The unlikely comeback story of Crocs

Once seen as a faux pas, the footwear is now a bonafide high fashion symbol.

Matthaeus Choo
Matthaeus Choo

Published: 11 November 2021, 12:49 PM

Fashion trends come and go. What is thought to be outdated often comes around to be hip again. 

It wasn’t too long ago in the 1990s when Champion was seen as a cheap, fast fashion brand, yet the brand’s shirts and hoodies are now extremely popular amongst youths. Still, I bet nobody saw the comeback of Crocs coming. 

Yes, the brand, once seen as hideous sins against footwear and named by Time Magazine as amongst the 50 worst inventions, has silenced its wealth of critics to grow into a fashion hit. Here in Singapore, perhaps to your puzzlement, you may have seen youths unironically adorning a pair of Crocs’ trademark clogs. Given its explosion of popularity overseas in the past few years, it seems inevitable for the footwear to be a far more common sight very soon.

But how did this happen?

Crocs’ success story could be attributed to how it rebranded itself through key collaborations with fashion and pop culture icons. The starting point could well be with Christopher Kane. 

The acclaimed Scottish fashion designer shocked the world at the 2016 London Fashion Week show with a lineup of high fashion Crocs. More collaborations followed, including with prestigious brand Balenciaga, to cement the footwear’s prestige in the high fashion world.


Balenciaga and Crocs recently unveiled fresh new platform cogs as part of their Summer 2022 collection / PHOTO CREDIT: BALENCIAGA


Soon celebrities, including Gwen Stefani, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, were seen pulling off Crocs both on the streets and in advertising. The footwear brand continued to build on the hype by partnering with pop idols such as Justin Bieber, Post Malone, and Bad Bunny to launch their own collections — all of which flew off the shelves.

Crocs fever eventually caught on and continues to be spread through social media, particularly on TikTok where the brand’s official profile gained more than 100,000 followers on its first week of launch in 2019. Content featuring the footwear continues to make regular appearances on the social media platform’s trending hashtags.

There is the playful irony of proudly wearing something ‘ugly’, but Crocs have also attracted youths for how customisable they are through Jibbitz, or cutesy charms to attach to the footwear’s trademark holes. These, coupled with the brand’s extensive collection, has played into the youth demand for self-expression. 



Furthermore, over in the West where footwear in the house is the norm, the pandemic brought an increased demand for comfortable loungewear that Crocs perfectly fit the bill for. If something more intense is demanded out of everyday life, the ankle strap can be pulled down (dubbed “sports mode”) to secure the clogs to feet. 

Crocs’ growing popularity will probably be good news for us in sunny Singapore. Say what you will about how they look, but their comfort, durability and slip resistance have always been undisputed. 

Outside of wearing them out during the rain, the once-despised footwear brand has become comfortable and trendy choices to hit the humid streets in.

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