There have been a lot of unusual consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the one trend most people wouldn’t have predicted this year is the revival of the Croc. First appearing in 2002, Crocs quickly became a staple in our 2000s summer wardrobes; but the humble boating shoe did not retain its fans for as long as it had hoped. By the early 2010s, Crocs symbolised the middle-aged consumer who valued comfort over style, and the cosy clogs dropped off the radar as quickly as they came on.
An article published by the Washington Post in 2006 compared the shoes to ‘vermin‘, whilst Time Magazine included them on their 50 Worst Inventions list. Now 19 years on from their first launch, Crocs have reported an increase in sales by 64%, or $460.1 million, year on year. Chief Executive of the brand, Andrew Rees, has claimed he predicts sales for the full year to rise by as much as 50%. So, what can this sudden admiration for the shoe be attributed to?
Appreciation for comfortable footwear may seem inevitable in a year spent inside the house, however the success of Crocs is no doubt due to their tactical marketing techniques. Fashion fans will be familiar with Crocs’ collaborations with celebrities including Post Malone, Justin Bieber, and Bad Bunny, as well as the shoe’s appearances on runways for Christopher Kane in 2016 and Balenciaga in 2017. Most recently, gold Crocs were seen on the feet of Questlove on the Oscars red carpet.
thinking about the balenciaga crocs pic.twitter.com/mAWb26piLQ
— god. (@god54389879) April 30, 2021
Crocs have slowly but surely wormed their way into the high fashion world through a series of prosperous partnerships, successfully slotting themselves into the so-ugly-it’s-cool category. These types of trends have stolen the hearts of young consumers in recent years, from ‘dad trainers’ to ironic slogan t-shirts, so it was only a matter of time before the ultimate ugly shoe swung back around.
The practicality of the shoe is undeniable, and reiterations of the classic clog silhouette, including platform and open-toed versions, mean there is a style for every type of shopper. Love them or hate them, it doesn’t look like Crocs will be going anywhere for a while.