Some shoes are just destined to become legendary: Converse’s Chuck Taylor sneaker, the Birkenstock Arizona sandal and the Crocs clog.

That’s right—we just mentioned the upstart Crocs clog in the same breath as iconic shoe brands like Birkenstock and Converse, and we meant it. No matter how you feel about Crocs’ quirky footwear, they’re here to stay. You can’t deny that a shoe company that has sold over 200 million pairs of shoes in 90 countries in less thanabout twenty years is onto something.* Nor will you be able to resist the allure of the Croc once you’ve given them a try.

A Funny Shoe, a Funny Story

Just as the thongs we now wear began as beachwear, Crocs began not as everyday footwear but as spa shoes. Crocs founders Scott Seamans, Lyndon ‘Duke’ Hanson and George Boedecker Jr. acquired the classic Crocs clog, Beach, from a company called Foam Creations, and unveiled it at a 2002 boat show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The company’s founders promoted Crocs’ incredibly light and airy design by tossing them into the crowd of onlookers at the boat show. All 200 available pairs were sold, and Crocs was well on its way to becoming a household name.

The Secret’s in the Cells

No one has ever accused the original Crocs clog of being anything near attractive—their almost-instant success in spite of their distinctively clunky appearance made the shoes something of a joke. But the joke was on detractors, who were often converted as soon as they stepped foot into their first pair of Crocs. Anyone who’s ever worn Crocs will tell you that they feel like nothing else, and that’s due to the patented material used in the shoes’ construction. Called Croslite, this closed-cell resin foam moulds to the wearer’s foot, offering lightweight, odour-resistant comfort.

The Croc Steps Out

Few shoe companies have enjoyed as quick a rise to ubiquity as Crocs. By 2005, the brand had grown to encompass orthopaedic shoes. Next came Jibbitz, rubber ‘charms’ one could insert into the Crocs’ clogs’ ventilation holes. In 2007, the first Crocs created to coordinate with workwear were introduced. But fashion-forward men and women continued to avoid the shoes. It was inevitable that the company would branch out into more than just the flats and clogs for women and clogs for men and children that made them famous. Crocs now offers boots, sandals, athletic shoes—even wedge heels for women. Chances are, you’re seeing Crocs’ expanded, on-trend shoes every day, but don’t recognise them without the dots and Jibbitz!

If you’ve dreamed of bringing Crocs comfort from the garden to the boardwalk, the office, the mall and even the dance floor, now is the time to take another look. There are more Crocs styles available than ever before, and if you’re only familiar with the earlier styles, you are going to be pleasantly surprised!

*Statistic via Crocs.com