Crocs Are The Cockroaches Of The Footwear World: A Researched Opinion


A stock photo is as classy as I'm willing to get over the topic of Crocs

After a mere three weeks of wearing them at the restaurant, my Crocs have died a senseless death. Sounds impossible, right? Aren't Crocs the cockroaches of the footwear world? Throw a nuclear missile at a Payless and you know what would still be hanging on for dear life to it's BOGO tag once the mushroom cloud dispersed? Crocs.
Nevertheless, self-destruct they did. I am now the happy (if somewhat pained-in-the-wallet) owner of a pair of kitchen Birkenstocks winging their way toward me via the Amazonius Primus summoning spell. I hope they'll serve me better than those regrettable rubber husks that I wore for three weeks. I hate to sound like an elitist but...as far as I'm concerned, Crocs can go extinct.


After owning a pair and wearing them the way they're supposed to be - nay, designed to be - worn, I feel like I can finally speak as One Who Knows when I say that I still hate Crocs. Previously, I ragged on them strictly because everybody likes to hate on Crocs, me included. But now I have proof. When you've got shoes the size (and shape) of beached porpoises adorning your feet, you learn pretty quickly their manifold imperfections as well as their few good points. I mean, you're 80% more likely to trip over your own feet wearing Crocs than other brands, but 80% less likely to slip on anything else. They grip pretty well and are definitely waterproof; they're also unwieldy, ugly, loose-fitting, and style-less...but at least they're pretty indestructible - right?

Wrong. 

I will give it to Crocs - they are pretty comfortable. And this is the point I most doubted when reading reviews, talking with Crocs-supporters, and generally doing my research. Crocs aren't comfortable in that "Oh hey, these shoes feel cushy!" way, but comfortable in the " I finished a ten-hour shift and my feet don't actually hurt" way which is more important. They're light, which means that you don't have to feel like you're hauling anvils around. And the very ugliness of Crocs kind of gives the rest of your body a free pass - who cares that you're wearing a shapeless t-shirt and black jeans that are definitely too big; anything you wear above the ankles looks positively couture by comparison. No, my argument with Crocs comes from the point that their most vehement supporters claim as sterling proof of their worth:

"THESE SHOES ARE INDESTRUCTIBLE," one reviewer sings.
"I HAVE A PAIR FOR EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE," another warbles.
"CROCS ARE GIVEN BY GOD TO HUMANS WITH PLANTAR FASCIITIS," shrieks a third.

Okay, I get it. You like your Swiss-cheese rubber boats and plan to wear them forever.

I had put aside my prejudices. I bought the stupid Crocs. I wore them. I even began to defend them to some less tolerant friends who told me they still didn't buy it. But my feet were happy, and it was nice that I could bleach and dry my work shoes, and I learned how to climb down into the dungeon-like basement without stubbing my toes, and I was all set to become a Crocs-defender myself when it happened: the shoes met their demise in the most innocent of ways.

Due to a delay in inspections, I had an unexpected set of five consecutive days off of work. Within that time, my Crocs hung out in the back seat of my car. Okay, so if there is a Care & Keeping manual that comes with Crocs, I didn't read it. If it did exist and I had read it, maybe there would be a line in there that talks about how their shoe is definitely indestructible except in cases of sunshine. Maybe instead of holes for ill-advised "jewels" on the back ankle strap, they should print a warning label: KEEP OUT OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT.

Thursday, when I wore them last, my Crocs were finally broken in: roomy, almost a little loose, comfortable for long periods of standing. By Tuesday night, when I brought them inside from my car, a lethal change had happened. Of course I didn't actually put the shoes on till this morning when I was on my way out the door to blitz through an errand and get to work for an early shift, maybe even have a spare moment to grab a coffee.

I slipped my foot into one of my Crocs and...only I didn't. Like those pointless but entertaining Shrinky Dinks of the 1990's, these shoes had mysteriously shrunky-dunked. No step-sister has ever fit less into Cinderella's magical glass slipper than did my foot into these bafflingly too-small rubber Crocs.
I took them off. I stared at my foot.
The shoe looked fine...my foot looked fine.
I tried them with socks. Without socks. Nothing more than my toes could I cram into the shoes that had fit generously in recent memory. What the heck? And then suspicion overcame all the goodwill I'd begun to harbor for this much-persecuted shoe of the footwear race. I sat down. I measured the bottom of the Croc to the bottom of my foot; my toes extended a solid half-inch past the end of the Crocs.
Like a favorite wool sweater that you accidentally bundle into the dryer, these damnable shoes had shrunk into perfect, elfin versions of their former shape. Who knew you could felt a Croc? Betrayed, I threw my much-loved Sperry's on (my adoration of Sperry's top-siders needs a blog post of its own), hurtled to Walmart, grabbed the first pair of cheap, black non-slip shoes I could find (the $14.99 ones that don't belong to a cafeteria lady), jammed them on my feet, and still managed to get to work on time...the non-slip backing of the shoe slapping drunkenly on the floor midway through the workday.

Look, Crocs-people. You had your chance with me. I trusted you when you said, "These shoes last forever," and "It's nearly impossible to destroy these shoes." I wanted to believe that your belief was worth something...that you had put your faith in the proper horse, so the speak. I was willing to be proved wrong, and I put money to that. But in the end, a little sunlight and a bit of forgetfulness (I will take ownership for leaving my Crocs in the car), caused your credibility to - literally - shrink in my estimation.

I'm leaving Crocs behind forever. So long, shrinky-dinks. Hello, Birkenstocks. I hope you're as good to my feet as the fair-weather (but foot-friendly) Crocs were. And though for your price I really hope you're sunlight-immune, I'll forego leaving you in the car again. Just in case.

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