They look strange. Let’s just start there. Crocs are a weird-looking shoe. They are wide, round-toed, hole-filled, rubber-made clogs, available in every color from black to teal to cotton candy. A few years ago, wearing them in public would have resulted in any number of curious looks and raised eyebrows. Today, however, the shoes are a footwear phenomenon. They are worn by kids, adults, professionals, loafers, the fashion-forward and the fashion-backward. There is a style for every individual, every season and every imaginable situation. They are the universal shoe. But, is wearing them hurting or helping our feet?
Recent reports would suggest the first. Crocs are currently being blamed for the sudden upswing in escalator foot-entrapments. The flexible, non-slip shoe has been linked to ripped off toes, torn off nails and deep-cut gashes. Small children are clamoring onto escalators and getting their Crocs-clad feet stuck in between the steps. But that’s not the only concern. The shoe, which has become popular among doctors and nurses, is being banned from hospitals. Officials worry that the holes on the tops and sides may increase the risk of infection. A scalpel or needle could drop, landing right on the foot. Blood or other fluids could drip through the openings, hitting the skin more quickly than with sneakers and increasing the likelihood of contamination. Moreover, the shoes generate static electricity, which may cause medical equipment to malfunction. Now if you only consider those facts, the prognosis isn’t good. However, as with everything, there are two sides to the shoe.
Despite the escalator dangers and hospital fears, Crocs have actually been recommended by doctors. Why? First, the shoe’s design offers more than just comfort. The wide toe gives sufferers with deformities, like bunions, space. Plus, they have built in inner and arch supports, heel cups and heel nubs (ribs inside the shoe that massage while you wear), and the Rx line contains antibacterial materials that can ward off fungal and bacterial infections. All of that combined nurtures the average foot, but it’s even more beneficial for the one with diabetes. Diabetes patients have decreased foot circulation, which increases the risk of open sores and wound infections. Wearing a Croc, with extra support and antibacterial material, can work wonders.
So, it sounds like, overall, Crocs come out on top. If you want to buy a pair, go for it! You’re likely to experience fewer foot-related aches and pains, and more walking-on-air days. But, keep in mind that they aren’t meant for every situation. Escalators, hospitals and similar locales may call for a different shoe.