Crocs have officially made a comeback. I remember when Crocs first became popular in the late 2000s. Like UGG boots, Crocs were immediately polarizing, and it’s safe to say that they had more haters than lovers.
Some people swore by their Crocs, but most people (including me) just didn’t get the hype. They were huge, weird clogs that looked like a bizarre hybrid between sandals and water shoes.
After a few years, the controversy wore off, and we all kind of forgot about Crocs.
Well, it’s been over a decade since their initial heyday, and Crocs are officially “back” thanks to the pandemic. They filled an increasing need for comfortable and versatile house shoes. Plus, people became less self-conscious about what they wore because of the lockdowns.
But are these odd foam clogs really worth it, or are they just another trend that will be forgotten?
That’s what I’ve been thinking about for the past several weeks as I’ve been rocking my very own pair of Crocs. I’ve worn them extensively in all kinds of conditions, and in this honest review, I’ll share my thoughts on these divisive shoes.
CROCS: THE BRAND
While many people are familiar with the classic clogs produced by Crocs, not many people are acquainted with the actual brand, so here’s a quick primer.
“Crocs” was founded in the early 2000s with the intention of creating a foam boat shoe and soon developed the classic clog we’re now familiar with.
Soon after its inception, Crocs secured the rights to Croslite, a proprietary foam resin that molds to the wearer’s feet like memory foam and offers additional benefits like shock absorption.
Due to the outlandish design, Crocs almost immediately popped up in the media. They were touted as “the world’s ugliest shoe.” Tim Gunn called the shoe “a plastic hoof.”
Soon, George W. Bush and Michelle Obama were seen wearing them. In just a few short years, Crocs created a level of controversy that was rarely seen in the world of shoes.
Fast forward to today, and the arguments have mostly died down. In many ways, Crocs seem more popular than ever before. Celebs like Justin Bieber and Post Malone have their own versions, and there was even a Kentucky Fried Chicken collab. Love them or hate them, it seems like Crocs are here to stay.
There’s only one question left: are they actually good shoes?
I tried the classic unisex clog in the chocolate colorway. I’m usually a 10.5, but Crocs doesn’t offer half sizes, so I sized down to a 10, and I’m glad I did. The sites I consulted stated that the clogs have a roomier fit, and I found that is definitely the case.
Right out of the box, I was pleased with the choice of color. Crocs offers some, ahem, bold color options, so I was afraid that the chocolate would be too much. However, it’s a great neutral option that will match a range of outfits.
One nice thing about these shoes’ Croslite foam construction is that there really isn’t a break-in period for Crocs. They form to your feet immediately.
While the foam is soft, it’s also stiff, providing a surprising amount of support. They feel much more supportive than a lot of flat-bottomed shoes (think Vans or Converse).
While supportive, it might take some getting used to the actual form of the clogs. As I mentioned earlier, feel quite big on the feet. Crocs’ famous “Swiss-cheese holes” further emphasizes this roomy fit by facilitating airflow.
Also, the footbed has several ridges of small bumps that roughly conform to the shape of the foot. These bumps provide added grip but you can easily feel them while walking or standing, especially when wearing thin socks or going barefoot. Some people might find the sensation a bit unpleasant.
CROCS RELAXED MODE VS. SPORT MODE
As you may already know, there are two ways to wear Crocs’ heel straps. You can either wear the strap across the top of the foot or around the back.
When the straps are up top, you get a traditional clog-wearing experience. In this “relaxed mode” configuration you can easily slip the Crocs on and off like sandals.
When the straps are around the back, you get extra security, making it nigh impossible for the clogs to fall off. Since this configuration is suitable for high-octane activities, it’s known as “sport mode.”
Having these two strap modes is genuinely helpful. I default to sport mode because of the additional security it provides, but if I’m only going to be popping them on for a few moments, then I’ll go into relaxed mode.
SHOULD YOU WEAR SOCKS WITH CROCS?
There’s one crucial issue I haven’t yet addressed, and that’s the issue of socks.
Many people absolutely detest the look of socks with sandals, so surely socks and Crocs would look the same, right? Then again, wouldn’t going barefoot be too uncomfortable?
Well, the answer really depends on the type of sock as well as the type of activity you’re planning to do. If you’re going to be wearing Crocs for a while, then opt for socks.
Low-cut socks in a neutral or matching color work well and don’t stick out too much. Admittedly, this won’t be easy with every color of Crocs, so it’s probably best to stick with a neutral or earth tone.
CROCS: A REAL LIFE REVIEW
Now, let’s get to the review.
CROCS AS HOUSE SHOES
For me, like for many others, the appeal of Crocs is that they are simple house shoes that I can pop on for quick errands and other outdoor jaunts.
I’m pleased to say that they serve that purpose well. It’s nice to be able to slip them on in relaxed mode to take the trash out or check the mail.
You could do the same with sandals or old sneakers, but there are a couple of advantages with Crocs.
First, they offer more grip than many sandals. The bumpy grooves on the bottom ensure that you won’t be slipping around.
Second, Crocs offer a nice balance of versatility and simplicity. I think Crocs occupy the same space as sandals — they’re casual, comfortable footwear.
Crocs make an excellent “set-and-forget” shoe for you to put by your front door for whenever you need them. And there’s a pretty long list of Crocs-appropriate house activities: mowing the lawn, gardening, getting something from the car, etc.
CROCS AS EVERYDAY WEAR SHOES
As a house shoe, the classic clog is a formidable option. But what about other types of wear?
I said earlier that I’ve extensively tested my Crocs, and I really meant it. I’ve done a little bit of everything in these Crocs: walks, errands, hangouts, even a trip to Niagara Falls.
Overall, they’ve proven to be comfortable shoes with a surprising amount of versatility. The foam is soft enough to walk quite far without your feet hurting but hard enough that they won’t fall apart after heavy use.
For everyday use, the Crocs hold up nicely. They work equally well on grassy trails and city concrete, although they don’t handle rocky ground or hillsides all that well. They’re more than sufficient for shopping or going out.
The Crocs’ many holes help water to drain from the shoes quickly, which was a boon during my Niagara Falls trip. The foam is also somewhat water-repellant, which also helps.
I should note that crocs can be annoying to wear around sand. If you take your Crocs to the beach, you’ll need to rinse them out afterwards since sand gets stuck in all the grooves and crevices. However, that’s pretty much to be expected when walking on the beach with any type of footwear.
SHOULD YOU GET CROCS?
It depends… When considering Crocs, it’s important to think about the balance of form and function. Most people will buy Crocs for their function, but you have to make sure that the form works for you, too.
Since Crocs are thoroughly casual shoes, they’re not going to be the right choice for every situation. Crocs have specific use cases and an even more distinct look, so the trick is deciding if you fall into that Venn diagram overlap.
If you need a comfy shoe for casual use, whether that’s around the house or around town, then Crocs will likely serve you well. If you need a casual shoe that will take a lot of action, like sports or hiking, then Crocs are probably not the right choice.
Consider your wardrobe, too. If your casual outfits lean more smart casual, then you may have some trouble making Crocs in even the tamest color work with your look.
On the other hand, if you’re like me and have a workwear-influenced and somewhat fashion forward wardrobe, then Crocs will fit in pretty easily.
Crocs aren’t for everyone, but they can be great for the right person. Essentially, they’re multi-purpose clogs that are ideal for wearing around the house and for some casual activities. However, they’re comfortable and durable enough to handle some more rigorous outings.
There’s no other footwear quite like Crocs out there, so if you’re looking for a shoe that ticks these very specific boxes — and if you can vibe with the look — then these controversial clogs deserve a place on your shoe rack.
While they may not make their way into your regular rotation, you might find yourself popping them on more than you think.
And yes, their look is distinct, but consider giving them a second chance– you might not think they’re as ugly as you remember them to be. Crocs didn’t make sense with mid-2000s fashion at all, but they actually can complement many contemporary styles, including workwear and “dad style.”
If you’ve been avoiding Crocs for the last decade or so, it might just be time to give them another shot.