04/13/17

written by Bridget Collins

You Do You

Can Changing Your Footwear Change Your Mood?

By Bridget Collins

As a New Yorker with chronic knee pain who considers a 30 minute hike to the nearest burrito joint a small jaunt, I am always on the lookout for comfy yet stylish shoes.   

My journey to find the perfect mix of comfort and style to heel my sole has been one filled with bumps, band-aids, and a broken heel on West 26th Street that forced me to walk 10 embarrassing city blocks through Midtown barefoot (which onlookers kindly pointed out as being “really really gross” 😑). 

Though it feels like over the years I have tried nearly every semi-inexpensive orthopedically-inclined sole under the sun, I had never considered Crocs, whose bright colors peeping through the monotone, minimalist styles of New York always seemed out of place to me.

However, that all changed one fateful morning a couple of months ago when I was surfing the web and came across this photo from the Christopher Kane A/W '17 collection:

“Oooooooh,” I said out loud to no one in particular.  “Wonderful shoes.”  The mink-lined black Crocs stole my heart.  To me, they looked like the welcoming, candle-burning, homebody aunt of the fur-lined Gucci loafers which I had coveted from afar for months.  These shoes, however, weren’t unattainable.  They were conveniently on sale on the Crocs website (sans Mink fur) for less than $20. 

“I’m buying Crocs!”  I exclaimed.

My coworker turned her head up from her computer. “Don’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“They are hideous. They look like a melted tire was poured over a fur slipper that someone then punched holes in." 

I reconsidered. She wasn’t alone in her opinion. Crocs had been named one of the 50 Worst Inventions by Time Magazine in 2010, and been called “Ugly” and “Heinous” in the press.  Though German philosopher Immanuel Kant was probably the first to assert (all the way back in the 18th century!) that aesthetic judgments can’t be proven as fact, that certainly doesn’t stop people from believing strongly in their opinions.  After all, there is a whole website dedicated to Crocs distaste, elegantly titled ihatecrocs.com

But could they really be so bad?  It is extremely rare for a pair of shoes to be avant-garde enough for the NYFW runway AND be dishwasher safe!  I decided to risk $17.99 and ordered myself a pair.

I have been wearing my Crocs for a month now and feel like a changed woman.  Whether walking on icy mid-March sidewalks or sitting in a cold office, my faux-fur lined crocs make my feet feel like they are snuggled up in a cozy cabin next to a fire burning stove.  I think they look better than sneakers with a long skirt or jeans and find myself smiling when I look down at my feet while walking. “Croc croc croc,” I think to myself as I clomp down the street in my wide-toed brown shoes, feeling like a beautiful queen platypus misplaced in a city of drab humans.

However, in the past month, not everyone has seen the beauty in my choice of footwear.  I visited an old friend I hadn’t seen in years, and as I walked into her house she looked at my feet and said, “Oh, you’re wearing Crocs now.” 

“Yes,” I replied enthusiastically, “They are amazing!  So comfy and really cute.”

“Mm - definitely not cute,” she replied immediately.   

In my younger days, I might have felt self-conscious, but if there is one thing enduring the dull, random, body aches of adulthood has taught me, it's that feeling comfortable is the foundation of happiness, and my Crocs, aesthetically controversial as they may be, definitely make me feel comfy.  Plus, they double as an adorable hanging planter.  Win, win.

*~Where do you stand on the Great Crocs Debate? #TeamCroc or #NotMyFootwear?*~