Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

More Croc evil

Once the anti-smoking message took hold in the West, the tobacco industry had to find new markets for its products and aggressively sought out the Third World, creating an evil addiction where none has existed before.

Similarly, a sharp downturn in the US sale of Crocs, has led their manufacturers to look elsewhere for sales:

Shares in the shoes' Colorado-based manufacturer plunged by as much as 47% at one point yesterday as the company warned that its sales were likely to be lower this year than last.

Crocs chief executive, Ron Snyder, blamed economic conditions: "We are obviously disappointed with the economic situation in the US and part of Europe, however we remain confident about the long-term prospects."

Crocs had been aiming for second-quarter sales of between $247m and $258m (£130m). According its new forecast, it will only make $218m to $223m. To cope with slowing demand, it is closing a factory in Canada.

Snyder said there were plenty of countries where Crocs were gaining ground and vowed to press ahead with global advertising to build the brand. "We believe many of our markets are under-penetrated and should provide meaningful growth opportunities for our products well into the future."

One day, the floor of the rainforest will be bright with discarded plastic shoes.


greying pixie said...

Aren't they awful. At least with Birkenstocks you can show off beautifully pedicured feet and pretty toenails. I can't find anything nice to say about Crocs and thank the heavens that they are on the way out. But surely this isn't so surprising. It was quite obvious a couple of years ago when they flooded the market that they would only be a passing craze. We managed perfectly well before them and we'll manage without them in the future.

And I'm not only talking about the look of them here. Have you ever seen a woman walk elegantly in them? In a couple of short years a whole generation of women have learned to walk like ducks!

Gi said...

It's not the economy, it's enough croc-wearers realizing that they are 1) hideous and 2) being ridiculed enough by those of us who find them absolutely appalling.

I don't care about comfort, lots of shoes are comfortable. heck, even $2 jelly flip flops are better looking than they are. I make fun of anyone who wears them except children under the age of 3 (then I can justify for bright-coloured plastic absurdity on their chubby toddler legs)

phyllis said...

I've always wondered where Dubya got those black socks with the Presiential Seal on them.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Down with Blahnikists philistines!

Viva Crocs!

Crocoids never surrender.

Arabella said...

About to try on a pair of crocs? Tempted to buy them?
Take two evil plastic bags - the kind from a supermarket.
Scribble all over them with a felt pen - bright colour of choice.
Insert pieces of foam - hacked from sofa cushions the night before.
Attach plastic bags to feet, knot at back.
Et voila and mind how you go.

I say this out of lurv, you understand.

Anonymous said...

Of course, there was short-term, limited investment potential!?! Remember the short-lived Krispy Kreme frenzy? Their stock plunged eventually also. Crocs were but a passing fad, like many others. A really ugly, not-very-safe fad, but, Good Riddance!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I sure wouldn't blame "the economy" for the fiscal bottom dropping out from beneath a fad!

Toby Wollin said...

Phyllis - I read a story by a journalist who got invited on one of Dubya's little bike excursions that a)Dubya gets those socks made up on a custom basis(woohoo)to b) use as little momentos of the experience for his guests. And, it's a good combination in terms of a graphic illustration...Crocs, like Bush and his foreign(and goodness knows his domestic as well) policy are sloppy and dangerous. And, the sooner both disappear from the world scene, the better it is for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Crocs are at least partially recyclable, unlike most shoes. I have always found the original clog style flat-out fugly but some of their newer, sleeker styles are okay. I'd prefer them over the ubiquitous flip-flop anyway, ugh.

lagatta said...

I had contemplated getting a par for housework and gardening (to cushion my feet - arthritis) but they seem to be unsafe for any gardening that would involve tools, and possibly even some housework:
Crocs - nurse safety concerns - BBC

I don't think the economy has anything to do with it. People need shoes, and Crocs are certainly not expensive by any means - a lot cheaper than Birkenstocks, Rohde and other "comfort shoes" made out of real leather - certainly far cheaper than Mephisto!

I care deeply about comfort, because I don't have the choice, but I really don't want to look ridiculous.

greying pixie said...

anon from last posting, 'partially recyclable' in what sense? 'Unlike most shoes' in what sense? I've lost count of the number of pairs of shoes I have taken to the shoebank in my city, shoes outgrown by my children, shoes outworn by myself and husband, shoes of deceased members of the family, shoes no longer needed in our world of opulence and overindulgence, knowing that they will be worn and worn in Africa by children and adults who have nothing and yet deserve so much better.

Let's not get too self righteous about Crocs. They were never intended to be taken seriously. To be 'partially recyclable' seems to me to have missed the point completely.

greying pixie said...

lagatta, I thought for years that they WERE gardening shoes! Finally my children convinced me they could be a fashion item. FYI, in the UK a pair of crocs costs the same as a pair of Birkenstocks, which makes the whole Crocs issue even more scandalous - £35 for a pair of polystyrene ceiling tiles.

Kuri said...

I do own a pair of Crocs in navy that were a gift when I was in hospital with smashed up knee. They are quite comfortable and lightweight, however the shape will not be flattering to the leg. I've used them for gardening a lot and they're fine for that but if you're going to use them just for gardening, one may as well get a knock-off.

I've actually considered getting the Mary-Jane style in black to be a very casual summer shoe after seeing them worn somewhat effectively on baristas at my local coffee joint. If I had a job were I was on my feet, that's probably what I'd go for, too. However, I can't imagine pairing them with anything more formal than jeans.

Kelly said...

Eww. I understand that some people use them for gardening, and ugly as they are I cannot fault those who are on their feet all day (especially behind a counter, like a barista) to value comfort over fashion. But if you are someone like say, the president, and you can be sure that people are always taking your picture, you sure as hell better not be wearing any crocs.

For my part, I tried crocs on once and only once just because I need easy, comfortable shoes by the door for when I need to take my dog out into the yard for a moment. This function is currently being served by the only pair of plastic flip-flops I own. Crocs did not impress me enough to even try them on again or think about purchasing them.

Stephanie said...

I am ashamed to admit that I did, until a few days ago, actually, own a pir of Crocs (in mint green no less...). I originally bought them last summer because of plantar fasciitis, and also for work (in a hospital). I also...wore them...out, y'know...OUT IN PUBLIC(hangs head in shame). Just to the bus stop and groceries, I swear! It took my eight year old daughter to point out that they looked like Leprechaun spatulas on my feet for me to snap out of my fugue. I apologize to the world at large and sentence myself to a lifetime of shoe repentence.

Anonymous said...


His widdle bwue Cwocs match his bwue shirtie. And the other widdle boy's sockies match his Cwocies.

-- desertwind

PS - I've had a devil of a time finding replacement for my rubber garden clogs. My usual sources have all gone Croc. .... no.

lagatta said...

Kuri, I was at a party last night where a friend hobbled in with a cane and in bright read Crocs. She had a very bad case of arthrosis, in one knee, but also basically everywhere. She is slim, and closer to 40 than 50.

Of course nobody laughed at her, and it would have been in far worse taste than any footwear to do so. I think she preferred wearing those glaringly in-your-face shoes to the "old-lady" footwear that would have been the only alternative.

Greying, here in Montréal Birkenstocks cost about 3 times as much as Crocs. (I know I can get German-made comfort sandals a lot cheaper, relatively, when in Europe, and actually found affordable Mephistos when in France).

I don't think anyone with foot or related health problems should feel ashamed if we have to wear shoes that we "wouldn't be caught dead in" otherwise. It is up to the footwear industry to make attractive, functional shoes for people with major or minor, temporary or permanent foot problems or handicaps.

Often, this seems to be a matter of designers' mindset, as there is money in it for them.

Wendy said...

Crocs should forget their plans for selling in Asia. An exact copy - in all its practical hideousness - manufactured in China sells for about one-fifth of the American original throughout Southeast Asia.

Anonymous said...

greying pixie, by pointing out they are recyclable, I was merely responding to the last line of the post: "One day, the floor of the rainforest will be bright with discarded plastic shoes", which seems to imply Crocs are bad, environmentally, because they're plastic.

However, most other shoes are not recyclable when worn out. (Your donations - to Africa! indeed - extend the life of shoes which would otherwise be tossed, which is great, but doesn't address what happens when they are too used-up to wear any longer: they are still tossed.) So Crocs do have one small point in their favor. I still think most Crocs are ugly, and I'm hardly self-righteous about them, but you rock on with your snooty if it makes you feel better.

rb said...

I never understand how these Crocs discussions degenerate into Birkenstocks vs. Crocs, as if those are the only two choices.

Personally, I'd like to see both obliterated from the face of the Earth. There exist sandals other than Birkenstocks, just as comfortable and supportive, but that don't look like two thickly cut straps stapled to wooden blocks.

There are gardening shoes just as comfortable and impervious to water as Crocs but WITHOUT HOLES IN THEM FOR THE DIRT TO GET INTO.

(Yes, I tried wearing my joke xmas present orange Crocs to garden in before I threw them out.)

Stop the madness!

lagatta said...

rb, what do you suggest (for people who really need comfort shoes)? I did mention a few alternative brands that are not as clunky as Birks.

Sadly, while Clarks have become much more style-conscious than in decades past, the quality has declined - I know shoe shops that no longer carry them for that reason. The insoles are no longer leather, for one thing, and the synthetic material wears out quickly for travellers covering a lot of ground and pavements.