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I hated Crocs more than anyone, but just one visit to its store helped me understand why the brand is doing so well

Business Insider | Aug 20, 2019, 08.02PM IST

Crocs wall of little crocs

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

A wall of baby Crocs makes a huge mural in a Manhattan Crocs store.

  • Like it or not, Crocs are here to stay.
  • The company has sold more than 300 million pairs of shoes since 2002 and recently reported a 14% revenue increase in its second quarter.
  • But people still have strong opinions about the shoes that seem to break every rule of fashion.
  • I visited a Crocs store in Manhattan to see why the company is doing so well. What I saw made me change my mind about one of the world's most divisive shoes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

You either love them or hate them. But odds are, you've got an opinion about them.

Crocs are the shoes that everyone loves to hate - or hates to love. The comfort-focused clogs are divisive, to say the least.

When they first launched in 2002, they skyrocketed in popularity, becoming one of the most recognizable shoes in existence.

Since then, over 300 million pairs of Crocs have sold in 90 countries. But the ubiquity and hype of the clogs have not stopped critics from lashing out. As a writer for Slate put it, "A Croc is not a shoe; it is a Tinkertoy on steroids."

Read more: I ordered the same items from Amazon and Walmart to see which would do one-day shipping better - but both had issues

Today, you can get crocs in almost every style for every occasion, from weddings to Pride. There have even been Crocs-inspired handbags and Crocs with miniature fanny packs attached to them. The recently viral Crocs-inspired gloves created by a fan garnered a tremendous amount of attention, and not all of it was positive.

But despite the hate, there is no denying that Crocs are here to stay.

"Demand for our product is strong and our brand heat is rising," said Crocs President and CEO Andrew Rees in its second-quarter earnings call in August. Crocs reported better than expected gross margins and revenue growth of approximately 14% over the same period last year when controlled for currency and store closures.

That makes a full four quarters of double-digit organic revenue growth for the brand.

I went to a Manhattan Crocs store to try and understand what all the hype was about. Though I walked in a Crocs-skeptic, I emerged a die-hard fan, fully understanding why the brand has been doing so well.

Here's why I changed my mind about the world's most divisive shoe:

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