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Crocs – the fastest growing shoes in the market

April 11, 2006

This just in from April 10th issue of Footwear News:

- The brands soaring popularity – it rang up sales of $108.6 million in 2005, and investment firm Piper Jaffray estimates its total sales for 2006 could reach $178 million – has bred a rash of knockoff product, available online and in stores.
- Crocs believes at least 11 companies infringe on its recently acquired patents.

Jennifer Garner, Chef Mario Batali, Matt Damon, Tim McGraw, Philly’s Flyers’ Peter Forsberg, fashionistas, soccer moms (and their kids), custodians, gardeners, healthcare workers, fishermen, boaters, surfers, hairstylists and travelers are all wearing them. You see them in your neighbor’s garden, on fishing boats in Mexico, in London subways, and on sheep farms in New Zealand.

The owners of Crocs are not shy of growth. Since its founding, 3 years ago, the Croc owners have registered Crocs as a trademark in the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Australia, New Zealand, and have applications pending in 36 other countries. You’ll see them in tiny boutiques and giant department stores. They’re in sports stores and in baby stores.

Why would everyone, everywhere want to wear these hideous Swiss-cheese shoes?

These shoes are almost made of magic; instead they are made of Patented Closed Cell Resin (PCCR). PCCR softens with body heat and molds to your foot. It will not smell because it is anti-microbial. People who are on their feet all day wear them because they are comfortable; they have an orthotic heel and arch support. There is a cult following in hospitals and restaurants because they can be easily washed or bleached. They were originally intended for yachters because they don’t scuff the decks, they have drainage ability and have excellent traction on slippery surfaces; now you’ll see them on all boaters, sailors, rafters, divers, swimmers, and fishermen. Athletes love them because they are ventilated. And fashionistas wear them to make a statement – they only come in obnoxiously bright colors. On top of those reasons they are completely unisex, ageless and come in many different styles.

Their recent ad campaign, titled “Ugly can be beautiful” admits and embraces the hideous look of the shoe – which is exactly what the early adopters of Crocs have been communicating since they first slipped them on.

However, these shoes do not need an ad campaign at all. Every Croc-er is a brand ambassador. The shoe and the owner work together to sell the shoe. The shoe grabs the attention and the owner communicates their passion and loyalty for the brand. Before you know it you’re at your local retailer choosing between bright orange or hot pink.

According to data from Thomson Financial, the company’s numbers back up the consumers’ passions. The company’s initial public offering in February, was $21 and has since stayed an average of about $28. The IPO is the largest ever from a footwear manufacturer. It’s only the third time in history that a shoe maker’s shares have priced above the expected; Converse did it back in 1983 and K-Swiss Inc., in 1990.

Your 80s’ jellies are back and they’re more obnoxious and even uglier than before. Go on now, go buy a pair. They’re the next flip-flop.

Also check out how to personalize your Crocs
Crocs fans’ blog
And a Croc-er picture contribution site called, LookAtMyCrazyShoes.com

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