This year, rather than spring trends—Hot pants! Corsetry! Orange!—we have pandemic fashion. Instead of investing in tangerine corseted playsuits or handbags to carry nowhere, we are buying sweatpants and, apparently, Crocs. You might have thought the “it” shoe of the pandemic was socks, but sales data suggests it’s actually a ventilated foam resin clog.
Some of the people wearing Crocs are healthcare workers; the company has donated more than 450,000 pairs to those working on the Coronavirus’s front lines, where comfort and ease of cleaning are imperative. But many are just regular consumers.
I am one of those people sliding down the slippery slope toward Crocs. I bought a pair of fresh lace-up Vans sneakers right before the world went to hell, but haven’t put them on once. Instead, I alternate between hideous (and hideously comfortable) Brooks running shoes and two different pairs of Birkenstocks. When it came time to construct an elevated garden bed (also a hot pandemic commodity) last weekend, I considered my footwear options and thought: You know what would be great right now? Crocs. Last week, I had a pair of plain white ones in a virtual shopping cart but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. Would I ever wear these in a world in which I leave the house? Then, a fashionable textile designer I follow on Instagram posted a photo of herself wearing Crocs printed with strawberries.