Crocs, In a Nutshell

The flâneur is dead. Now we are all Crocstars, says George Pistachio

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Justin Bieber's Croc Classics - photo courtesy of Crocs

I’m sure I am not the only one who has recently gazed at their shoe collection with a sense of defeat. Some of my most spectacular shoes have cost me dearly yet are rarely worn. Perhaps it’s the inflexible sole, or ankle-blistering heel tab that renders them unfit for daily use. But what 'daily use’ during lockdown? About a month ago I nabbed a gorgeous pair of python skin boots, and although I have worn them while sauntering around Aldi, I am yet to bathe in the juicy admiration of strangers, gawking at the wonders of these stunning stomper. I barely get a second glance. 

In reality, the only item of clothing that people care to be on your body is a mask. And rightly so. But there is a section in Aldi (yes, I’m there a lot) that gets a lot of attention from the locals, and it’s filled to the brim with knock-off Crocs, a.k.a. ‘Croc-offs’. Early on during lockdown I’d grimace at the pile of plastic shoes as if it was a mean old homophobe giving me the middle finger. But now, I’m falling prey to their seductive charm. 

These silly little foam clogs, with their silly little heel grip and silly little holes are having their silly little renaissance

And I’m not alone. According to the fashion search engine Lyst, searches for Crocs have been increasing month on month since February, sharing an exponential growth hand-in-hand with the virus. Lyst went so far as to call them the “It shoe” of the season, and just recently declared they were the eighth most-coveted fashion item on their server. These silly little foam clogs, with their silly little heel grip and their silly little holes (trigger warning: trypophobia) are having their silly little renaissance. The fashion police can’t stop them now — they’re simply too powerful. 

But who can blame people for wanting comfort? Time to relax has come in spade loads for many in quarantine, and those who have been busy in essential roles (such as my own mother working for the NHS) have thanked Crocs for saving their feet from corns, bunions and all kinds of unpleasantness. As Crocs’ profits grow, so does their marketing. 

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Balenciaga's SS18 Crocs, as seen on the runway - photo courtesy of Balenciaga

The Crocs company recently collaborated with (the equally questionable) Justin Bieber for a launch that sold out in 90 minutes, but the shoes reappeared on resale websites for over double their original price. Announcing his collaboration with Crocs, Bieber said that "as an artist, it's important that my creations stay true to myself and my style. I wear Crocs all the time, so designing my own pair came naturally. With these Crocs, I just focused on making something cool that I want to wear.” This tickled me greatly, but Bieber is laughing last and longest.

I much prefer Crocs as a dirty little secret, and now I'm coming out of the dark and into the light

They never claimed to be the prettiest of things. Balenciaga and Christopher Kane have reinvented their own Crocs, but likely not out of adoration, more so because subversive fashion makes headlines, particularly when you make an integrally unsustainable accessory with ‘sustainable’ mink fur. I much prefer Crocs as a dirty little secret, and now I’m coming out of the dark and into the light.

 

My housemate recently bought some croc-offs in pink which we keep by the back door, and I shove my feet in them to smoke a fag in the garden. Of course, I’m ashamed, but what people don’t know won’t harm them. And yes, I detest them, but there’s just no denying they are more comfortable than my python boots. If I see a pair at the Met Gala, however, I’m quitting fashion forever.