There’s no more denying it: Emily Kelley loves Crocs.
After years of dismissing them as hideous and pointless, the 27-year-old now wears her white foam clogs everywhere—to breweries, the grocery store and on long walks through her Chicago neighborhood.
“During the pandemic, I’ve done a lot of thinking about myself and how I engage with the world,” Kelley says, “and finally realized I can wear whatever I want.” Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the clogs have become “unmistakably, intergenerationally cool.”
Crocs has unexpectedly turned its polarizing crayon-colored shoes into a hip, even glamorous, statement, The Washington Post reports. Sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic—up more than 60% the past quarter—as the brand expands its reach to toddlers, trendy teens and their grandparents.
The resurgence, analysts say, stems from a new management team and scrappy reinvention that includes collaborations with celebrities, designers, even fast-food chains, generating buzz on Instagram and TikTok. Crocs overhauled its business to focus on its classic clog, which now comprises nearly three-quarters of sales.
Record profits followed, driving Crocs shares up 300 percent since last year.
Crocs debuted nearly 20 years ago at a Florida boat show. The clunky shoes, which sold for about $30 a pair, were quick-drying, antimicrobial and easy to clean. And they were comfortable. All 200 prototypes sold out.
Sales tripled between 2006 and 2007 as the company underwent a rapid, multimillion-dollar expansion, buying up four companies in three years.
Then came the Great Recession: Demand fell sharply and sales cratered, leading to $185 million in losses in 2008 alone. The company’s comeback has been the result of nearly eight years of cutting back, refining its strategy and crafting savvy social media marketing. Read the full story.