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Crocs President Michelle Poole Says ‘Being Different,’ Helped the Classic Clog Win Shoe of the Year at the FNAA 2021

Despite their long-criticized past, Crocs are here to stay. And their polarizing silhouette might be the reason why.

“Crocs has faced a lot of criticism over the years. But we’ve stuck to whats made us unique,” said the company’s President Michelle Poole, who accepted the Shoe of the Year award for the Crocs Classic Clog at the 35th annual FN Achievement Awards. “And it turns out that being different has been a key ingredient to our success.”

In her acceptance speech, Poole acknowledged the journey of the Crocs Classic Clog, from being criticized for its chunky look to becoming the hottest shoe of 2021.

Crocs’ quintessential Classic Clog has dominated footwear this year, appearing on the feet of customers of all ages across the globe. The shoe has also been the subject of multiple high-impact collaborations with celebrities and artists this year.

“There’s never been a greater time for comfort,” said Poole, describing the clog as the “heartbeat of the brand.” Throughout the pandemic, she said that more consumers than ever discovered the clog.

In an interview with FN, Crocs CEO Andrew Rees said that doubling down on the Classic Clog silhouette was an important element of the company’s success in 2021. Even amid a pandemic and global supply chain slowdowns, Crocs reported another standout quarter in October, with a revenue of $625.9 million and adjusted diluted earnings per share of $2.47 compared to $0.94 for the same period last year. Crocs plans to achieve $5 billion in sales by 2026.

“The Classic Clog is incredibly polarizing, yes, but it also represents a celebration of individuality — something we stand for as a brand and a theme we inspire our consumers and customers to embrace,” Rees said. “The clarity of that vision, and our commitment to the Classic Clog, will unlock the full potential of the Crocs brand.

To attract Gen Z and Millennial consumers that are young, expressive, self-confident, active on social media, Crocs has leaned into TikTok and Instagram and has led a series of high-impact collaborations with various celebrities and brands. Some Crocs collaborations from this year include Hidden Valley Ranch x Crocs, Benefit Cosmetics x Crocs, Justin Bieber x Crocs, Crocs x Salehe Bembury, and the Balenciaga x Crocs hard platform.

In her presentation of the award to Crocs, dancer and Crocs ambassador Kelli Erdmann also discussed how Crocs encourages individual expression as well as comfort.

“The Crocs Classic Clog is more than a shoe — it is a cultural icon,” Erdmann previously told FN. “Any time I see someone wearing Crocs, I instantly know two things about them: They value comfort and they are a kind person. Can you imagine a mean person wearing Crocs? Neither can I.”

For 35 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards ­— often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2021 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Authentic Brands Group, FDRA, Informa, On and Wolverine Worldwide.

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