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BellaOnline's Women's Fashion Editor

Croc Fever – The Most Unlikely Fashion Fad of the Year

Who would have thought it? The garishly coloured, rubbery, clog-like Crocs certainly have come a long way. Originally designed to be worn as deck shoes for boating and sailing, these lightweight, slip-free shoes with great grip are undoubtedly comfortable and highly practical (when at sea, that is) but how on earth did they make it into our wardrobes? Somehow, this stealthy shoe has moved on from life on the ocean waves and into more lucrative, fashionable scenes like our high street and on the pages of our favourite glossy magazines – so what is it about this hideous shoe everyone wants to buy?

The Croc is unlike any other fashion shoe. For a start, it’s incredibly comfortable. It won’t rub your heel or create a blister, you won’t sweat in them, they’re soft and cosy on the foot and as heavy as they look, they’re as light as a feather to wear. As for style and design, again, these are a shoe unlike any other. They’re shaped and designed to fit the foot perfectly – no pointy peep toe in sight. They’re flat and sculpted for snug support – no stiletto heels here. They’re created out of Croslite, a closed-cell resin that is soft and comfortable, so no slick patent leather or slinky fabric straps.

In theory, Crocs certainly aren’t for the style-conscious, the trend-savvy or footwear fashion snobs but it isn’t just the crazy, comfort-seeking, fad-embracing, style-less men and women who have embraced them. You and me are wearing them, our feet love them and hell, let’s make bright fuchsia and lime the new black.

But why have we allowed Crocs into our otherwise fashionable wardrobes without a fight? Is it purely because they’re comfortable and practical? If so, will we be seeing a return of the useful 90’s bum bag? Will wearing our cosiest pair of pyjamas become acceptable work attire or will snug (albeit flammable) shell suits make a comeback in the name of comfort? Probably not (we hope), yet Crocs seem to offer a fashion fad many of us are willing to embrace, even if it means sacrificing our sense of style.

The moment you slip on one of these highly unfashionable, rebellious, ugly duckling of a shoes (purely through curiosity), we’re hooked. They look horrendous but feel fabulous and give our long-suffering feet a well-earned rest from the towering heels we so love. They’re naughty, bright and remind us of our cosy childhood Wellington boots and buckle shoes that never gave us blisters. Mum can wear them, Dad can wear them and the kids can get matching colours – they’re an all round, multi-purpose, fun and comfortable shoe: simple as that.

After winning the June 2007 Gold Drapers Footwear of the Year Award, Crocs seem to be here to stay for a little while longer, with an extensive product range that goes way beyond the style we’ve come to love/hate. There’s the Hydro, the Islander, the Nile and adorable Croclings (especially for kids). They’ve even started their own range of apparel containing sporty T-Shirts, Ponchos and board shorts – far less outrageous than the shoes but retaining that vibrant quirkiness that defines the eccentric Croc brand.

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