145 leather tote bag that looked exactly like those $0.99 Ikea totes.
Crocs Began With A Booze-Filled Vacation To The Florida KeysPhoto: Zorba the Geek / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
Crocs were created in 2002 by three 40-something friends who were on vacation in the Florida Keys. One friend was wearing a slip-resistant clog made of closed-cell resin, a material that's neither plastic nor rubber. The three friends spotted a business opportunity in these clogs, as their slip-resistant nature made them ideal for boating trips and vacations.
The trio began making plans to turn them into full-fledged shoes, and sell them on a larger scale. They developed the shoe's look by keeping the clog design, but adding a strap to the back. Once they realized that, like a crocodile, the shoes could perform equally well on land and in the water, the concept of Crocs was officially born.
The Company Found Immediate Success, But Hit A Wall In 2008Photo: MuLaN™ from Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
Crocs were an overnight success; when the shoe premiered at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in late 2002, all the pairs the creators brought with them sold out. Supporters of the shoe began cropping up far and wide, and by 2007, the company was earning $850 million per year, and moving about 50 million pairs of shoes annually. Crocs even acquired Jibbitz, a company that made charms for Crocs (those toy things you stick in the holes).
However, the company suffered during the economic collapse of 2008. That year, the Croc empire began to crumble, and the brand was hit with $200 million in losses (as compared to the $200 million growth they saw in 2007). By 2009, the company was almost out of money, so they shifted focus. With the launch of new shoe designs — in addition to the classic Crocs — the company pulled themselves up and found themselves back in the black.
Some Big Names In The Fashion Industry Hate CrocsPhoto: Pink Sherbet Photography / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0
The creators of Crocs never intended to sell a fashionable shoe. The three founders seemed more interested in the revolutionary material with which Crocs are made, as it makes them slip-resistant, dishwasher-safe, waterproof, and odor-free. Still, the fashion industry has said some harsh words about Crocs. Kim France, the editor-in-chief of Lucky, said, “Uggs I can make an argument for. Jellies also had their moment of being cute and cool. Crocs are just a pox.”
That's pretty rough, but there is perhaps no one in the world who hates Crocs more than Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn. Gunn said, “I can’t imagine a more aesthetically offensive item of footwear than Crocs. That little strap! I shudder. I know Crocs are affordable. Well, so are Converse and lots of other brands that don’t look like hooves.”
While some big names in the fashion industry have been vocal about their disapproval of Crocs, that hasn’t affected the brand, which is run by people who are too comfy to care about what anyone else thinks.
Both Rihanna And Former Presidents Seem To Enjoy Crocs
George Bush wearing crocs: a historical moment that must be shared with the world pic.twitter.com/sn0sNmGFJq— veronica cervone (@veronicaaaaxo) March 1, 2017
Many famous names have warmed up to Crocs. In 2017, former POTUS George W. Bush was spotted wearing Crocs with socks. Kate Middleton has been spotted wearing Crocs on several occasions, and even dressed Prince George in Crocs. Rihanna, who makes everything she wears appear fashionable, donned a pair of Crocs.
Helen Mirren loves Crocs so much, she wore a pair on The Tonight Show. Even if the fashion industry has given the shoe brand a lot of flak, many celebrities appear to think differently.