A key footwear player from the mid-2000s is slithering out of the swamp of unfashionability and onto the runway. That’s right: Crocs are back.
Formerly known for their comfort and rustic appeal, plastic Croc clogs recently burst back onto consumers’ radar in a not-so-subtle way: featuring at New York Fashion Week.
You may have seen the awe-inspiring collaboration that was Christopher Kane and Croc. The marble-print, geode-embellished Crocs turned heads on the runway, sparking an international outcry of confusion and some inquisitive side-eye looks. Kane wasn’t the only designer to feature the aggressively uncool clog on the runway. Stateside brand Collina Strada also featured a clog-style shoe decorated with rhinestones.
But the new expensive Croc designs have already made a splash in the latest New York fashion week and, to the surprise of some who believe wearing a pair is a sure sign that you’ve given up on life, they’re almost completely sold out.
Many back-of-house hospitality staff favour Crocs for their practicality in the workplace. In an interview with US Details magazine, celebrity chef Mario Batali dropped the bomb that Crocs was discontinuing its line of orange Crocs: the chef’s signature foot wear. Like any rational person, Batali had ordered a lifetime supply of 200 pairs.
Despite becoming something of a running joke, the Croc company, which was founded in 2002, is still worth US$1.198 billion. Crocs have also been spotted on celebrities such as Jack Nicolson, Steven Tyler and Rosie O’Donnell.
The Kane designs retail at around AU$600, whereas a classic clog will only set you back less than $40. With its waterproof qualities often diminished by the hole-peg design, there isn’t a lot that’s charming about this shoe – they also smell strongly of chemicals – and yet US Vogue has included Crocs in its list of the most influential trends and people of 2017.
No matter how you slice it, it's still an ugly shoe—but perhaps fashion is challenging us to find the beauty in the seemingly hideous. Although if Vibram FiveFingers tries to make a high fashion collaboration, we might have to tap out.
This story originally appeared in the April/May issue of NZ Retail.