What a Croc! Why has Balenciaga ruined the world’s most practical shoes?

It’s not just plastic clogs that are being elevated right now – flip-flops, trainers and hiking boots all have heels right now. And just when we were all yearning for comfort

Balenciaga’s Spring 22 80mm stiletto Croc mule.
Pointing in the right direction? Balenciaga’s spring 22 stiletto Croc mule. Photograph: Balenciaga
Pointing in the right direction? Balenciaga’s spring 22 stiletto Croc mule. Photograph: Balenciaga

Last modified on Tue 15 Jun 2021 04.55 EDT

Name: Balenciaga Crocs.

Age: Super new. Not even out yet.

Is Balenciaga a Spanish footballer, someone to look out for at the Euros? No. There is actually a Mikel Balenziaga, with a “Z”, plays for Athletic Bilbao. Left-back. But also left back in Spain, didn’t even make the squad. We might return to football.

So Balenciaga the luxury fashion house founded by Cristóbal Balenciaga in San Sebastián (just down the road from Bilbao, as it happens), though now based in Paris? Exactly.

And Crocs, those hideous rubber clogs? Strictly speaking, they’re injection-moulded ethylene-vinyl acetate foam clogs. Hence their surprising lightness.

You can’t deny me hideous, though. Also dead practical, and comfy. And light! And periodically declared to be back in fashion when, say, Romeo Beckham is snapped sporting a pair. Or when Justin Bieber brings out his own line.

And now Balenciaga’s getting involved … Hang on, this rings a bell. Are you sure it isn’t old news? You’re right, this is not their first collaboration. Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia first teamed up with Crocs in 2018, shoeing models in pink and yellow platform crocs. “It’s a very innovative shoe,” he told Vogue at the time.

Give it some welly ... Balenciaga’s knee-high Croc ‘rain boot’
Give it some welly ... Balenciaga’s knee-high Croc ‘rain boot’. Photograph: Balenciaga

So what has Demna gone and done this time? His new collaboration, debuted at the Balenciaga spring 2022 runway show, included knee-high “rain boot” Crocs and a pair of bright-green stiletto clogs.

What! Stiletto clogs? But isn’t that taking something solely meant to be practical and comfortable, then making it impractical and uncomfortable? I know, those fashion guys, eh, so crazy and creative, and ironic!

Or ridiculous. Well, yes, arguably. See also heeled flip-flops, heeled trainers, and my absolute favourite, velvet heeled hiking boots.

No way. How high? Six inches. Plus there’s a platform on top of that. By Alaïa, at a reported $1,630 (£1,150) a pair, as seen on Jennifer Lopez.

Back to these new Balenciaga Crocs, how much are they? No price yet, but the last ones were around the £800 mark. Sold out immediately, obviously. And bringing it back to the beautiful game, Balenciaga do football boots (kinda) too, at just £540.

What about regular, low-heel, low-fashion Crocs? Forty quid in the UK. Bargain!

Do say: “Hahahahaha! Genius! You’ve done it again, Demna! Here’s my credit card.”

Don’t say: “Knee-high rain boot Crocs you say? Or, as we used to call them … wellies.”

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