Crocs are an instantly recognisable, iconic footwear brand that has seen dramatic fluctuations in their stock price since their launch in 2004. However, the unusual design of their footwear range may leave some scratching their heads, wondering why Crocs are so popular?
I am a long term customer and fan of the Crocs brand and I have been monitoring their successes and failures over the last 18 years. If you are curious as to why Crocs are so famous, and why they are currently in style, read on for a breakdown and some fun facts about the brand.
Why Are Crocs So Popular?
Crocs are so popular thanks to their practicality, versatility, comfort, range of designs, customisable design (with jibbitz), long lasting material, hard wearing sole, and visibility in the fashion trend cycle (worn by supermodels, fashion icons, rappers and other musical artists).
I’m going to break down why Crocs are so popular, with an in-depth look into the brand’s image, collaborations and design features.
They Are Controversial/a Fashion Statement
A few years after their launch in 2004 bad news was on the horizon for Crocs.
Multiple fashion publishers and news channels made it popular to hate the brand, labelling them as ‘ugly’. Crocs stock plummeted in 2008 due to this. Crocs cut 2000 jobs and lost over 185 million in that year alone.
However as the saying goes ‘all press is good press’ and this divided ‘love it or hate it’ mentality made Crocs the iconic footwear it is today. The hatred of the ‘ugly’ Crocs style made the shoes a controversial talking piece and a household name. And with anything in fashion, trends are cyclical, once something becomes ‘uncool’ you only need to wait for that ‘uncoolness’ to become a fashion statement.
Sure enough over the next ten years (2008 – 2018) Crocs sold over 700 million pairs. The popularity of Crocs boomed even further in 2021 when they made a huge comeback, seen on the feet of supermodels like Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, and rappers like Post Malone.
A number of rappers had collaborations with Crocs that year, releasing awesome new designs that flew off the shelves. Post Malone ended up collaborating with the brand 5 times (from 2018 to 2021). A number of other other celebrities including Justin Bieber and Bad Bunny also had collaborations with the brand.
They even piqued the interest of British fashion icon Victoria Beckham and singer Ariana Grande.
Large high fashion brands like Balenciaga also collaborated with the brand to make an outrageous pair of platform Crocs. Their further collaboration, the stiletto heeled Crocs went viral in 2021 due to it’s unusual design. This collaboration in particular found it’s way into YouTube reaction videos, viral articles and on the feet of quirky influencers.
Not only did Crocs storm the music and fashion world, they also managed to collaborate with fast-food giant KFC in 2020, further boosting their quirky image.
These collaborations were an excellent move for the Crocs brand, and they found themselves increasingly popular with pop-culture obsessed Gen Z influencers. They stormed the influencer scene and their stock sored by 140% in 2021. Gen Z are known for being a generation that enjoys reselling, and there are some limited edition Crocs going for hundreds even thousands of dollars on sites like stockx.com.
It’s safe to say they have made a name for themselves in the world of fashion.
The success of Crocs seemed unlikely at first, but they are now a multi billion dollar brand (as of October 2023 the Crocs brand is worth $5.38 billion dollars, reflecting the enormous popularity of these shoes).
Check out this YouTube video for more info on their success in the fashion world:
Their Design and Comfort
The Crocs design (love it or hate it) is undeniably excellent for a number of reasons.
- Practicality – Crocs are designed to be a practical footwear choice. They feature air holes for great cooling and draining ability, which allows them to dry quickly if they become wet outdoors. Indoor Crocs feature a warm fuzzy lining, when combined with the slight height of the sole that allows for your feet to be kept off the cold of the ground, they make an ideal choice for indoor wear in winter. The strap design allows for a versatile fit, providing secure comfort in a sandal style, or flipped back to become a slip on shoe.
- Versatility – Crocs are a versatile footwear choice, not only in terms of design but purpose for wear. Crocs are popular as a work shoe (with the brand even offering a workwear range). They are non-slip, making them a safe choice for baristas, waiters, other restaurant staff, medical staff, cleaners and more. Their design is wipeable, making them easy to clean should any fluids spill on them. They also make a great vacation or pool side shoe. Crocs are great for garden wear too, whether it’s for relaxing or gardening purposes. Currently they are a super fashionable choice for influencers, so you may want to just wear them as part of a statement outfit. Their versatility is remarkable.
- Comfort – When it comes to comfort Crocs really are an unparalleled clog footwear choice. They are made with a tough but flexible closed resin material called Croslite, which is trademarked by the brand. It feels like a thick foam material, that offers your feet great support. I have worn my Crocs on long 9 hour work shifts before and found them to be a very comfortable choice for standing all day.
- Range of designs – Crocs offer a huge range of designs to suit all tastes, from funky platform styles to practical wear wear clogs. There is something for everyone, which makes them a popular choice for all ages.
- Hard wearing sole – The sole on Crocs is long lasting and hard wearing. It features a leaf-style tread design that has excellent non-slip properties. The sole is a great reason for the popularity of Crocs as it’s super springy and comfortable, whilst being practical in terms of design. Personally I’ve never had the sole wear out on a pair of Crocs and I’ve had many over the years. The tread will depreciate with time, but I haven’t experienced any tears or holes, even with heavy use.
They are Customisable
Another reason for the ongoing popularity of Crocs is how customisable they are with Jibbitz charms.
Jibbitz were originally created in 2005 by a stay-at-home mom (Sheri Shmelzer) who wanted to design some funky clay charms for her family’s pair of Crocs. She and her husband saw the potential, and the family soon set up a website for their venture and it was an instant success. Shmelzer later sold the business for 10 million dollars to Crocs, who grew her idea into the Jibbitz brand we know today.
Jibbtiz are now made with rubber and slip easily into the holes on top of your Crocs. There are thousands of designs available, in everything you can image, from peace signs to fruits. Take a look at them for yourself on crocs.com.
The success of Jibbitz is a huge factor in the overall success of the brand. Being able to customise your own pair of Crocs is an enticing and fun activity, making the footwear more interactive. This also helped boost the popularity of the children’s Crocs range.
Thank you for reading this post on the popularity of Crocs. I hope you now feel more informed on why this brand is so popular, and want to try them out for yourself!
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).