We Need To Talk About… The Comfy Shoe Revolution
Questlove on the red carpet of The 93rd Oscars at Union Station in Los Angeles, 25 April 2021. Photograph by Mr Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S.
Once the exclusive footwear of nurses and surgeons (professionals who spend all day on their feet) and children (who don’t know any better), comfortable shoes are now the hottest thing in the fashion world. Yes, the same industry better known for pushing teetering heels on women has about-turned and discovered the joys of shoes that don’t come with a metatarsal osteotomy as standard. Your mum – if not Mr Cruz Beckham’s mum, as we’ll see later – will be happy. But should you tread carefully when it comes to this trend? We did some old-fashion (Socratic, even) shoe-leather reporting.
The “Comfy Shoe Revolution”: is this an important chapter of 20th-century history that I’ve missed?
More recent than that – you’re living through it. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll probably have noticed the re-emergence of Crocs…
The large, tropic-dwelling, semi-aquatic reptiles, whose lineage can be traced back to the Late Triassic epoch?
The foam clogs made by the company of the same name, founded in 2002.
I thought they went the way of the deinosuchus?
No such luck. While the maker skirted with bankruptcy in the late 2000s, the synthetic shoe proved aptly buoyant. In fact, it survived long enough to, perhaps inevitably, earn the endorsement of the fashion industry. First Mr Christopher Kane embraced the brand, then it caught the attention of Mr Demna Gvasalia.
The very same, with the latter house unleashing a platform version of the cumbersome sandals. Now they’re officially back – and in a deinosuchus-big way. Last December, Crocs were pitched as the shoe of 2021. And the prediction seems to be holding out. Just last week, the company reported a 64 per cent jump in revenue over the first quarter of the year, the same week the shoes were championed by Mr Cruz Beckham, son of Mr David Beckham, and spotted on the feet of the musician Questlove on the red carpet at the Academy Awards.
I’m not sure how to feel about Crocs being worn to the Oscars. Wasn’t the dress code “a fusion of ‘Inspirational and Aspirational’”?
Questlove’s Crocs were gold.
Well, I guess that covers it.
Not that everyone is so enamoured, though. In fact, Cruz’s mum is not impressed at all. When sent a complimentary pair of Crocs by Mr Justin Bieber – in lilac, part of a collaboration with Biebs’ label Drew house – Ms Victoria Beckham replied rather curtly: “I think I’d rather die but thank you anyway”.
She could try painting them gold. But should I invest in a pair?
Other footwear is available. In truth, the rise of working from home has seen a surge in the sales of all forms of “house shoes”, from espadrilles to slippers. Combined with a general move away from the more formal conventions of what a man is expected to wear, not to mention the supremacy of sneakers, it seems it’s pretty safe to play it by ear when it comes to your feet.
Crocs: worth dipping a toe into, then?
Considerably more so than a billabong when the shoe’s namesake is nearby.