Crocs: The “Ugly” Shoe That I Love To Love

A fact about me is that I’m a bit of a shoe addict. I would gladly wear the same outfit for a year as long as I could switch up the shoes. From chunky sandals to lug-sole boots to sporty sneakers, shoes have always been my ultimate outfit-maker. But if I’m being completely honest, the pair of shoes I reach for the most has to be my Crocs — yes, Crocs.

Before I get too deep in my feels, a quick history lesson: Crocs was founded in 2002 in Boulder, Colorado. Crocs’ inaugural style, the Beach, was roughly inspired by traditional Dutch clogs and designed as lightweight boating shoes, thanks to the grippy soles and waterproof foam construction. The rest, as they say, is history — but even as the brand quickly became a hit among kids, nurses, and folks who simply appreciate sensible footwear, I’d venture a guess that becoming a red-hot pop culture phenomenon (not to mention, unlikely runway inspo) was probably not on the Crocs mood board.

Even two decades later, Crocs are still as divisive as politics and Hawaiian pizza. And I’ll admit: I was a longtime Crocs hater, one of those annoyings who would say, “I just don’t get them!” However, something clicked for me — you could call it my Crocs awakening — during the pandemic. I had recently adopted a perfect rescue dog, which gave me an immense sense of joy and purpose in those Unprecedented Times™. I was searching for an easy-on, easy-off shoe that I could wear for dog walks, and Crocs quickly came up in my Google search. You could presumably blame my tenuous mental state at the time for clicking “purchase” without much thought; regardless, when my Crocs (a baby-blue pair that I still rock all the time) arrived, it was love at first feel.

Crocs Classic Clog, $49.99

Call it an unlikely side-effect of the pandemic, but as people spent more time at home (or at the very least, not in “going-out” shoes), it created a microcosm for comfort-first footwear to shine like never before. Even if I never adopted a pup, I have a feeling that I would’ve ended up becoming a full-on Crocs convert anyway, just to feel something since they were the ultimate sensible, no-nonsense shoe I needed in this chaotic life.

For my first-ever purchase, I went with the Classic Clog, and was immediately obsessed with how supportive they felt. I also loved that they had built-in ventilation and took all of half a second to slip on and off. (Also, the proprietary Croslite foam material is almost weightless, which makes for a comfortable stride.) Lastly, a smattering of Jibbitz (Crocs speak for the press-on charms that you can use to customize your Crocs) were the final touch to make them feel extra “me”: A “K” initial was an obvious must, and from there, I added other Karina signatures: A solo daisy (my favorite flower), a lone Pac-Man ghost, and a bagel — an homage to my decade in NYC.

I was so quickly smitten with my first Crocs pair that I copped a second in a vivid lilac; these I outfitted with some bootleg Takashi Murakami charms sourced from Amazon. As of press time, I’ve bumped my Crocs collection to four pairs of clogs (the third and fourth being a celery green and classic black, respectively), and have copped some more charms (including an especially cute Dunkin Donuts set) to deck ’em out. Honestly, I could pen an ode specifically to Jibbitz; at this point, they’ve reached cult-like status and are borderline unhinged — and in the best way possible. While Crocs has an extremely extensive selection of official Jibbitz charms (including ones part of fire collabs with the likes of iconic brands like Peeps & Coca-Cola, not to mention celeb fans like SZA and Post Malone) the “bootleg” market has created a landscape where just about any cartoon character and pop culture motif has gotten the Jibbitz treatment. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love pairing them with everything from classic denim jorts to a swimsuit and coverup situation, and honestly, the vibes are vibing! (Side note: Since Crocs are so buoyant and breathable, I actually think they are the best beach shoe — also, they are super easy to clean.)

At $49.99, Crocs’ Classic Clogs occupy a mid-tier price point that sits solidly below designer but above mass-market. (I actually wear the kids’ sizing since I’m a women’s 5, which knocks a few bucks off the price.) And hot tip: You can often find discontinued colors on sale (I’ve seen prices creep down to the low-$20s on places like Amazon or Zappos), which are a true steal. Other popular Crocs styles include iterations of the signature clog (like platform-soled styles of those lined with faux fur), in addition to slide sandals, ballet flats, and even sneakers.

Plus, when life is hard enough, I personally look for everyday moments to bring me joy. And yes, they’re clunky — and somehow simultaneously juvenile and geriatric — but I can’t deny that they make me happy! And honestly, I’m done hiding it — I’m a loud-‘n-proud Crocs stan, and will continue to build my collection for years to come.

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