As KFC unleashes a new bargain bucket-themed iteration of the divisive shoe, we rate the good, the bad, and the ugliest Crocs around
With the dawn of the new day comes yet another existential crisis: this time rung in with the news of a brand new collab uniting popular fast food outlet Kentucky Fried Chicken and the shoe everyone loves to hate. That’s right: there is now a KFC Croc, because, as if we need any further reminder, the end times are basically upon us.
Aesthetically, this could be the most haunting item of footwear the world has ever seen. Designed to look like a KFC bargain box and modelled by Dazed 100-er MeLoveMeAlot, the Kentucky Fried Crocs are emblazoned with juicy chunks of deep-fried chicken, with the sole painted red and white as per the brand’s signature packaging. Finishing them off are faux chicken leg decorations, and if that weren’t enough, they are scented, too.
Of course, this is not the first time the humble Croc has found itself at the centre of a hotly contested collaboration, having been reimagined countless times throughout the course of iits 18-year history. More recently, the style has become emblematic of the fashion world’s ongoing obsession with finding beauty in the ugly and subverting the very idea of what’s ‘cool’.
That said, not all Crocs are created equal in their ugliness. From its runway debut at Christopher Kane and its evolution at the hand of Kanye West, to its wild transformation into gloves and bags, we’ve ranked the best and worst of the bunch – so you don’t have to.
CHRISTOPHER KANE’S CRYSTAL-STUDDED OG
Kicking things off is the Croc's first foray into high fashion. Before this, Crocs were nothing but a mere joke on the strange landscape that was the early-2010s internet. Then, in 2016, they got an upgrade. Covered in precious mineral stones and printed in a chic array of tie-dyes and animal motifs, Christopher Kane collaborated with the American shoe brand for his SS17 collection. The move was extremely divisive, with the designer telling WWD, “I don’t really care what anyone thinks. I don’t think anyone’s got the right to say right or wrong, unless they’re God, otherwise just shut up.” An extremely powerful shoe it seems.
VERDICT: 9 – The chicest they can or ever will be.
THE SELL-OUT BALENCIAGA PLATFORM
Let’s just stick with the Croc meeting with high fashion for a moment. A year after that Christopher Kane show, the Croc appeared once more on the catwalk, this time at Balenciaga’s SS18 show. Clearly Kane’s stern defence of the Croc wasn’t enough to ward off the critics, who returned to gasp and gawk at the shoe. This time around, a very different interpretation was on show, however, with Demna Gvasalia elevating it, quite literally, to some pretty dizzy new heights through an enormous teetering platform. Coming in bright yellow and pink the Crocs were adorned with pins, featuring everything from the Balenciaga logo to a cartoon dog and a smiley face, with pairs selling out just minutes after they hit the shelves.
VERDICT: 7 – Although everyone joked about these shoes, the sales don’t lie, and thousands of Balenciaga fans can’t be wrong. Can they?
KANYE WEST’S ALMOST-BUT-NOT-QUITE CROC
These may not be actual Crocs, but their similarity meant their inclusion on this list was absolutely imperative. The Yeezy Foam Runner dropped last year, and soon after it was revealed on social media, Twitter worked itself into a short-lived frenzy. Although some leapt to the defence of West and his Crocs, others (and when we say others we mean 90 per cent of those participating in the Twitter debate) couldn’t seem to shake the stigma which has long surrounded the plastic shoe: “These Yeezy Crocs are ugly monster looking shoes. They look like a Crocodile chewed on them then spit them out.” We are not saying we agree with the statement, but we will just leave this section with that comment and move swiftly on.
VERDICT: 4 – Some things are best left undone.
THE POST MALONE COLLAB
Another musician who couldn’t resist the gravitational pull of the Croc is none other than Post Malone, whose love affair with the brand started with a simple tweet: “U can tell a lot about a man by the Jibbitz in his Crocs.” Spot the lie. Soon after this, Malone and Crocs were collaborating, with an offering consisting of Crocs covered in a barbed wire print (to match his face tattoo, in case you were wondering) and yellow baby devil faces, which are his official Posty Co. logo. The pieces went for $60 and sold out in two hours.
VERDICT: 2 – The only reason these didn’t get a 1 is because they were clearly very popular. Apart from that? Awful.
ALIFE’S ARCHITECTURAL CROC
We really have no idea what is going on here. Alife collaborated with Crocs in 2018, creating three versions of its most famous style. There are the ‘art’ ones, which feature 3-D Jibbitz of New York City landmarks; the ‘sport’ ones which are detailed with attached tube socks; and the ‘classic’ one, embossed with the Alife logo. All coming in a very muted colour palette, Alife clearly wanted to let the Jibbitz do the talking, and honestly? We are not mad.
VERDICT: 4 – These aren’t great, but credit where credit is due. A lot of ingenuity must have gone into making those little 3-D buildings.
THE GOTH GIRL SUMMER CROC
The Instagram page @gothdesgarcons debuted its Goth Croc last summer and it was actually incredibly well received. Worn by the likes of Rico Nasty, the pieces, which come in white, red, pink, and black have been decorated with chains, studs, and lethal spikes. Chic.
VERDICT: 8 – Dropped in the midst of Hot Girl Summer, this ranking is based mostly on the pun. And the spikes.
THE MAISON MARGIELA CONCEPT CROCS
Off the back of the Goth Croc’s success, @gothdesgarcons debuted the Margiela Croc earlier this year. Paying tribute to elusive designer Martin Margiela, this iteration had simply been doused in white paint and left to crackle: a technique frequently employed by Martin himself. More of an art piece than anything that could actually be worn, the IG label was sent a cease and desist letter not long after posting the finished product on its page, so we wouldn’t advise holding your breath if you’re hoping that they might see the light of day.
VERDICT: 8 – Although his eponymous label didn’t, we feel Margiela might have liked these Crocs. In fact, the label even sent a Tabi iteration down the runway.
THE CROC OFF-SHOOTS
Though the Croc has undergone dozens of revamps at the hands of various designers, there have only been two creatives that have dared to take it out of its shoe realm. First came the Croc bag, made in collaboration with LA-based brand PizzaSlime, which dropped last year and was met with some choice words by critics (see: us). Soon after, the Croc glove made its debut, thanks to the creative mind behind IG page @unnecessaryinventions (no the irony is not lost on us), as created using a 3-D printer, which okay fine is semi-cool.
VERDICT: 5 – The intersection of fashion and technology is great but the Crocsbag is unforgivable. A happy medium.
Back to where it all began, with the humble, unburdened, and unadulterated Croc. When you really get down to it, it is truly mind-boggling that this cumbersome plastic clog, beloved by your 11-year-old-cousin or your nan when she’s doing the garden, has captured the attention of the fashion industry in the way that it has. However hard anyone might try, though, the fact remains: it’s really fucking ugly, isn’t it?
VERDICT: 10 – Obviously. They are hideous – what else were we going to give them?