July 17, 2009

Crocodile Tears

It seems that the makers of Crocs are about to go belly up:

After selling 100 millions pairs of the comfortable shoes in the past seven years, their American maker faces bankruptcy.

Loved and loathed in equal measure, Crocs which sell in Britain for about 30 boasted a swathe of celebrity wearers including President Bush, Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino, but they had just as many bitter enemies who regarded them as hideous.

A group on the Facebook site dedicated to their extermination attracted 1.4 million members and they were widely ridiculed in the media.

After a drastic reversal that saw a 100 million profit in 2007 sink to a 112 million loss in 2008, the company has had to sack a third of its 6,000 workforce.

A victim of changing fashions and the economic downturn, the Colorado-based company has until September to pay off its debts, according to the Washington Post.

But it seems the clogs have also been a victim of their own hardiness as their virtual indestructibility meant that aficionados never needed to buy another pair.

As the shoes became a hit across the globe, the manufacturer churned out new variants and dreamed up accessories such as trinkets that could be fitted into the ventilating holes. But it appears the firm substantially overestimated the clog's potential sales as it boosted output.

It is now sitting on a warehouse full of unsold shoes and a dwindling number of feet willing to squeeze into them. Few in the retail industry appear to believe the company will survive.

I confess that I've never really understood the polarizing effect Crocs seem to have on people, turning supporters and detractors on each other like Montagues and Capulets. I mean, they're just shoes, fer Heaven's sake.

FWIW, all the Llama-ettes have Crocs, and as hideous as they are (the shoes, not the gels), I've always liked the fact that they seem to be comfortable and certainly are extremely durable and practically maintenance-free.

Posted by Robert at July 17, 2009 08:45 AM | TrackBack

I think the shoe is a victim of their indestructability. I have a pair and have worn them steadily for 5 years. They are in almost the same shape as the day I bought them. They are amazingly comfy but ugly... I will admit that.
But, I don't care. I have foot problems and any shoe that doesn't give me pain is fine with me.

Posted by: babs at July 17, 2009 12:56 PM

I've been tempted to get a pair for myself. Knowing they will endure wear/tear leans me a bit closer to actually getting some.

Jesse has two pairs of fake crocs (I cannot justify the $$ for the real thing for a 2 year old who will wear them for a few months before he grows out of them) and we love them - he likes the colors and we like that they are easy for him to put on and then to clean when he gets them dirty.

Posted by: jen at July 17, 2009 03:16 PM

I cook while wearing a pair of them, a la Batali. They are the best kitchen shoe ever invented, in my opinion.

Posted by: The Abbot at July 19, 2009 05:48 AM