Crocs is an American footwear company which began making cheap clogs out of a proprietary foam resin known as croslite. Crocs obtained the rights for croslite after purchasing the Quebec company Foam Creations and its manufacturing operations.
In 2002 the company unveiled its first model, The Beach, at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and quickly sold out all 200 pairs produced at that time. The initial design of The Beach was that of a standard clog made of black foam with a strap on the back. There's also some funky curvature, which is supposedly endorsed by podiatrists as being ideal for your feet. Oh yeah, and there are large gaping holes throughout, to allow for passage of air and water. Did I mention that they're really ugly? So in a sense, unleashing this fashion abomination upon the world for the first time at a ritzy boat show was a rather brilliant move. People on a boat don't care about the outside world's perception of fashion, as they're on a boat. All they care about is something that is durable, comfortable and that floats and doesn't retain water.
Ten years later, the company continues on strong and shows no sign of folding anytime soon. Crocs has expanded their footwear by using other materials, moving beyond clogs on into "slides," flip-flops, Mary Janes, loafers, golf shoes, boots, flats, and sneakers. Many of the non-clog footwear made by Crocs are actually fashionable, in addition to being highly functional.
In October of 2006, Crocs purchased the company Jibbitz and entered the accessories market. Crocs now makes electronic cases, luggage tags, massage balls, keychains, sunglasses, jewelry, hats, totes, purses, backpacks, and more. They even make removable decorations for kids to personalize their Crocs as well as scrubs. Crocs also began making their clogs without the signature holes so that the shoes may be used by those working in hospitals and kitchens.
After their initial debut in black, Crocs quickly became available in a wide variety of colors. After noticing that people were buying multiple pairs to show their support of their favorite team, the company landed contracts with major college and NFL teams and began making footwear with sports endorsements.
Crocs were first manufactured in Tanzania but are now mostly made in Canada and Mexico. The company will sometimes use manufacturers in Italy, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vietnam and China.
Other companies have attempted to jump on the cheap foam clog bandwagon with various knock-offs, typically found at drugstores and dollar stores. These imitation or "fake Crocs" typically do not hold up as well to long term use and also do not have the odor-resistant properties of Crocs. But, if you're simply looking for something to wear in a communal shower that is more sturdy than flip-flops, generic foam clogs will last slightly longer than your tolerance for wearing ridiculously ugly pieces of foam on your feet. Just don't do so for more than a few weeks or else they'll begin to stink like hell.
But all of that is something of a moot point as the US Court of Appeals determined in 2010 that the patent held by Crocs was being infringed upon by various knock-off companies. This allegation of infringement is remarkable and the fact that the suit was decided in favor of Crocs demonstrates the diminishing of the public domain and the death-knell for innovation. Should the Crocs company be expected to make restitutions to the Netherlands for infrining upon the design of clogs? What if a resin may be discovered which would be more fitting for shoes? Such a hypothetical substance would thus be barred from American feet by virtue of the Crocs company being "first" to fashion synthetic resin into footwear.
Also in 2010, Crocs settled a suit with the EPA over the claim that their products were anti-microbial. The EPA's position was that any company making such a claim should test their products with the EPA first, as such a claim would technically make the product a pesticide.
A pair of Crocs runs upwards of 25 USD. What makes them so special? Well, because Croslite is a unique foam with certain qualities that make it well-suited to the task of protecting your feet. Crocs are comfortable, ergonomic, odor resistant, and lightweight (typically under 6 oz.). They can also be easily sterilized in water and bleach. Also, Crocs are marketed as being "slip-resistant" and as having a non-marking sole. Of course, these are only marketing claims, not guarantees. It is entirely possible for a person wearing Crocs to make a mark on the floor or slip and fall.
Beware when riding an escalator whilst wearing crocs. Several children in Japan had their Croc-clad feet get stuck in escalators around 2006. Japan filed lawsuit against the company and there are now signs asking escalator riders to be careful if wearing "soft shoes".
Crocs have entered the public consciousness, despite the haters. During his second term in office, George W. Bush would wear black Crocs with socks in public. In August of 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama was spotted wearing Crocs.
The name "crocs" is also meant to suggest the mighty crocodile, perhaps due to the water-resistance and durability of croslite. Someone in marketing forgot about the other kind of crock.
If you are looking for comfortable, easily-removable footwear that will last a long while, consider Crocs.