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The sign outside the corporate headquarters of Crocs in Niwot, Colorado May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RC1941395460
Reuters/Rick Wilking
Serial collaborator Crocs.
CROCODILE TEARS

Fanny-pack Crocs are ridiculous, but also part of why the brand is thriving

By Marc Bain

It’s doubtful anyone was asking for Crocs with a fanny pack attached, yet those very shoes are one of the latest releases from the maker of foam clogs.

The fanny-pack Crocs have been picking up bemused coverage from a variety of news outlets, mostly because of their absurdity. Fanny packs, despite the fashionable makeovers some have gotten in the past few years, aren’t generally known for being stylish. The same goes for Crocs. Put the two together and they become exponentially more terrifying.

Improbable as it may seem, however, the shoes are part of a strategy that has been working for Crocs. They’re part of a collaboration with the popular and influential Japanese retailer Beams, where they’re selling for 5,940 Japanese yen (about $53), and just one of several recent partnerships the brand has been involved with. Over the past few years, Crocs has teamed up to make footwear with partners that include fashion labels Christopher Kane and Balenciaga, rapper Post Malone, and small streetwear labels such as Alife, Pleasures, and Chinatown Market.

These collaborations, which yield products like giant platform Crocs and Crocs with artificial turf on the insole and toe, don’t sell in huge numbers, since they tend to be released in small quantities. But they’ve been great marketing for the brand. They help Crocs to reach new audiences, and often get press coverage, raising the brand’s profile.

“We’ve reported before that the heat around our brand continues to build,” Crocs CEO Andrew Rees said on a recent call with investors to discuss the company’s earnings. “Results from our 2017 and 2018 annual brand surveys show dramatic increases in our brand desirability, relevance, and consideration. The pace and scope of our collaborations further speak to our increasing brand heat.”

He added that Crocs wrapped up 2018 with two Post Malone collaborations that sold out in minutes and “generated significant consumer awareness and interest amongst his millions of followers.” He also mentioned that Crocs’ series of collaborations with streetwear brands also sold out, and “brought us great visibility with the fans of those brands.”

That awareness helps Crocs to sell more of its standard clogs, which have been a surprising hit with teens and college students. Crocs is undoubtedly hoping that its fanny-pack clogs will do the same.