If the Shoe Fits: Visiting the Crocs capital of the world
Amber McNaught writes...
As I mentioned in my last column for Shoewawa, I spent a couple of weeks in Florida earlier this month (new shoe count: 6 pairs). While there are some great shoe bargains to be had in the sunshine state (just ask my long suffering husband - and my credit card company), it quickly became clear to me that I was visiting what has to be the Crocs capital of the world.
Yes, there are Crocs everywhere in the state of Florida. We travelled from Orlando down to Key West, and from Key West to Miami, and no matter where we went we saw the same thing: Crocs. Either there was some kind of crazy Crocs convention going on at the time or the unimaginable has happened: Crocs have become one of the world's favourite types of footwear.
To be fair to Florida, it's not just its own residents that have had a taste bypass. A huge number of the people we noticed wearing plastic gardening shoes were clearly tourists, which just means that the Croc invasion is a worldwide one. At one point, standing in line for a ride at Epcot, I decided to play a little game with myself to pass the time. "I bet if I turn around now, I'll be able to spot at least one pair of Crocs before I count to ten," I told myself. As it turned out, I only had to count to one - the family standing directly behind me were all wearing Crocs. Every one of them. Which brings me to some Croc-based crimes I noticed:
1. The Family Crocs
Time and time again we would see them: mum, dad and the kids, all wearing matching plastic shoes. Why?! Bad enough that you would wear Crocs yourself, but matching ones? For the whole family? I actually can't imagine a single scenario in which I'd happily wear exactly the same shoes as everyone else in my family. No matter what the shoe was (I don't think my dad would wear Louboutins, so I guess I'm safe with this statement), I suspect it would still look pretty naff, no? And when the shoe in question is a Croc? Twice as naff.
2. The Crocs that match your suitcase
At the airport on the way out I saw my first Croc Crime: a woman with a bright pink suitcase, worn with matching bright pink Crocs. I'm on the fence about the matching-your-handbag-to-you-shoes question, but again, when the shoes are Crocs, the matchy-matchy look is a big no.
3. The Fake Crocs (pictured)
Such is the popularity of Crocs that fakes have started to make their way onto the market. I took this picture in a gift shop near Disney - note the attractive multicoloured appearance!
Finally, in St Augustine, I decided I had to find out what this Crocs madness is all about. Spotting a rack of the offending footwear outside a shop, I looked around to make sure no one was watching, then slipped a pair on. I waited to be blown away by the comfort of the things, because every time I hear people defend their decision to wear Crocs, they seem to mention how very comfortable they are. It didn't happen. Sure, the Crocs were comfortable (I took a quick walk around the store to make sure), but no more comfortable than many other shoes I've worn, and the bright colour and comic shape of them made me feel like I was in fancy dress as one of Snow White's gnomes.
Needless to say, I won't be buying Crocs anytime soon. And if anyone ever says they saw me try them on, I will deny it!
Amber McNaught is the editor of Shoewawa. She doesn't care how comfortable Crocs are, she still thinks they're ugly.