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.
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.
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 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.
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.