Fashion, Trends

The rise of Crocs to high Fashion

The ugly shoe turned cool.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Aug 4, 2022

You might remember our 2020 hot take detailing the rising popularity of ugly shoe brand, Crocs. Two years prior, when the piece was written, we called them “clunky, plastic, hole-obsessed clown-like shoes,” and in some ways this is still true. Developed in 2002, Crocs were sold mainly to healthcare providers and stay-at-home parents who needed comfy shoes for everyday life. But, discovered in the initial findings, Crocs found a groove in 2010 after facing bankruptcy. No thanks in small part to the help of then CEO Andrew Rees and his vision for celebrity partnerships. Rees understood the importance of winning the younger consumer and continues to do so today.


More recently, we wrote about clogs and their longer-than-15 minutes of fame. During the initial research and reporting, it became evident: Clogs are in a way, the foundation of Crocs, as well as cool high fashion and streetwear partnerships. Could they be the hot new brand that everyone wants to work with? For some they might find the question relative, but for the brands below, the proof is in the sales.


“We have existed on this tension point between love and hate, and we haven’t shied away from it,” Lucy Thornley, Crocs VP of global trends, design, and product told Vogue. “We’ve leaned into it.”


Not many brands can follow through with leaning into this tension point; usually they are chasing the customer and following demands. Crocs has followed demands while allowing new customers to discover them through cool partnerships: A genius strategy. “When I first started, we were kind of like a startup in lots of ways,” Thornley continued with Vogue. “We were trying to figure out who we wanted to be for the future, and when we made the decision to focus on who we authentically are, things really started to shift.”


The very first (of many) partnerships started with Christopher Kane in 2016, inspired by the want to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary. After that, a Balenciaga partnership started in 2017. It was this collab that single-handedly reinvented the Croc as a platform, rain boot, and heel. Today, the designer shoes go for as much as $1,000, a steep 10 times the original price.


“This sense of fandom that’s happening for the brand has been super gratifying,” the expert continued with Vogue.


And if brands weren’t enough to convince you, these A-list celebrities have also consigned the shoe trend. Justin Bieber and Teyana Taylor wore Balenciaga Crocs at the Oscars. Bad Bunny, Rosalia and other famous celebrities have worn the look too, proving that Crocs is still one to watch.


Ever wondered where you can find a full list ofbrands that have collabs with Crocs?


Photo via Crocs