Riding the wave of the Crocs

The first time I tried on a pair of Crocs, I was in study hall. This kid named Marlin slid them off and told me I had to give them a go. Marlin wasn’t known for his sartorial choices. He liked to wear thick white socks with flip-flops; the thong wedged into the cotton between his toes. But curiosity got the best of me, so I slid the Crocs on. The sweat left over from Marlin’s bare feet lubricated the plastic against my own skin, and I felt nothing but repulsion. It was a no for me. But it turns out Marlin was just ahead of the times.

Now, more than ten years after I graduated from high school, I think Crocs are the coolest. I have multiple pairs, and I pine for more. And I am not alone in this. These days Crocs show up in paparazzi photos of Post Malone and on Balenciaga runways. Since the genesis of Crocs in 2001, the wearers of these clunky plastic clogs have shifted from clueless vacation dads to TikTok fashion girlies. What used to be corny is cool—and what’s cool to people is always arbitrary. All I want right now are big comfy shoes that look like cartoons.

Once, I had a friend with a Wrangler explain the “Jeep wave” to me—a two-finger salute that Jeep drivers share when they pass each other by. My buddy was embarrassed by Jeep culture, and pretended to never see the bros gesturing through their wide front windows. I’ve found a similar camaraderie among Crocs wearers, but I am not ashamed at all. When I am wearing Crocs, and I compliment a stranger who is wearing Crocs, we simply have the time of our lives. We talk about the pairs we have, the pairs we want, the sort of innate goofiness that accompanies wearing shoes that are objectively pretty ugly.

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