Among the many contentious articles of clothing out there, Crocs—those rubbery, brightly colored shoes your dad probably wears to fetch the paper—occupy a special space. They are not, like the male romper, intended to be ostentatious. Like the equally contentious cargo shorts and fanny pack, Crocs possess a pure, unassuming functionality, in that they are comfortable, sturdy, and easy to slip on. And yet their bright colors and rubbery, alien construction suggest something designed to also be “fun,” in their way. They’re a strange blend of conventionality and eccentricity.
Anyway, people hate them. They get very mad about Crocs! However, the style-forward writers and editors of GQ have noted a recent resurgence in Croc ownership among stylish celebrities like Shia Labeouf and Jared Leto, as well as a cream-colored pair at a recent Gucci show. And the shoes themselves fit into a larger, normcore trend, including dad hats, light wash jeans, and corny windbreakers. Could these much-maligned shoes be having a moment in the sun? The magazine assembled a panel to discuss.
Perhaps most interesting are the arguments in favor of the shoes:
Pro: “Not sure I’d call it a moment. I think most people still hate them, but most people are basic and put their insecurities above their willingness to wear something that will make them feel good. Crocs are silly, but so are most basketball shoes. I think they look kinda cool. I wouldn’t wear them to work, but I’ll wear them out to parties or whatever in the summer. They are a million times better than flip-flops, that’s for sure.” —Noah Johnson
Pro: “Crocs are cool. They were demonized for a long time (at times I think performatively, like patting yourself on the back for making a Nickelback joke) to the point a lot of cool people started wearing them to fuck with the perceived ruleset. Crocs are the insurgency. Being comfy and very affordable helps.” —Chris Gayomali, GQ.com culture editor
Unclear: “Comfortable, but in the way farting out loud at home is comfortable.” —Kevin Nguyen, GQ.com deputy editor
Although there are some pretty damning arguments to be made against them, too:
Con: “Plenty of things have moments. Ska had a moment. Surge had a moment. Crash won for Best Picture. Crocs are the Crash of footwear. The guys who wear them are probably fine, decent people, except, like the Motion Picture Academy of America in 2006, they’ve made a big mistake, and they should be reminded of it, repeatedly.” —Jon Wilde
To read many more arguments for and against the official footwear of Mario Batali, as well as some style do’s and don’ts for people dabbling in Croc culture, check out the full article.