Crocs clogs debuted in 2002 and quickly became a hit with consumers who wanted colorful and leisurely sandals to wear around the house. But soon backlash began to build against this funky foam footwear, as Time magazine in 2010 named Crocs one of the worst inventions ever. Then the pandemic descended on the world and many people stuck in their homes suddenly realized the benefits of wearing inexpensive and comfortable clogs. As a result, Crocs expects sales to increase by 40 to 50 percent this year, amounting to as much as $2.1 billion.
The company’s stock price has skyrocketed by 300 percent since 2020, which prompted a change in management and overall strategy as Crocs got ready for the big time. “With this revival, they’ve strengthened their board, completely rotated the executive management team and simplified what they stand for, which is the classic clog,” said analyst Erinn Murphy. “Some people love them, some hate them, but it’s what they’re known for and they’ve really leaned into it.” Crocs has also collaborated with stars like Justin Bieber and luxury brands like Balenciaga for limited-run collectors’ clogs. In fact, the company even made a fried-chicken-print Croc in collaboration with KFC.
Riding the momentum of its recent resurgence, Crocs announced last week that it would make radical changes to the ingredients of its clogs and promised that they will be entirely bio-based by 2022. The concept rests on a new material called Ecolibrium, which is based on renewable resources and waste products like paper pulp and palm oil. While Crocs said these changes would bring it to a net-zero carbon footprint, environmentalist critics claim that the company’s use of palm oil negates its efforts towards sustainability. “Substituting palm oil will not solve Crocs’ contribution to climate change,” said Anna Jones, head of forests at Greenpeace UK. “It is ignoring that land use expansion for palm oil plantations is a driver of deforestation that has direct consequences fuelling the climate crisis.”
- Why have Crocs skyrocketed in popularity since 2020?
- What are the marketing advantages and disadvantages of Crocs’ recent commitment to using sustainable materials?
Sources: Abha Bhattarai, “Love Them or Hate Them, Crocs Are Back,” The Washington Post, June 3, 2021; Priya Elan, “Crocs to Change Clogs’ Ingredients to Be Bio-Based by 2022,” The Guardian, September 15, 2021.