Crocs: Cool those heels

Resistance is futile

Photo: GAELEN MORSE (Reuters)

Resistance is futile

Crocs, the foam resin, hole-laden clogs that first debuted in 2002, posted record results for 2022. A combination of comfort, affordable price point ($35-$50), and durability are landing the ugly-cool footwear in more and more shoe closets. The Colorado-based brand’s classic clog is a permanent fixture on Amazon’s best-selling list.

Two decades into their existence, Crocs, like hand sanitizer and pajamas, got a pandemic-boost. “Crocs gained popularity as individuals spent more time at home and sought out comfy shoes. The business’s sales surged, and its stock price rose sharply,” said Shekhar Chowdhury, retail analyst at GlobalData. “Crocs also drew praise for its charitable activity during the pandemic, which included providing thousands of pairs of shoes to medical personnel.”


But the craze didn’t stop once normalcy resumed. Gen Z continued to unironically endorse Crocs all over TikTok. Simultaneously, the company also received several celebrity stamps of approval. Pop star Ariana Grande flaunted her Crocs on a casual day, and Justin Bieber donned Balenciaga Crocs at the 2022 Grammys.

Shall we take a walk on the wild side?

By the digits

$3.6 billion: Revenue for 2022, a 54% uptick over 2021, and a company record

31%: Growth in Crocs’ sandals category in the second half of 2022 after declining for the first six months, accelerating the brand’s trajectory in important sandal markets such as India and South East Asia


10% to 13%: How much Crocs expects revenue to grow in 2023, placing it at around $4 billion

60: Planned global brand partnerships, with celebrities and brands, for 2023

>$200 million: Marketing budget for 2023

105%: Year-over-year growth in the UK in 2022

$125: Crocs’ stock price as of March 1, 2023—nowhere near the all-time high of $180 it reached in November 2021

2: Times Crocs has missed estimates in the last five years

85: Countries Crocs are sold in

>100 million: Pairs of shoes Crocs sells worldwide each year


Image for article titled Crocs: Cool those heels
Photo: Beawiharta Beawiharta (Reuters)

“Everywhere you go there is a good chance you see someone wearing Crocs.”

—Zachary Warring, equity analyst at CFRA Research

Explain it like I’m 5

HeyDude, look at these new shoes

A year ago, Crocs concluded its $2.5 billion purchase of Italian footwear brand HeyDude.


The lesser-known brand, which sells shoes in the $80 range for women, men, and children, didn’t immediately inspire confidence—investors fled the company because of the large debt needed to finance the deal. But Crocs stood its ground, saying the deal would prove lucrative by giving the company a chance to diversify.

But over time, HeyDude has proven to be a profitable brand that already had countless Gen Z fans. Founded in 2008 by Alessandro Rosano, the shoes won brownie points for Crocs-like qualities—lightweight, comfortable—and the brand prides itself on sustainability.


Its performance has exceeded expectations, too. In November, Crocs predicted HeyDude would generate $1 billion in revenue for 2023. In 2022, it already came very close at $985 million. And the momentum isn’t slowing. Even as Crocs projects its core brand will grow between 6% to 8% in 2023, HeyDude is likely to post a much higher growth rate in the mid-20% area.


Make room for margins

Image for article titled Crocs: Cool those heels
Graphic: Ananya Bhattacharya

Pop quiz

Gif: Giphy

Which celebrity has Crocs NOT collaborated with?

A. Diplo
B. Justin Bieber
D. Ariana Grande

The answer is at the bottom, or shall we say, the comfortable foam sole, of this email. Did you notice the Bass Pro Shops hat in the gif above? We’ve got an Obsession on that, too.


Brief history

2000: Crocs founders Lyndon “Duke” Hanson and George Boedecker, Jr. acquire the Crocs blueprint from design company Foam Creations to make a comfortable boating shoe.


2001: Crocs unveils its clogs at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in Florida.

2002: Crocs clogs production begins.

2004: Crocs acquires Foam Creations to gain full control over Crosilite, the EVA foam it invented.


February 2006: Crocs IPO—the largest shoe offering ever, at the time.

June 2006: Co-founder George Boedecker resigns shortly after being arrested for allegedly threatening to slit the throat of his sister’s estranged husband—a charge that is later dropped.


October 2006: Crocs acquires Jibbitz, a manufacturer of Crocs accessories that can be latched onto the holes on the shoes.

2008: Crocs loses $226 million and lays off 2,000 employees. It also shuts down factories in Canada and Brazil.


2011–2012: Crocs’ net profits and stock value both hit rock bottom.

2013: Blackstone Group invests $245 million in the company, and the shoe is back on the map, bolstered by celebrity endorsements and high-fashion runways.


2014: Crocs sets up a “global commercial center” in Boston with 50 to 75 employees working across merchandising, marketing, and retail.

2018: Crocs creates LiteRide, a material that is “25% lighter and 40% softer than Croslite, while still providing shock absorption and support,” according to Fast Company.


2020 and 2021: The covid pandemic causes a lot of demand for comfortable stay-at-home wear, and thus, a spike in demand for Crocs.

2021: Balenciaga introduces stiletto Crocs to the world—it’s mostly a marketing move, but then, isn’t everything?


Fun fact!

Gif: Giphy

Crocs have 13 perforations—yes, exactly 13—per shoe, through which the wearer can attach various bits of flair, or Jibbitz as they are known in official Crocs lingo.

take me down this 🐰 hole!

Fake crocs crackdowns

In July 2021, Crocs sued 21 companies, including Walmart and Hobby Lobby, for selling copycat Crocs. A year later, it took Japanese retailer Daiso to court for ripping off its design.


“It is essential that we protect Crocs’ iconic DNA, and we will not tolerate the infringement of our rights or those who try to freeride on the investments we have made in our brand,” Crocs’ executive vice president and chief legal and risk officer Daniel Hart said in a statement at the time.

These recent incidents are far from the first instance of fake Crocs. In 2012, China led a huge crackdown, sentencing 18 individuals to a total of more than 46 years in prison for producing and selling counterfeit Crocs goods. In addition, those found guilty were subject to fines upward of $450,896. More than 128,000 pairs of counterfeit Crocs footwear valued at over $9.5 million were seized as part of the authorities’ investigations.



Image for article titled Crocs: Cool those heels
Photo: Mathieu Belanger (Reuters)

Be honest, do you own Crocs?

  • Yes, obviously
  • No, obviously
  • The question really should be “How many pairs?”

Tell us your secret—it’s safe with us.

💬let’s talk!

In last week’s poll about EGOT, you were pretty evenly split between Oscars and Tonys as the most difficult award to win. Only 5% of you picked Emmys—do they just give those things out like candy?


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🤔 What did you think of today’s email?

💡 What should we obsess over next?

Today’s email was written by Ananya Bhattacharya (almost brainwashed herself into buying her first pair of Crocs while writing this email—but didn’t), and edited and produced by Annaliese Griffin (put her 8-year-old’s Crocs in the dishwasher to clean them).


The correct answer to the quiz is D. Ariana Grande. In 2019, Ari’s white Crocs with white socks look went viral. But she doesn’t have a collaboration with the brand— yet. Apart from the other three in the quiz, rapper Post Malone is another big name who launched his custom Crocs, and six Jibbitz to go with them.