Crocs, the rubbery gardening shoes most fashion world denizens wouldn’t be caught dead in, just got a high-end, platform-soled makeover courtesy of Balenciaga. The brand’s creative director Demna Gvasalia, who also designs for cult label Vetements, has a long history of creating similarly ironic fashion statements for the house, including a $3,000 handbag meant to look like a cheap IKEA tote, a Balenciaga-branded bicycle, and a menswear collection inspired by Bernie Sanders. He sent the shoes down the runway in several pin-bedecked colorways at Balenciaga’s Spring 2018 show, which took place over the weekend in Paris.
“It’s a very innovative shoe. It’s light, it’s a one-piece foam mould and to me these kind of techniques and working with these kind of materials is very Balenciaga,” Gvasalia told Us Weekly.
The internet remains staunchly divided on the aesthetic merits of the shoe, which has a decidedly ’70s vibe that feels reminiscent of a vintage clog. While Crocs, which are beloved by people like chefs, soccer moms, and hospital workers, are known for their comfort, it’s unlikely that these, with their 4-inch platforms, are quite as easy to move around in. But they will, however, look awesome with the bell-bottoms and wide-leg pants that are coming back into style. We’ll be on the lookout for them on daring street style stars.
Balenciaga isn’t the first high-end label to draw inspiration from Crocs. Last year, Christopher Kane released a line of rubber shoes with chunky gemstones embedded in the holes, a move that also divided the fashion world into pro-Croc and anti-Croc camps. But thanks to the unique shape provided by the platform, Balenciaga’s Crocs move farther away from the shoe that inspired them than Kane’s did, which could make them more palatable to the masses.
Despite their ubiquity, Crocs has fallen on hard times as of late. In March, it was announced they would be closing 158 stores due to sluggish sales; in May, the brand lost a patent ruling against competitor Dawgs; and in August, they reportedly ramped up store closings. Perhaps a little high fashion cred is exactly what the brand needs to get back on their rubber-encased feet.