• Who Made Crocs Popular?

Who Made Crocs Popular?

Last update: 2023-09-22

Crocs, the iconic foam clog shoes, have seen a remarkable resurgence in popularity in recent years after facing near extinction. While Crocs were initially created in 2002 by shoemaker Scott Seamans, there are a few key figures who helped turn the divisive shoes into a cultural phenomenon and multibillion-dollar brand.

The Early Days of Crocs

Crocs were first conceived by Scott Seamans, the founder of Foam Creations, Inc. Using a proprietary closed-cell resin material called Croslite, Seamans created a lightweight, odor-resistant clog that was intended for use by boaters and other water sports enthusiasts.

yellow clogs, isolated

The distinctive foam clogs were initially mocked and derided as unfashionable “ugly shoes.” However, Crocs caught on in certain sectors, particularly among healthcare, restaurant, and hospitality workers who spent long hours on their feet. The ergonomic design and slip-resistant tread made them popular as a comfortable work shoe.

George Boedecker: Transforming Crocs into a Brand

In 2002, entrepreneur George Boedecker teamed up with Scott Seamans and became a co-founder of Crocs, Inc. As a veteran of several successful companies, Boedecker transformed Crocs from a niche product into a globally recognized brand.

Boedecker used targeted marketing and positioning to establish Crocs as shoes that were ideal for casual comfort, letting consumers know “they’re not just for work anymore.” Under his leadership as CEO, Crocs pivoted from being seen as orthotic clogs to becoming a popular casual shoe with vibrant colors and fun decorative charms called Jibbitz.

Boedecker grew Crocs into a $1 billion brand in just four years. His bold vision and business savvy helped Crocs become one of the fastest growing shoe companies in history.

Michelle Poole: Promoting Crocs as High Fashion

Another pivotal figure in making Crocs trendy was Michelle Poole, who was hired in 2004 as the Senior Vice President of Global Product and Marketing. Poole was tasked with repositioning the brand to appeal to a broader demographic beyond healthcare workers.

Who Made Crocs Popular?
Image caption: vnexpress.net

Under Poole's direction, Crocs underwent a makeover - they debuted high-end fashion campaigns positioning the product as stylish and upscale. Poole helped usher in collaborations with luxury designers like Balenciaga and Badgley Mischka, who created high-priced Crocs couture, elevating the shoes into the realm of high fashion.

By marketing Crocs as desirable, must-have fashion accessories, Michelle Poole engineered a remarkable turnaround in perception of Crocs “from ugly to hot” and made them coveted by celebrities like Justin Bieber, George W. Bush, and Anna Wintour.

Post-Bankruptcy Comeback Through Partnerships

Despite experiencing exponential early growth, Crocs saw sales slump during the late 2000s recession. Competition from copycat clog brands also cut into their market share. In 2009, Crocs filed for bankruptcy.

After restructuring, Crocs staged a comeback by focusing once again on the product's utility and comfort. They also generated buzz and restored cachet to the brand through creative pop-culture partnerships.

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In 2018, Crocs partnered with musician Post Malone to design a sold-out Duet Max Clog that quickly became their most popular shoe. This collaboration helped reintroduce Crocs to a younger Gen Z demographic.

Crocs also partnered with fast food brand KFC to create a printed bucket clog sold exclusively on the anniversary of fried chicken, which immediately sold out. These partnerships portrayed Crocs as fun, self-aware shoes embraced by celebrities and influencers.


In just two decades, Crocs went from a niche “ugly” clog brand on the brink of failure to a cultural phenomenon worn proudly by millions worldwide. The vision of co-founder George Boedecker, marketing leadership of Michelle Poole, and slick cultural partnerships revived Crocs as a thriving $2 billion global brand. Crocs' revival is a testament to smart rebranding, innovative marketing, and recognizing that fashion is cyclical. Even the most maligned shoe can once again become wildly popular with the right strategy.

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