April 24, 2011

No Crocs in Public.

Photo from www.crocs.com
In Tokyo, the fashion-foward capital of the world, the last thing I expected to see were Crocs. I was prepared for the Little Bo Peep fashions of Harijuku and the awesomely expensive designer clothing everywhere else; but much to my chagrin, not only were Croc-wearing Japanese on the train, in the shops and on the streets, but there was also a Crocs Store in the middle of an expensive shopping district. Out of place in the formal and image-conscious Japan, Crocs were designed to be a comfortable, clean and lightweight alternative for those with weary feet. Because of their disregard for fashion, they look like two neon platypus beaks with swiss cheese holes. Theyare made in 160 colors and they are unfortunately available, as I have witnessed, around the globe. While I support the notion of comfortable footwear, the public use of Crocs in place of normal shoes should be prohibited.

Functionality is important, but at what cost? Crocs compromise the aesthetic of every outfit. The simplicity of jeans and a t-shirt is overwhelmed by the lime green duck bills on your feet. Imagine a cute dress with a pair of Crocs—it's like a fine steak with ketchup. Sweatpants are the only acceptable compliment to Crocs, but if you're wearing that, just stay home. Don't even go to the grocery store like that. You may feel comfortable, but your look won't comfort others.

Crocs do have a purpose. While gardening, you are sure to get dirt and mud on your shoes. With Crocs, you can just give them a quick spray with the garden hose. They will still be ugly, but they will be clean as the day you bought them. Nurses can wear Crocs with scrubs because they work long shifts on their feet (in a place where people have access to morphine). The last acceptable time for Crocs is private, in-home use. If you want to walk around your house looking schlumpy, that's on you. Just leave them at home.

The Croc Company has tried to improve the Croc image by making Croc add-on straps and buttons. The Hello Kitty adornments seem cute enough until you snap them into one of the holes of your Croc. Then your Croc becomes a black hole of terrible, sucking all cute from the universe. If you live in a cold climate and your plastic shoes with holes aren't cutting it behind the snowblower, you can order fur-lined Crocs. It's a nightmare. Speaking of night-mare, if you want to dress up your evening Croc wardrobe, snag a pair of Croc heels or flats. They have something (unattractive) for every occasion.

My hatred of the Croc is related to my personal inability to wear cute shoes. Due partly to genetics and partly to years of volleyball shoes, flip-flops, and high-heel attempts, my feet are a minefield of pain. I've got bunions, tight tendons and even some neuromas. When I wear heels or cheap flats, it feels like I'm walking on nails. Since I like to walk without crying, I've been sentenced to a life of Birkenstocks and athletic shoes. Subsequently, all of my cute outfits have already been sabotaged. Unappealing as both of my footwear options are, they are better than the look-at-me hideousness of Crocs. At least I look like I've done a lot of walking in the athletic shoes, or like I'm a neo-hippy (minus the pot) in the Birks. Once I don the Crocs, I tell the world “I give up.”

If Crocs were the last shoes on Earth, I would rather go barefoot. Of course, with my foot problems, going barefoot is not an option, so I'd be forced to wear the Crocs. Or cut off my feet.