I Wore Crocs for a Week and It Changed Me

The stats don't lie: Crocs are on the up, and they have been slowly but surely making their way into high fashion territory for some time now. Christopher Kane's 2017 catwalk interpretation of the sensible flats—studded with crystal-like geodes and rendered in dark marbled prints—marked the first moment Crocs crept into the psyche of editors, stylists, influencers and celebrities. Until then, the not-rubber-not-plastic-actually-Croslite shoes had been the property of gardeners, chefs and kids on the beach. The industry was instantly divided: Some loved this radical take on the "ugly" shoe trend that had been gaining steam for some time at brands like Prada and Marni. Others felt it was a squeaky, sensible step too far.  

are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

@flex.mami

Four years ago when Kane and his durable, breathable and frankly bonkers clogs shook the fashion business up, there's no denying that the footwear brand has been on the rise ever since. More collaborations have been and promptly gone thanks to the fervour around securing these now-collectable items: Balenciaga created super-stacked platform Crocs in vibrant colours and celebrities such as Justin Bieber have lent their design skills too. Bieber gifted a pair to Victoria Beckham—she wasn't keen and publicly pledged her dislike on Instagram Stories—but despite her disapproval, Bieber's Drew House clogs became a huge resale success on StockX, the  global resale platform for sneakers, streetwear, and collectables. A lilac pair from the singer was the top-traded Crocs style between January and April of this year, and Crocs sales overall have been up five times on 2020.

are Crocs fashionable?

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@karodall

The Who What Wear team predicted at the tail-end of 2020 that 2021 would be the year of Crocs, and we were right. Early in 2021, Crocs HQ also reported that sales were soaring, with the company's revenue climbing by 64% within just the first three months of the year. This projection of profit and growth caused shares to spike, and although this development may have been accelerated by our lockdown lives and practicality and comfort coming to the fore, it doesn't seem like the trajectory is set to fall off once everything returns to "normal."

Only in the past few weeks have sales peaked yet again thanks to Love Island contestants choosing Crocs to wear pool-side, when they're not in their significantly more expensive Yeezy slides, that is. Cool girls across the world are slipping them on in the same way they do Tevas or Birkenstocks, and stylish Croc-punctuated outfits are popping up all over my international IG feed, luring me in, smug in their comfort and the fact that you gain extra brownie points for making something so offbeat look so on-trend. So are Crocs fashionable? It felt like the right time to finally give in and see what all the fuss was about—I spent a week in Crocs, and this was the result…

Initial Thoughts

are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi/Who What Wear

I'm scared. My heels are scared. Even my Tevas are scared. My selection of Crocs arrive thanks to their PR team arranging a delivery and I know that this is a turning point. Ugly AF they might be (in my opinion, anyway), but once they go on my feet and feel like heavenly clouds, what does that mean for the rest of my shoe collection?

Instantly, I can feel a stronger draw towards the classic flat Clogs and the very simple flip flops as they feel far less challenging than the platform styles. I put a dark grey pair on and—gasp—they are like glorious little hugs for my poor, tired feet. A pandemic and a toddler later, and my desire to wear my trusty ol' stilettos and kittens has waned, and I find myself in sneaks, hiking sandals and other basic flat shoes 24/7. You can't hide from the comfort.

Are Crocs Fashionable?

are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi / Who What Wear

This is a contentious issue and one that can and should only be crowdsourced. I sent a Slack message to the team to gather their responses first. It was a fairly unanimous "no" bar my fellow loving editor Nell Block. But when polling on Instagram Stories, my followers were almost split down the middle, with 46% voting yes and 54% saying no to wearing them. I had multiple DMs sliding in from industry friends—editors, textile designers and stylists—saying they've come around to the concept lately, but they're gunning for a pair of the fluffy-lined sandals or slip-ons, which are actually quite hard to get hold of thanks to their popularity. Over on our Facebook shopping group, So… Should I Buy This?, the dislike was deafening: 85 votes for no, 10 for maybe, 8 for yes. 

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And so is fashionability: If you deem Crocs and your outfits to be fashionable, then who am I to disagree? So, it's simply a case of working out whether they fit into my wardrobe or not.

How to Wear Crocs

One thing I noticed on social media when researching for my story was that Croc-accessorised outfits tend to sit on two extreme ends of a spectrum, either outré or ultra-minimal. There is no in-between. You're either in a pair of loud printed jeans or OTT dress to pull off the whole "I'm so kooky" thing, or you're keeping things really monochromatic and simple. The problem is, my personal style lies somewhere in-between these two realms, and I think that made it hard to know which direction to go in each day. 

But first things first, the Jibbitz (that's the little emoji-like badges you can customise your Crocs with) have to go. I'm 35, a mum and a manager. It just doesn't feel right. 

Day 1
are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi/Who What Wear

I start with something simple. I'd wear this floral Dôen dress with Tevas, so why not Crocs? Fortunately, a pair I had requested was in a chic dark grey which is reflected here in the midi's print. It doesn't feel too out there, and I have to admit that the way a pair of ugly shoes can instantly make a fancy frock feel more casual is something useful to have in one's styling weaponry. 

Are you supposed to pull the straps back behind your heels? I just don't know what the coolest answer is here, but I feel like slip-on clogs are having a moment (see proof of the clogs trends here), so I'm going with that.

Day 2
are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi/Who What Wear

Clearly feeling confident, I zero in on the purple platform Crocs. Yes, the style is called Bae. And no, I can't lie about the fact that they do give my 5'1'' frame some much-needed height. But I feel a bit like a tween no matter what outfit I put them with and I'm not entirely sure whether that's down to the stacked sole or the purple hue. So I opt in for a kind-of matchy dress that feels equally joyful and somehow, it works leaning into the silliness rather than trying to shy away from it. Am I convinced on platform Crocs? Not yet.

Day 3
are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi / Who What Wear

The platforms knocked my confidence levels, so I went way back down to ground zero and tried out some simple, black flip flops. The super-padded, shock-absorbing soles have awarded the Baya Flips with the accolade of the most comfortable flip-flops I have ever worn. I usually find with flip flops that the thongs dig in and that the soles aren't wide enough for my flat feet, but these were a delight. And as this basic style of summer sandal is current en vogue, it didn't seem too tricky to pair them with a couple of outfits. First up, my new Ganni jeans and a plain shirt—it felt easy enough to throw on and still enjoy wearing.

Day 4
are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi/Who What Wear

Clearly, I became hooked on the flip flops in no time, and here I am wearing them yet again as I type. On day four, I went back to these simple sandals to wear with some baggy linen trousers and a flouncy blouse. As they're black they tend to go with a great deal of my wardrobe, but there are jazzier colours available if that's your jam. When it comes to WFH, these flip-flops make for a good companion. You can comfortably sit at your desk sliding them on and off. You can pop outside to grab a coffee quickly and easily, and my nicest designer sandals can have a break from being battered!

Day 5
are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi/Who What Wear

It's time to try again with Bae. After about 10 different outfit changes, I worked out that these platform shoes should be used just how I would normally use platforms: To help out with the many pairs of trousers I own that are too long! This ribbed set from H&M is just as comfy as the shoes, so it's a combination that provides plenty of ease and yet doesn't look totally sloppy. It's definitely the colour of these platforms that are throwing me off (maybe in a neutral shade they'd be simpler to style out).

Day 6
are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi/Who What Wear

Over the week I've learned that I feel happiest in Crocs when my outfit is as pared-back as possible. I'm not going to be a shouty, wacky Crocs wearer, but a quiet one, happy in the knowledge that these aren't going to give me blisters or ever make me feel overdressed. Sure, they're not going to replace my other, fancier shoes when I attend meetings, dinners, work events or go to fashion week, for example, but during the downtime moments, they'll do very nicely indeed. 

Day 7
are Crocs fashionable?

Photo:

Hannah Almassi/Who What Wear

The last day of my Crocs challenge calls for something radical and celebratory. So I went full "Crocs Dad" and put on a Hawaiian-style shirt, using this ensemble for a day spent in the garden. Whether I'll ever pluck up the courage to combine this duo with Bermuda shorts is another matter, but for now, it's enjoyable enough to wear again.

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