The Surprising Comeback of Croc High Heels

The Surprising Comeback of Croc High Heels

In the world of fashion, few trends elicit more extreme reactions than Crocs. The rubber clogs first debuted in 2002 and immediately divided public opinion. While some found them comfortable and convenient, others were appalled by their garish design. By the late 2000s, Crocs had become associated with bad taste and were on the decline. However, in recent years the brand has staged an unexpected comeback, aided by high-profile collaborations and celebrity endorsements. Most surprising of all is the emergence of Croc high heels, which fuse the comfort of Crocs with the glamour of stilettos.

A Brief History of Crocs

Crocs were created in 2002 by Scott Seamans, Lyndon Hanson, and George Boedecker Jr. Using a proprietary resin called Croslite, they developed a foam clog that was soft, lightweight, and non-marking. The signature clogs featured ventilation holes for breathability and a heel strap for a secure fit. They were initially targeted at boaters, gardeners, cooks, and other workers who needed comfortable, slip-resistant shoes.

The shoes were an immediate hit, selling over 100,000 pairs in the first year. By 2006, Crocs had sold over 10 million pairs worldwide. Their popularity was fueled by the clogs’ affordability, range of colors, and all-day comfort. However, they were derided by fashionistas as among the world’s ugliest shoes. As the backlash grew, sales dropped sharply. The company endured falling revenues and job cuts, and Crocs seemed destined for obscurity.

The Tide Turns in the Mid-2010s

Against the odds, Crocs began to regain popularity around 2015. Several factors contributed to this surprising revival. A series of high-profile collaborations with luxury brands like Balenciaga and Christopher Kane gave Crocs a new aura of cool. Celebrity endorsements from the likes of Justin Bieber, Post Malone, and Bad Bunny introduced the brand to younger generations.

On the product side, Crocs expanded its offerings beyond the original clog. Slides, sandals, flats, and other styles appealed to new demographics. The Classic Clog also got a makeover with new textures, prints, and charms. Crocs capitalized on the ironic “ugly chic” dress trend, positioning its shoes as playful anti-fashion.

The Debut of Croc Heels

Capitalizing on revived interest, Crocs made its most shocking move in 2017 by debuting a high-heeled version of its Classic Clog. Croc stilettos and pumps featured the same Croslite foam construction but with a narrower fit, elongated toe box, and 3 to 5-inch heel.

The radical Croc heels were met with disbelief and ridicule in the fashion press. However, the elevated Crocs also had indisputable appeal. The lightweight foam provided unprecedented comfort, with some wearers claiming they felt like sneakers. Visually, the heels evoked both humor and novelty. The addition of charms and Jibbitz added personality.

Crocs lean into the polarizing reaction, marketing the heels with the tagline “love ‘em or hate ‘em.” Despite mixed reviews, the stilettos sell out repeatedly. In 2021, a collaboration with singer and designer Victoria Beckham sold out in minutes. A 2022 team-up with rapper Post Malone also crashed the Crocs website due to intense demand.

Why Are Croc Heels Having a Moment?

Several cultural shifts have paved the way for the unlikely success of Croc heels:

  • The rise of ugly chic fashion – The polarizing look leans into absurdity and frivolity, giving Crocs cultural cache as an anti-fashion statement.
  • The comfort clothing trend – With athleisure and loungewear dominating everyday fashion, comfortable shoes are more desirable than ever.
  • Nostalgia and Y2K style – Gen Z and Millennials who grew up with Crocs feel nostalgic for the “ugly” 2000s.
  • Campy irony – Exaggerated footwear-like platforms are back, with Crocs representing an extreme expression of the trend.
  • Collaborations and celebrity validation – Associations with Post Malone, Balenciaga, and other stars give Crocs high-fashion credibility.

Though initially shocking, Croc heels tap into multiple fashion trends while capitalizing on the brand’s anti-fashion appeal.

How to Style Croc Heels

Croc heels make a bold statement. When styling, choose sleek separates in neutral colors and textures:

  • Pair with straight-leg or skinny jeans, leather leggings, or opaque tights. Black, gray, tan, and white bottoms create an elongating look.
  • Simple shift dresses or sheath dresses balance the shoes’ chunkiness. Avoid overly embellished dresses that compete for attention.
  • For tops, opt for fitted turtlenecks, mock necks, or sleeveless tanks. Avoid oversized tops, which can look sloppy.
  • Sleek leather jackets, long coats, and cropped jackets complement the shoes’ texture.
  • Carry a small shoulder or crossbody bag in a neutral color.

The key is keeping the rest of the look minimal and letting the Croc heels take center stage as the focal point.

Are Croc Heels Here to Stay?

Once an object of ridicule, Crocs have undeniably embedded themselves in fashion’s mainstream. The brand has proven adept at adapting to new markets and cooperating with buzzy designers. However, some believe Croc heels are a short-lived novelty trend. Only time will tell if elevated Crocs gain true staying power or remain a fad. For now, they represent one of the most dramatic and unexpected style resurrections of the 21st century. In the words of Crocs model Priyanka Chopra Jonas, “They’re so cool, they’re hot.”

5 FAQs about Croc Heels

What are Croc heels?

Croc heels are high-heeled shoes made from Croslite – the proprietary foam resin Crocs are known for. The elevated Crocs fuse the original clog silhouette with stiletto or block heels generally ranging from 3 to 5 inches.

Why are they popular?

The lightweight Crocs foam offers more comfort than regular heels. The “ugly chic” style taps into irony and campy nostalgia for the 2000s. Celeb collaborations and limited editions also drive demand.

Who wears Croc heels?

Younger generations like Gen Z and Millennials wear Croc heels to embrace ugly chic fashion. The shoes are popular among celebs like Post Malone, Justin Bieber, and Bad Bunny.

How do you style them?

Pair Croc heels with minimal solid-colored separates like fitted turtlenecks, leather leggings, and sleek dresses. Let the shoes stand out.

Are they just a passing trend?

Some believe Croc heels are just a fleeting novelty fad. But Crocs have proved surprisingly resilient, and the heels continue selling out. Time will tell if they gain lasting popularity.

In conclusion, the emergence of Croc high heels exemplifies the unpredictability of fashion trends. The unfashionable Crocs brand has staged a remarkable comeback, aided by ironic ugly chic appeal and celebrity validation. While Croc heels may seem like an absurd novelty, they offer unprecedented comfort and a statement-making style. The polarizing shoes tap into multiple fashion trends including nostalgia, camp, and anti-fashion. It remains to be seen whether elevated Crocs gain enduring popularity or fade as a fad. Their unlikely success story illustrates how radical reinventions can breathe new life into once-scorned brands. For now, Croc heels represent one of fashion’s most dramatic recent transformations.