Crocs are having a moment, thanks to nostalgia and being uncool

Crocs are now cool and it could be because they are uncool. Make sense?

Crocs are now cool and it could be because they are uncool. Make sense? Photo: Getty

Once the butt of a joke and a shoe that was designed for fishermen, Crocs are again having a moment.

In the third quarter of 2023, Crocs recorded a 29 per cent revenue growth in the Asia-Pacific region, which translates to $268.9 million.

The clog-like shoes have been around since the early 2000s and were originally designed for water sports.

But recently, Crocs have become somewhat of a fashion statement, though a rather controversial one.

There’s a few reasons as to why Crocs are having a moment in the spotlight, particularly in Australia and the Asia Pacific, senior lecturer in Marketing at RMIT Dr Jason Pallant told The New Daily.

The first is glaringly obvious: The pandemic.

When business was conducted over Zoom calls and there was no point of getting out of pyjama bottoms, there was also no need for formal shoes.

Instead, people likely sought something practical that was also comfortable.

The convenience of the Croc then carried over beyond the COVID-19 years and likely became part of people’s lifestyles.

“It’s now almost a fashion statement, of wearing Crocs down to the shops, around the cafe,” Pallant said.

“Which I don’t think they ever were before. Even early on, I don’t think they were ever trying to be a trendy thing.”

Suzan Mutesi is seen wearing Crocs shoes with Jibbitz charms at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021 on June 1, 2021 in Sydney, Australia

Crocs offer comfort and a bit of nostalgia. Photo: Getty

Are Crocs cool?

The second reason behind Crocs’ growing success could be nostalgia.

Pallant doesn’t want to make any generalisations about the generations, but right now, some of the trends we are seeing in fashion are reminiscent of the 1990s and early 2000s, he said.

Pallant didn’t live through the 1980s, but he was born during that decade, and as he was growing up, denim jackets and mullets were in vogue.

It’s the same thing with Gen Z, he said. They may have been born in the late 1990s or early 2000s, but they didn’t live it, but because Crocs first came out in the 2000s, there is a bit of nostalgia at play.

“There’s a bit of that trend of is sort of going back to what were people doing in the ’90s and 2000s,” Pallant said.

The third reason, is another concept spearheaded by younger generations and it’s the idea of “anti-fashion”.

“It’s like are you cool enough to get away with wearing something that looks ridiculous and doesn’t look cool. But you are actually so cool, you can get away with that,” Pallant said.

We’ve seen celebrities do this, by wearing Crocs or other items that were seen as “daggy” and then they become “cool”, for example, the “dad sneaker”.

“Combine all of those things together and you’ve got a perfect storm for Crocs,” Pallant said.

Brand power boosting Crocs

What has probably helped Crocs become more alluring is the fact they can be customised, Pallant said.

You can buy charms to jam through the holes of the Crocs, meaning you could have the most popular colour of a style.

Additionally, Crocs have collaborated with well-loved brands and even designers, giving them widespread appeal.

There’s a Disney collection, a Star Wars collection and even a Minecraft collection for people to choose from.

Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Diplo, SZA, Post Malone and Wu-Tang Clan have collaborated with Crocs, but it’s not just big names in pop culture that have done so.

High-end fashion brand Balenciaga released a Crocs collection a few years ago

The Balenciaga Crocs are a more accessible way for people to own a piece of the brand.

It also serves as an introduction for younger consumers, Pallant said.

Balenciaga x Crocs

The Balenciaga x Crocs collaboration made the luxury brand more accessible. Photo: Getty

Will Crocs be fashionable forever?

There has been many discussions of late surrounding the trend cycle and how it is seemingly getting shorter in length.

Now trending pieces are only “in” for a few months, if that.

Some pieces are undeniably timeless, but Pallant isn’t sure if we will be seeing people wearing Crocs in a few years.

“The issue that I think they have is how do you navigate that while becoming cooler?” he said.

“Like if everybody starts wearing Crocs then it almost becomes not cool to wear them, because everybody is.

“So, I think that that is the hardest thing to maintain for trends like this when it’s almost about that anti-cool or being different.”

But also, given Crocs are known for their comfort, perhaps they will prevail for that very reason.

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