Ugly Shoes

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So I did it. I can’t believe I did, and if you know me you will be shocked as well. I have rules that I live by, and doing this broke one of the cardinal rules in the world of Allie.

Thou Shalt Not Wear Ugly Footwear.

Uggs came out, and that is the sound I made when I saw them worn on the feet of every skinny little teen girl in the mall. Jelly shoes made a comeback and they made me back up with horror. Let’s not even get into the therapy I had to accept the creation of high-heeled hiking boots.

And then Crocs arrived.

crocsThey’re comfortable, they’re antimicrobial so even though they are made of plastic they won’t make your feet stink. They don’t cause blisters or sweaty tootsies. Sounds perfect for gardening or standing all day as a nurse or doctor or chef. This does NOT mean they are appropriate for daily wear. No matter how many cute colors they come in, they are UGLY. They can’t be made cute with a denim miniskirt, a pair of leggings or a vintage tee. They are hideous things that look as though they are made by Lego and should be banned except for those who would usually wear orthopedic shoes.

So I am going to a music festival this summer. Four days of camping, tunes, and lots of mud. I am addicted to the internet (um, yeah have four blogs people… it’s a problem!) and have been hitting message boards for this festival, finding out what camping gear I should take, what to wear, how to pack. There are full posts out there about the proper footwear because when it rains at this festival grounds, the place turns into major super duper mud. I have seen photographs of dozens of flip flops lost in mud. They say Tevas cause blisters, sneakers get destroyed, and the cheapest soundest footwear for this event is Crocs. They rinse off, they protect your feet from the sun and being stepped on, they stay in place in a mud pit, they don’t get stinky and you can stand all day and not be in pain.

I was planning on taking my Reef flops and maybe an old pair of tennis, but after testimonial after testimonial about these blasted marshmallow shoes, I figured I should give them a try. It would suck to be stuck in Tennessee mud for a week with the wrong shoes.

My husband works at REI and if any of you are married to retail folks, you know you usually get their discount. I headed to his shop to try on these dreaded Crocs. From the message boards, I heard they ran a bit big; I usually wear a 7.5 but fit comfortably in a 6. In my size I had the choice of red, purple, seafoam green, cadet blue and olive green. I was really hoping for the hot pink and tried on a size 5 but they were a tad too small. My husband came by and said the purple was funky without trying too hard. I decided on the traditional Cayman style, though they had the Mary Jane version. Sorry, if I am going to buy shoes of Styrofoam, I am going to accept the material, and not pretend they are cute or anything like “real” shoes.

So I popped them on and walked around the shoe department. Even though they seem to be made like flip flops with toe covers, they seem to support the foot quite nicely. They aren’t as structured as Birkenstocks on the foot, but comfortable nonetheless. Slingbacks usually slide down on my weird ankles, but these stayed in place. The nubbies on the foot bed weren’t painful as they are in Adidas flops and my very sweaty feet felt dry and comfortable in their marshmallow casing.

Then I looked at my reflection and was horrified. These shoes are HIDEOUS. My wide ankles looked totally nonexistent making my legs look like tree trunks. I am petite, but with these purple puffs I looked as though I should be on Little People, Big World. A reasonable outfit of Bermudas and a tee looked positively slovenly with these Barney-size and color shoes.

Crocs HistoryI took them off and took them to the register, vowing to never wear them outside of music festivals and my back yard. I could see why they received such great reviews; they are darn comfortable shoes!

The next day I walked to my friend’s house for a yoga session. She lives almost a mile away and I decided to wear the Crocs and see how they handle real walking. I arrived at her house blister free and just as comfortable as if I were wearing Nikes.

That night I was heading into town for a community meeting and got dressed and thought… maybe I should wear the Crocs. They’re comfortable, I will be walking to town, they’ll add a slash of color to my neutral-hue outfit. I put them on, I looked at my reflection in the mirror… and I took them off and replaced them with some stacked flops from J. Crew.

I just couldn’t do it. It was wrong, wrong, wrong.

The Crocs have gone up into the closet with the camping gear, awaiting next month when they can serve their duty in Manchester, Tennessee. I may have succumbed to the Crocs phenomenon, but I haven’t sacrificed my sanity or sense of style in the process!

So ladies, if you are heading into mud, muck and gunk this summer… then go ahead and get the proper footwear. However, this does not give you license to wear them to the grocery store, the gas station, the mall or gosh forbid, work. Have some self-respect and wear only items that flatter you. THIS INCLUDES SHOES. If you need comfortable shoes, companies like Aerosoles, Naturalizer, Easy Spirit, Born and Dansko that offer comfortable shoes in flattering styles. Do not suffer for style, be it with pain or with bad fashion!

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  1. I LOVE my brown Mary Jane’s. I have lots of foot pain and these have really helped me. Wish they would have been around when I was having babies! I look at all of my ‘old’ shoes differently now… how can I get rid of them? My feet don’t sweat in them, they are easy to clean, and you don’t HAVE to buy Marshmallow Pink ones!

  2. I couldn’t resist. I bought the Airwalks (Croc knock-offs) for gardening. So amazing for just that. When I have to duck into the garage, water the yard, grab the paper in the rain, these shoes rock. Am I going to wear them to the market… um, no. Only early morning neighbors and lawn gnomes see me in them, so it’s okay.

  3. I like you hate the look of the Croc, but like the feel…the perfect solution is the Croc Prima Ballerina…a cute little ballet flat, but lightweight and comfy like a croc! I have them in black & wear them all the time…especially when traveling!

  4. My dad bought me a pair of black Crocs because his friend told him it was very comfortable (and it is, yes). It’s been months and I still haven’t worn it. That thing is so hideous! I’d probably just wear it when I start driving. 🙂

  5. Hey anonymous, I got them at, but and has ’em, too. Fogdog happened to have the lowest price (plus a $10 off for my first time using Google checkout), but it seems their selection ebbs and flows. They do run large, but from I’ve read at the Crocs website, they are supposed to. They have a fit guide at the Crocs website as well. I used the fit guide and got a size 9–I usually wear somewhere between a 7.5 and an 8.5. They fit loosely, but apparently they are supposed to.

  6. Finally someone said it- I just don’t get the obsession! They sound perfect for 1. gardening 2. your music festival. Otherwise, I’ll take your advice and stick to Easy Spirit for my cute shoes.

  7. Thank you for not succumbing! They were heralded as the new Ugg, but they are absolutely hideous. Awful.
    Hope they fare well at the music fest though, your reason sounds like a good reason to me!

  8. I have a pair of pink primas and I actually like the way they look. Unlike the regular crocs, they fit much closer to the foot. I tried the regular crocs, but they made my size 9 feet look ginormous. I must say, however, crocs look really cute on my 2 girls. My 4 y/o has 4 pairs and my 1 year old has 2 pairs. It’s pretty much all they wear. So….they can look totally cute…if you have toddler sized feet! LOL

  9. RETURN THE CROCS!!! You should try to get a pair of keens. I have a pair of Keen Newports and they actually don’t look that bad. I wear them in the summer, usually for camping, but I do occasionally wear them around town. Whenever I wear them I get a compliment. No, they are not absolutely fashionable, but when you wear them you look athletic and outdorsy…not like a dumbass like you do when you wear Crocs. You can get them at REI and take the discount.

  10. Wearing black marshmallows is the same as thinking a black tube dress will make you look slim. It’s the same shape, just a different color. As I feel with sweaters and all other clothing, if you’re going to do it, enjoy it. And I love bright colors! 🙂

  11. Your story was hilarious. I just have one comment, if I really needed to buy these shoes, say, for a similar reason like you did, I’d buy them in black, navy or olive green not in a super bright color to stand out. Granted they are ugly but in a nondescript color, they’d be less noticeable, don-cha think?? LOL – anyway, thanks for the amusing story.

  12. You owe my office a new keyboard, because I just laughed so hard I spewed iced tea all over my current one. Now the caps lock won’t work. Oh well. It’s worth it.

  13. I was a big time Croc hater until the Prima ballet flat style came out. Now I am a true believer. I got ’em in silver and they go with everything and are so comfortable!

  14. I’m LMAO off at this post.

    We went to Disney back in February and there were families of croc wearers. I was horrified to see mom, dad, and the little ones in brightly colored marshmallow casing (I love that term). They were everywhere. I guess based on your comfort comments I can better understand it.

    Now you got me thinking… I might just need a pair for those early mornings at agility trials. On second thought, I think I’ll stick with my Keens.

  15. A longtime lurker here-I’m 50 years old-and I don’t dress like an old lady-but i horrified my grown daughters by having 4 pairs of crocs-

    1 brown caymans for dog walking and gardening and traveling in the motor home with-great for those doggy pit stops.

    3 mary janes
    a)olive green
    B) black
    c) seafoam

    I’m an artist-i wear these in the studio and for outdoor painting and going to home depot
    I will be taking the seafoam ones to Kauai vacation

    I love these stupid shoes!


  16. Urgh. Crocs make me feel ill. Really. I can, however, accept buying them for a muddy outdoor thing…and only for that event (I, personally, avoid anything involving mud, or outdoors).

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