REVIEW: Crocs

Posted In: Blog, Camping Gear, Product Review, RV Lifestyle, RV Products

Is there a “best” shoe for RV camping? This is a question that has plagued philosophers and theologians for centuries. In this space, I’m trying to achieve what Plato and St. Thomas Aquinas could not: intellectual clarity with regard to camping footwear.

We’ve already sung the praises of the Merrell Jungle Moc. Indeed, the Jungle Moc is widely revered for its comfort, function, durability, and styling. Is it the sole winner of the best shoe award? As the master Yoda once said, “No…there is another.”

In this case, the ‘another’ is Crocs flip flops.

Wait! Hear me out.

The Athens style of Crocs is getting hard to find, but the company is constantly introducing updated styles of a comparable design.

The Athens style of Crocs is getting hard to find, but the company is introducing updated styles of a comparable design. The sandals offer an alternative to the original clogs. You get the benefits of the Croslite material, without all the social stigma.

Yes, Crocs – the widely loved and/or ridiculed shoe that debuted with a style looking like clogs of jelly beans and Swiss cheese. Crocs sprang onto the scene several years ago, and quickly suffered the blessing and curse of becoming a fad. As a fad, for a few months every man, woman, and child in North America bought a pair of Crocs. The company’s sales were stratospheric and the stock price followed suit. In 2006 Crocs debuted the biggest IPO in shoe industry history.

But alas! We all know what happens after a meteoric rise. Crocs experienced a crashing fall to earth that was based upon a surprising cause. The shoes were too good. What do I mean? Well, the shoes proved to be so durable that when the next year rolled around, owners saw no reason to replace them. (“These still look new. Why buy another pair?”)

So Crocs sales tapered off, as buyers were slow to buy additional shoes. As time passed, the fad element of Crocs passed – as all fads do. There was even a bit of anti-Crocs backlash, as people began ridiculing the original signature style. Yet here we are years later, still wearing our Crocs. In fact, we wear them daily when we are Airstream camping. Why? Allow me to explain.

Crocs GIF 1

Crocs slip on & slip off. You don’t want to be fool around with tying & untying shoelaces every time you enter & exit your RV.

We own Crocs in the Athens style (Plato would approve). To my eyes, they look like any other sandal or flip flop. Since the styling is based upon what ancient Greeks coveted, I don’t think these are going out of fashion anytime soon. (Not that I really care too much about style; I’ve been known to wear dark socks with shorts, which every real man should do on occasion just to irritate the local teenagers and amuse his wife.) Anyway, the Athens Crocs are good looking shoes.

Crucially for RV camping, Crocs slip on and slip off. There are no laces. Nor are there any socks. It’s easy to remove these shoes at the door in an instant.

These are simple flip flops. But something about the design and material makes them cling to the foot better than old fashioned flip flops. They don’t really flip or flop; instead they grip and support the foot. I never liked wearing old fashioned flip flops, but Crocs are a different animal.

Shoes in this sandal style are light and airy. They help keep your feet cool on a hot summer day. But here’s the major upside of Crocs: they are ridiculously supportive and comfortable.

Shortly after acquiring our first pair of Crocs, we put them through the fearsome Disney Test. Yes, we pounded the asphalt pavement of Disney World for several days wearing our new Crocs. After a typical day at Disney World in any normal shoe, feet and knees feel like they’ve been severely beaten with reed canes. But not with Crocs. We were amazed to traverse the legendary foot-punishing terrain of Mickey Mouse, and come home in the evening without a smidgen of discomfort.

The secret sauce of Crocs is the material from which they are constructed. It’s neither rubber nor plastic. The company claims to have developed a proprietary type of footwear resin called “Croslite” that’s supportive and long lasting. Many company marketing claims are suitable for use as fertilizer, but this one apparently has some merit. The shoe material is brilliant at load leveling and shock absorption. In fact, Crocs are so comfortable that they are favorites of people whose work environments involve standing all day. Many chefs, nurses and doctors love their Crocs.

Can you wash Crocs in a dishwasher? Well, your mileage may vary, but mine survived.

Can you wash Crocs in a dishwasher? Well, your mileage may vary, but mine survived without any shrinkage. Just turn off the heat cycle.

In another major advantage for camping, Crocs are easily cleaned. The Croslite material washes clean with soap and water in a sink or with a hose. If you are wanting to put Crocs through a more vigorous cleaning, it’s even possible to place them in the dishwasher. (Caveat: some people claim this shrinks the shoes, but we haven’t had any problems. Just please be sure to turn off the heat dry cycle, and don’t blame me if your shoes shrink.)

The Crocs Croslite material is closed cell in nature and does not absorb water. Crocs don’t foster the growth of bacteria and have virtually no odor.

My only complaint about the Athens Crocs is they grow slippery when wet. As the bottom of the sole wears smooth, it loses grip. If you are walking on a smooth surface like concrete or tile in smooth wet Crocs, you need to be extremely careful to avoid a faceplant. You have been warned. On a rainy day, or in any wet conditions, I’m going with Merrell Jungle Mocs.

It should also be noted that we’re discussing RV camping here – not mountain climbing or serious hiking and such outdoor activities. Crocs are shoes for spending time at the campground and/or venturing around town.

I own three pairs of Crocs in the Athens style. I started with a blue pair, added a brown, and then for good measure added a blue/brown. What’s next? Brown/blue? If I was buying today, I might try the newer styles of Crocs sandals, as I suspect the bottom sole may provide an improved grip in wet conditions. Besides, our old Athens style is getting hard to find.

Incidentally, it’s interesting to note that although the Crocs company took a nosedive, it is once again thriving. Recently the company announced its best quarter of sales ever. If the new styles gain widespread acceptance, the brand may transition from fad to icon.

Crocs sandals are not very expensive, especially when you consider the durability and longevity. We never camp without ’em.


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