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I realized this weekend that my 8-year-old son and my 6-year-old daughter have lost interest in their Crocs. Last year’s purchases are still around, ready to wear thanks to fact that each pair can span several sizes. When I asked my kids why they weren’t reaching for them this year, my daughter said “they’re ugly” (can’t argue there) and my son just dismissed his shoes as too old.
What’s going on? Has the garish foam footwear merely had its day, destined to go the way of platform boots and Earth Shoes? To some extent, yes. The Washington Post ran an article yesterday, exploring the company’s stumbles. With excess inventory and a mountain of debt, some are wondering if Crocs will even survive. The piece quotes one investment manager concluding that “the company’s toast”—an assessment that Croc CEO John Duerden vigorously disputes today on the company blog.
Others suggest that Crocs are a casualty of the recession. Cheap as they are, at around $25 a pair, they look as if they actually cost a buck to make. Jelly sandals, another not-so-hot commodity these days, tend to charge in the $5 range. (At least for kids. I came across a pair at Ralph Lauren pair at Bloomingdales that has a sticker price of $195, though they’re now on sale for $136.50.) More important, for Crocs at least, it’s pretty easy to buy cheaper knock-offs for those who love the feel of wide rubber clogs.
And who wants to look cheap right now? Many of the hip executives who wore blue jeans to the office during flush times are now reaching for suits and ties. So maybe sporting shocking pink plastic on your feet (at least as an adult) is a little less enticing, too.
Then again, maybe Crocs are just a fad that has run its course. Heelys, the skate shoe that has also fallen out of favor in our household, is having its own problems these days.
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