Fashion really isn’t my thing. I’m about as far away from a hypebeast as you can be and still know what a hypebeast is. I currently own zero Supreme items and just seven pairs of footwear, one of which is an extremely well-worn pair of brownish-greenish Crocs. Yes, I am using this forum to come out publicly as a wearer of Crocs, those widely derided slip-on plastic clogs.
I got my pair back in 2009 before I hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail. Crocs, you see, are the preferred camping shoes of backpackers everywhere: they’re incredibly light, which is important in a pursuit all about reducing pack weight, and, after a long day of clomping around in hiking boots, slipping them on feels heavenly. Still, I recall initially objecting to them at the pre-hike visit to the camping store in New Jersey: They’re ugly. They’re tacky. Only people who have just given up (and celebrity chef Mario Batali) wear them.
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Somewhere along the 200-mile stretch of the A.T., I fell in love with my Crocs, and I mentally moved them over to the “so ugly they’re cool” column. I was so enamored of them that I continued to wear them well after I was off the trail. One time, I was running a quick errand in my Brooklyn neighborhood when I passed Stacy London of the reality TV series What Not to Wear on the street. I had on my Crocs — who wants to deal with putting on socks and lacing up sneakers for a trip to the ATM? — and I saw her eyes go straight to my footwear. She somehow managed to keep to herself her certain disgust.
Ultimately, the joke was on Stacy: In 2017, GQ declared Crocs to be actually kind of hip: “Apparently, as demonstrated by a small-but-influential group of fashion insiders, artists, designers, celebrities, and L.A. guys with man buns who brunch, Crocs are cool now whether you like it or not.” I don’t keep abreast of fashion trends, but I suspect that in the intervening three years — a period in which Batali was revealed to be an alleged sex pest — Crocs went back to being uncool again.
Whatever the case may be, today, 11 years after I purchased them, I’m still wearing the same exact pair of Crocs. I could stand to buy another pair — they’re layered in schmutz and the treads are decimated — but I take a certain comfort in walking around the house in these guys. Especially now, in the era of social distancing, that I’m housebound most of the day.
These Crocs not only feel good, they’re familiar. They remind me of better days, setting up camp after an arduous stretch of trail, then sitting around the fire swapping stories. But for now, they’re my preferred footwear for the trip from the office (aka the couch) to the kitchen. And I am going to keep wearing them, no matter what GQ or anyone else says, until there are irreparable holes in the sole. Then I am going to head over to Zappos and start the journey anew.