The Hubby and I, we’re not a fashion-conscious couple — not by a long shot. We don’t follow trends. We don’t rush out to the store to purchase the latest. And we don’t consider ourselves stylish. In fact, if we had a voguish mantra, it would be: comfort, comfort, comfort.
Now, however, The Hubby finds himself in a confounding situation. His footwear of choice, one he has worn for more years than he cares to count, has become a hot commodity. What to do when, through no fault (or choice) of your own, you become a fashionista in retirement?
Let me back up a bit. The Hubby has been wearing Crocs, those ugly-looking shoes made of a foam resin called “Croslite,” since before the grandchildren were born. Which is to say, the lifetime of an adolescent. He wore them before Justin Bieber, before Bad Bunny, before Post Malone, before DJ Diplo, before Nicki Minaj. In other words, he was trendy before Crocs became a fashion statement to be Instagrammed.
I suspect all this attention given to shoes with holes worries him. Though he hasn’t let on, he’s likely appalled that this attention might cause the price to spike. He’s used to buying them directly from the manufacturer, usually during sales or on a BOGO special. Now, however, there may be a run on the very item that he once thought impervious to the fluctuation of fads.
Plain and simple, The Hubby likes them because they’re comfortable and require little thought in the way of outfit-matching. I understand this completely. I find it too taxing to try anything beyond brown and black shoes, with the occasional white sandals thrown in. (I’ve long wished for workplace uniforms, so there’s no worry about attire every morning. That, however, is fodder for another column.)
Because he’s a practical man first and foremost, The Hubby has a selection system for his Crocs. He doesn’t buy colors, not a single neon, not a tie-dye, not an animal print or camo. He doesn’t decorate them with shoe charms, either. Oh, heavens, no. He likes them as plain as black construction paper, which, by the way, is his preferred hue. Sometimes brown. There’s no way you can mess up those colors.
He has dress Crocs and daily Crocs. Though they look the same to me, he has politely pointed out the features that distinguish one class from the other. I pretend to agree. To me, the difference is really in the amount of scuff and wear.
No matter. Now, he’s very much the IT grandpa. When I read that Crocs’ sales had skyrocketed during the pandemic, I thought it a sign of the times. Like sweatpants. Like accessorized face masks. Like work pajamas. Eventually, they would go the way of shoulder pads and mullet haircuts.
Apparently, I erred on the side of logic. Crocs sales have continued to climb, and an investment newsletter I’m very fond of predicted the shoe brand’s revenue growth would be between 20% to 25% this year. Celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon of collaboration, too, pairing their expensive threads with shoes that really belong on the beach or boat, not at a dinner party.
Bieber’s second collaboration with the shoe brand, for example, sold out quickly. I saw a photo of him shod in lavender plastic Crocs with Jibbitz charms and white socks. The socks are from his own clothing line, but the other sartorial choices are … are — hey, I’m trying to be diplomatic here.
Now, social media is on fire over Crocs with stiletto heels, created with Balenciaga for the fashion house’s Spring 2022 collection. The two companies have a history together. Back in 2017 they teamed up for platform Crocs. They sold out before they were officially released, at the not-to-sneeze-at price of $850 a pair.
Even GQ weighed in with a headline that perfectly expresses my reaction: “We Can’t Believe It, Either: Crocs Are Cool Now.”
So, I’ve learned my lesson. I will never ever again tease The Hubby about his shoe choices. He is clearly a man ahead of his time.
Ana Veciana-Suarez writes about family and social issues. Email her at email@example.com or visit her website anavecianasuarez.com. Follow @AnaVeciana.