Crocs footwear

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They seem simple enough -- molded rubber slip-on clog-like shoes. So what's so special?

A lot ... if the rave reviews our dozen or so testers gave us have any bearing. But, first, what are Crocs? They are a mix of clogs and comfort, made of a patented closed-cell resin that is said to be warmed by your feet so they soften and mold to their shape -- those who remember Waldies, the original foam clog that hit the market in 2001 will note Crocs look remarkably similar in design. The molded material is extremely lightweight, cushy, has a built-in arch support, has anti-slip soles and is anti-microbial. Plus, being one molded piece of material, you can get 'em dirty, then rinse 'em off. And, being a rubbery material, you can get 'em wet, then let 'em dry without any damage.

What did our testers love? The easy slip-on wear, whether you take the back heel strap and leave it behind your heel or pivot it so it sits on the top of the shoe, transforming it into a true clog. They liked the anti-slip and the anti-marking sole. They loved the light weight, some even forgetting they had them on. They wore them indoors (from 20-somethings to 80-somethings!), to stores, to work, around the garden, and around the yard. They even wore them to parties! We know of some who wear them as after-sport slip-ons, while lifting weights, going to the pool, to and from club classes, or even (no, really) jogging. The wild rainbow of colors really grabs everybody.

They liked the airiness that was similar to flip-flops, but appreciated the foot and toe protection and foot and arch support, as well as the added warmth. But they all still said their feet remained cool.

One tester, who has had plantar fasciitis issues off and on for years, applauded the support she felt and had no problem with any foot pains. She loves them so much, she's wearing them for dirty garden work, then rinsing them off to wear inside.

One tester, a more conservative 80-something we thought would nix them from the get-go, couldn't have been more straightforward with his praise: "I love them. I am wearing them now as I write this at the computer. I wear them in the house and if I'm going into the yard. They are easy to put on and take off. They are perfect. I don't know what suggestions to make to improve them. I think they have a winner."

OK, all those raves aside, there were a couple of nit-picks, albeit minor. Several testers found that little rocks and dirt got kicked into the inside then became difficult to get out. Of course, that can happen with other sandals too.

We found the sizing on the two models we tested -- the original Beach with holes in the top, and the Metro with a closed top and holes around the side -- to be quite roomy. Any testers who had small, narrow or low-volume feet seemed to have more issues with the Crocs feeling sloppy on their feet and, therefore, they felt less stable in them on uneven terrain. Almost all the testers sized down at least a half-size and those with narrow or lower-volume feet sized down a full size in some cases to compensate for all the volume. As a result, those people could not wear the back strap on the heel because the sizing-down had lost length; wearing the heel strap pushed the toe too far into the front of the clog. Of course, they liked them anyway with the back strap flipped up onto the top. Still, sizing on the original models at least is the biggest issue. We hear there are models coming out in fall 2004 that will have more refined sizing.

We also hear there are more fitness-oriented models coming out, as well as an "adventure series" with an adjustable back strap. We can't wait.

SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested retail: $30 to $50, depending on the model

For more information:
www.crocs.com or 303-468-4260

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