How this unexpected shoe was the gateway into my barefoot shoe journey.
The Back Story
Before I start – In no way am I saying that crocs are barefoot shoes. They did however, at time when I needed it, fulfill a requirement for a wide toe box and mid-foot. I found that they caused minimal aggravation on my ankle through rubbing, and were an integral part of my barefoot journey.
In September of 2018, I had an issue with the Peroneal tendons in my left ankle. As many can probably relate, it’s quite enjoyable. After months of frustratingly painful steps, useless remedies and other gimmicks, such as insoles and ankle braces – I finally found Crocs. After a painstaking search for a shoe that I could wear with out trouble I found my first relief in a shop that years ago I would’ve vowed never to step foot in, or step my feet in for that matter.The first time I witnessed a pair of Crocs was one hot West Australian summers day, on the feet of a family friend at a BBQ. I was in my late teens at the time, and I bet you could imagine what my impression was. In retrospect, he did seem pretty comfortable.
I was quite a dysfunctional shoe collector prior to my injury, and for some reason after my injury my body was naturally inclined to seek something wider. It was almost as though it was a defense mechanism activating with in me. As I said, prior to finding relief with the Crocs I had immense trouble finding a shoe that would comfortably support my foot after injury. With in days of purchasing them, I had returned a pair of Brooks, Saucony and Nike free runs after having tried almost every shoe commercially available. This experience set me back, all I wanted was something that allowed me to walk with out pain. It got to the point where sandals were becoming the only option, and even they were giving me grief. For a while there I had given up….
Funnily enough one day, whilst shopping with my girlfriend, she had made the dreadful suggestion of “Hey, why don’t you try on some crocs”. At this I was defeated, I had exhausted what I thought was every option out there, and so I walked in and gave the lovely salesman a bit of a rundown.
Company Background:Crocs were founded by Scott Seamans, Lyndon “Duke” Hanson, and George Boedecker Jr. who aimed to produce and distribute a foam clog design, which they had acquired from a company called Foam Creations. The shoe was originally developed as a boating shoe. The first model produced by Crocs “The Beach” was unveiled in 2002 at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in Florida, and sold out the 200 pairs produced at that time. It has since sold 300 million pairs of shoes globally.
Specifications:Materials: The whole shoe is made from 2 pieces of injection-moulded EVA foam, which is handy for easy cleaning.The sole: The sole is quite wide and accommodating. It has somewhat of a heel to toe drop, and is quite high off the ground. The bottom of the sole has some traction surprisingly, even in wet weather, and is quite durable. It has little nodes on the foot bed, which is nice for sensory purposes and has an almost non-existent arch support. At the time of the injury my feet were relatively sensitive and I assume that the thick foam sole somewhat helped heal my feet – a transition straight into barefoot could’ve essentially been unbeneficial. Upper: The upper is an enclosed clog with holes for ventilation and drainage. They don’t restrict the toes too and they have an adjustable strap on the heel, which to my surprise, has never given me a problem with slippage.
Conclusion:To summarise – besides crocs not having a barefoot sole, I really can’t fault them as a shoe to transition in, go to the beach in, or to take the bins out. They were vital to my recovery and I had some good times with them. I hope that crocs realise that there is a barefoot market and that they convert the clog to a more functional shoe. - Alex, Thebarefootshoereview.