Are Crocs cool again? Were they ever cool? Have we all just become collectively cool with ugly footwear being fashionable?
From Nicki Minaj to Justin Bieber, not to mention a collab for Disney’s Cruella, Crocs are well and truly back. Once an infamous fashion faux pas, these ‘foam clogs’ are being described as one of the most popular shoe trends of 2021.
Back to The Year 2000
We did the 80s, passed the 90s and now contemporary fashion has, unsurprisingly for anyone even passingly familiar with the workings of linear time, arrived at the 2000s. Hello bright colours, dresses over jeans, cutesy cartoon graphic tees, low rise jeans, butterfly hair clips and chunky hair highlights. And, of course, Crocs.
Honestly, the renaissance of 2000s fashion feels like my entry-ticket into adulthood. As a 1998 baby and therefore a member of that weird, in-between generation simultaneously too old to be fully Gen Z and too young to be a proper Millennial, it’s been a bit of a novelty seeing fashion trends I last encountered in my childhood and tween years coming back into style, labelled as retro fashion by young, post-2000 humans on TikTok.
Low-rise jeans can still burn in hell though.
In this craze for 2000s nostalgia, it’s hardly surprising that one of the most iconic footwear styles of the era has made something of a comeback. The Google Trends report for the search term ‘Crocs’ shows a marked uptick in searches over the past year so, and digital marketplace StockX announced in their Pandemic-Era Trends report that the average resale price for Crocs has increased by 70% in the past year alone.
A quick search on Depop offers a range of different coloured Crocs and Jibbitz galore (the weird stick-on attachments you add to your Crocs for that personal flair). I even found a set of Crocs x Justin Bieber Drew’s listed for £95!
(A quick side note: if anyone knows why the hell they’re called Jibbitz, please enlighten me. Thank you.)
So, Crocs are back because of a wider wave of 2000s nostalgia. But, they also have another on-trend feature that many of their sibling-styles lacked: comfort.
Crocs, Comfort and Covid
Crocs exist in the sweet spot between retro 2000s fashion and our pandemic, stay-at-home comfort obsession. It’s basically two trends combined into one set of plastic clogs!
The Guardian have called them a ‘pandemic-proof fashion item’, pointing out their comfy design and series of celebrity collaborations. Along with Justin Bieber, the brand has paired up with Post Malone, Bad Bunny and footwear designer Salehe Bembury.
While Crocs are making a comeback within pop-culture, they’ve also never really gone away as a practical footwear option for a number of professions: medical staff, vets, chefs and lifeguards have been wearing Crocs for years, with their lightweight and comfort-focussed design making them ideal for jobs that require a lot of time standing and moving around.
Crocs have become a rare pandemic success story, surging in popularity as everyone has been stuck at home and discovering a love of comfortable clothing and low-maintenance fashion.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
I guess that leaves the question, will I be rushing out to buy a pair?
Honestly, probably not.
Full disclosure: I have never owned a genuine pair of Crocs, but I did have a set of blue knock-offs that I bought from a Shoe Zone for less than £5. At one point they sported a couple of fake Jibbitz, but these gradually fell off and vanished over the years.
I wore those fake Crocs everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Shopping trips, swimming events, to friends’ houses, non-uniform days at school. Memorably, I nearly lost one to a swan during a fraught paddling expedition at the local dam. I can confirm that they were exceptionally comfortable and versatile shoes, especially during the summer.
But, let’s be honest, summer in Scotland is pretty fleeting and owning more than one pair of obnoxiously priced, kinda ugly sandals seems a bit excessive. I think I’ll just stick with my Birkenstocks and call it a day.