Chances are you’ve looked at a pair of Crocs and thought they are a little funny looking, with an odd rubbery texture and strange holes on top of the toe box. These holes confused me too at first when I was shopping for my first pair of Crocs, and I was left wondering what their purpose was?
Here is a guide to why Crocs have holes, including a design breakdown, pictures and my own personal experience wearing them.
Allowing air to circulate is the most obvious reason why Crocs have holes. Another reason is allowing moisture through, such as perspiration. Less obvious answers include improved circulation, weight reduction, and the ability to customize. A genuine pair of Crocs has 26 holes in total, 13 per shoe.
Some of the less obvious reasons, as well as those I’ve mentioned, stem from the origins of Croc shoes. I’ll be discussing 8 reasons Crocs have holes in detail in this article, so read on for a thought provoking dive into why Crocs have holes!
Why Do Crocs Have Holes?
Crocs were designed for a specific purpose and to fill a niche in the footwear market; slip-resistant, waterproof clogs that are fast-drying and easy to clean. Before discussing the holes in detail, let’s briefly examine how they came into being and why the holes featured in the Crocs design surprisingly make a lot of sense.
The Origin Of The Crocs Brand
Founded by Scott Seamans, Lyndon “Duke” Hanson, and George Boedecker Jr. in 2001, the goal of Crocs Inc was to produce a boating shoe that was equally able to handle land or sea, wet or dry, sandy conditions.
This amphibious characteristic is what triggered the name Crocs in recognition of that other amphibian, the crocodile.
Hanson and Boedecker disliked the design but realized its “function over form” was precedent when the first 200 pairs of the Beach style were sold at the launch of Crocs at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in 2001.
They can be worn in water, on the beach, or on any other surface without suffering damage. The holes serve a valuable role, their soles provide fantastic traction, they are highly durable; over 720 million pairs have been sold since inception – that’s over 9 billion holes!
Why Are The Holes In Crocs Important?
The fact that there are thirteen holes, not twelve, not fourteen, doesn’t have any real significance, but it’s one way to check whether your Crocs are genuine or fake. The reasons for the holes, though, are important, so let’s examine them in detail.
1. Ventilation Is The Key To Comfort
Croslite, the material used in manufacturing Crocs (and only Crocs), is unique in many ways. It’s extremely flexible, lightweight, and amazingly durable, so your Crocs will last far longer than any imitation shoe. These qualities are also found in Croc’s latest patented material, Literide, which is 25% lighter and 40% softer.
Neither of these two materials however is able to breathe, so there’s the danger that your feet will sweat and, let’s face it, get smelly. That’s where the thirteen holes come into play – they allow air to circulate around the foot and for sweat to evaporate.
This feature is even more important because Croslite is so flexible it adapts to the shape of your foot. While this is great for comfort and support, it also means there’s less space around the foot for air to circulate – hence the holes.
2. Circulation Is More Than Just Air Movement
Podiatrists are full of praise for Crocs because while they might look like the ultimate fashion faux pas, they’re actually very good for the feet. The inside of a Croc has numerous little nodules called nubs, and these, together with the ventilating holes, aid circulation in the feet. That’s why Crocs are so comfortable and can be worn all day.
3. The Holes Are Crocs Drainage System
As mentioned, the origin of Crocs was as a boating shoe, which meant they were designed to spend time in the water while still providing non-slip traction without slipping off the foot. If they did somehow come off, they floated – an enormous benefit to sailors.
But they still needed to be dry as soon as possible, hence the holes. The water will drain very quickly, and tipping the shoe upside down will rid it of the last few drops. And by the way, those thirteen holes have additional help from open vents on the sides, so the shoes dry even more quickly.
I don’t know if drainage is the right word to use in emptying sand out of your Crocs, but the thirteen-hole design works wonders in keeping the shoes comfortable. If you can recall how irritating it is to walk across a sandy beach with your sneakers filled with gritty sand, you’ll appreciate the capacity of Crocs to get rid of it with ease.
4. The Holes Make Crocs Easy To Clean
Where most shoes take hours to clean and get dry enough to wear comfortably, with Crocs, it’s a quick and easy process. The Croslite material used in Crocs is washable with soap and water. You can restore your shoes to their original condition with a quick scrub, drain the water through the holes, and they’re ready to wear within minutes.
5. The Holes In Crocs Are Part Of The Comfort Magic
If you are a regular Croc wearer, you’ll know how incredibly comfortable they are, and the holes play their part in ensuring this. Apart from what has already been highlighted, the holes also contribute to the fact that the shoes weigh so little you hardly feel them on your feet.
And that’s not all they do – because the top of the shoes is not solid, they are softer and more flexible with no pressure points to damage your toes.
6. The Holes Are Cost Savers
This might not be the most obvious reason, but with thirteen holes in each shoe, there is a substantial saving in the material used in its construction. Less material means less cost of production, and that means a lower selling price (hopefully!).
With prices for men’s Crocs ranging from $30 to $90, they’re not the cheapest beach shoe on the market, but without the holes, they would cost even more.
7. The Holes Are A Fashion Statement
The holes in Crocs are there for all the reasons we mentioned, but they’ve become such a part of every Croc’s “look” that they would look very strange without them (some people would say they look very strange either way).
The unusual clog-like look of the classic Crocs has attracted the attention of stars worldwide.
Crocs are seen on the feet of Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Justin Bieber, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ariana Grande, to name a few.
Justin Bieber, in fact, has worked with Crocs to design his own line, Quest wore his gold Crocs on the red carpet at the Oscars, and the 85-year-old artist David Hockney wore his yellow Crocs to Buckingham Palace.
8. And Then Came Jibbitz
Sheri Schmelzer and her husband, Rich, recognized the potential offered by the holes in Crocs’ fashion role. In 2005 they founded, invented, and created Jibbitz, which were initially little charms and fake flowers to decorate the Crocs of their three small children.
Their small basement business soon became a $ 2 million per month business. Over 22 million Jibbits charms were sold in 2021, at prices ranging from $4.95 to $19.95, and featuring every subject you can think of – flowers, fruit, cartoon characters, sport, cars, the alphabet, numbers, and symbols, amongst others.
In 2006, the Schmelzers sold their burgeoning Jibbitz operation to Crocs for $20 million, with half paid upfront and the balance on fulfilling specific sales targets. Crocs now have a sizeable investment in the holes in their shoes, so while decoration wasn’t the original reason for them, the holes are now a massive income-earner as receptacles for Jibbitz charms.
Do All Crocs Have Holes?
Most Crocs designs have holes, and there are never more or less than thirteen on each shoe. That applies to men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes, and it’s the first test of whether or not they are authentic Crocs.
However, there are some exceptions to this hard-and-fast rule. Crocs make a very popular flip-flop, which has only six holes per shoe because there simply isn’t space for more. Being totally open, they don’t really need holes at all, but there has to be space for a few Jibbitz!
The other exceptions are:
- The Crocs RX range is designed specifically for medical personnel. These hardworking people are on their feet for hours at a time, and Crocs are perfect for them. However, because they are dealing with hazardous chemicals and other liquids that could be dangerous if dropped on their feet, the RX Crocs have closed uppers.
- The Crocs Bistro, which, as the name implies, is for workers in coffee shops and restaurants, where hygiene and safety are key factors in wearing Crocs without holes.
- The Crocs Specialist Workers range is vented but without holes in the uppers to cater for those who need the safety of covered feet.
- In the new Literide range of Crocs, the designs incorporate holes, but they are smaller and more numerous, giving a softer and lighter alternative style to the traditional Croc clog.
A Quick Word About Authenticity
We’ve described just how vital the holes in Crocs are and also that the correct number is your first check as to whether the shoes you’re thinking of buying are genuine Crocs. There are so many lookalike fakes in the market, so count the holes, and if there are twelve or fourteen, they ain’t Crocs!
Also, to ensure you’re getting the benefit of Croc’s design and quality, the genuine Croc will have the following identification points:
The Croc logo (known as the Duke) must have two eyes and six even bumps on the back, with the fourth bump being slightly bigger than the others. It also two hands showing, both with three fingers holding the edge of the box.
Every genuine Croc has a tag with a unique barcode. Every model’s barcode is totally different, so compare barcodes- if they’re similar, it’s a fake.
Check the material. If the shoe is heavy and inflexible, it’s not made from Croslite or Literide, but probably of rubber.
The tread pattern of a genuine traditional Croc is like the veins on a leaf. Anything else points to the shoe being a fake.
Once described as “hideous”, Crocs have found favor amongst every section of society, from workers to movie stars and toddlers to octogenarians. With their unbeatable level of comfort, Crocs have won the approval of podiatrists and doctors too.
The famous thirteen holes that Crocs feature are not only practical but decorative “must-haves,” allowing for drainage and air circulation but also the ultimate Crocs fashion accessory; Jibbitz.
For more Crocs content, check out:
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).