From a meme to a streetwear staple, Crocs are returning to the forefront, whether we want them to or not. The Bad Bunny x Crocs collaboration is defining proof.
I, for one, have a turbulent relationship with Crocs. A staple in my childhood wardrobe, the swiss cheese-looking clogs provided the perfect footwear option for a child as rambunctious as myself. Not to mention the added sports mode feature once the back straps were properly secured (only real OGs will know what I’m talking about). The recent news surrounding the company’s collaboration with Bad Bunny, however, shocks me to my core.
If you have graced any corner of the internet in the last two days, you will be very aware that a special-edition line of Crocs was released in collaboration with pop star Bad Bunny. These $65 (USD), glow-in-the-dark sandals didn’t just release, however, they completely sold out in 16-minutes.
I abandoned my hot pink Crocs to the sands of time at the age of nine, like a number of my other ’00s goods. My butterfly hair clips? Gone. The Impulse body spray I kept in my sports bag? Cancelled. My bedazzled Crocs? Obliterated. I just naturally assumed that everyone else had gone through this catharsis too. Obviously not.
Over the last few years, strategic collaborations with culturally iconic artists such as Post Malone, The Grateful Dead, and Bad Bunny have seen Crocs rise from a dated meme into a revered echelon of urban streetwear. We investigate what the f*ck is going on.
Formed in 2002, Crocs quickly became the cornerstone of the often cursed fashions of the ’00s. Hitting their heyday in the preceding five years, the American-owned company now has over 300 million sold units to their name, with a number of off-shoot footwear lines to accompany. However, as tastes changed, the GFC kicked off, and more and more kids got their crocs caught in escalators, sales plummeted to the point of near bankruptcy in 2008, leaving many of us believing that the holey sandals were a mere fad.
That was until 2018, when things all changed. A company that had been treading the water with underwhelming designs and marketing tactics saw their best year ever, due to a number of strategic upgrades. One of these was a singular focus on the iconic design. A 12.7 per cent revenue increase later and Crocs were back on track.
That’s when things started to get interesting. The company began whipping out a number of collaboration lines with high-profile celebrities, drawing the attention of consumers and fans alike. “We have capitalised on what we saw as two major trends on a global basis,” CEO Andrew Rees told Marketplace about their unexpected success. “One is collaborations.”
With PSY, Vivienne Tam, Luke Combs, and Post Malone signature lines to their name, the brand began attaching themselves to the upcoming streetwear tastes of the late ’10s. Post Malone even gave a cheeky nod to his “thousand dollar Crocs” on his latest album. This drastic shift in product identity then manifested in the shoes appearing in TikTok trends and across social media. Crocs were no longer a meme, they were a cultural sensation.
While the U.S. footwear market was experiencing a dramatic decline, the company recorded a whopping 40 per cent sales increase in 2019.
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We appreciate everyone SHOWING UP today and congrats to those that scored a pair. For those who didn’t, stay tuned for many more surprises to come in Croctober 🔥 P.S. We don’t like bots either, which is why we use a combination of a queuing system and other fraud protection measures to protect against them. @badbunnypr
Although this popularity can be attributed to the personalities who have endorsed the brand, the Crocs ethos has somehow come to suit the streetwear fashions of today: where comfort and design are prioritised over all else. It comes as no surprise that the shoes saw another major increase during the COVID-19 pandemic as well.
“Under the pandemic, frankly anything that you could call ‘comfortable’ has done well,” NPD analyst Matt Powell said. “The slipper business is one of the few other footwear categories that’s up under COVID.”
Enter Bad Bunny, the poster child of today’s aesthetic. With a personal style that blends “Caribbean dad-core and designer streetwear“, he is the fashion icon who the mainstream media often overlook. The newly appointed president of Crocs Michelle Poole remarked that Bad Bunny embodied the “come as you are” attitude that the brand advocates. “He’s got a very daring style, a very unapologetic attitude and he’s also someone who loves Crocs,” she explained.
It’s nothing revolutionary to say that we’ve all turned to sources of nostalgia in recent times; whether that be movies, music, or even fashion. As a society, we have resorted to trends of the past and have given them a fresh place within our contemporary framework. Think the mullet, flares, and, now, Crocs.
Comfort, ease, and accessibility; unfortunately, the legendary design is a perfect accessory to the casual-chic of today’s fashion. Whether the cursed clogs are here to stay, or not, is another question entirely. For now, it is safe to assume that Crocs and their collaboration-happy antics are killing it.
Check out the Bad Bunny x Crocs collaboration here.