Why Beloved Artist Ron English Believes His Crocs Collaboration Will Bring People Together

Crocs will soon deliver its latest collaboration, a fun and playful Party Animals collection with Ron English. And with its release, the beloved artist wants to promote a feeling of togetherness.

“My hope is that it’ll be for everybody that we won’t leave anybody out,” English told FN. “I think it’s time for us to be a lot more inclusive and embrace the people we’ve been fighting with and come together. In a small way, this will be a part of it.”

The lineup of shoes features animal prints on the brand’s well-known silhouettes that can be decorated with several animal-themed Jibbitz, which were created by English and designed to highlight the playful and humorous aspects of life. (The artist admitted he had a favorite of the bunch: Elephanka.)

“I just love the fact that I got to make tiny little works of art to put on the shoes. That was a magical part for me,” English said. “You have a little art collection on your shoes, and I don’t know who else has done that.”

The Party Animals x Ron English by Crocs lineup will release exclusively via Foot Locker Inc. banners on July 7, which includes Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Foot Locker Canada, Champs Sports, Champs Sports Canada, Footaction and Eastbay. Prices range from $35 to $65, and they will be available online at 10 a.m. ET.

Ahead of the release, English detailed the thought process behind creating his Crocs collaboration and explained why life is better with comfortable shoes.

What made Crocs an attractive collaboration partner for you?

“I’m only in it for the Jibbitz — I’m not actually kidding. I already like the shoes, I wear them in the studio, and I even like the holes because I kind of run a little hot — it’s like having like air conditioning for your feet, it’s not a bad thing for a guy like me. [The Jibbitz] goes all the way back to my childhood when we used to trade baseball cards and stuff, I just love little trinkets that we can trade. And it kind of gives you social interaction, you know what I mean? Like, I know you have that pair and I have this pair and you have some Jibbitz that I don’t have, so maybe we’re able to make a deal. They’re like social shoes. Some [of the Jibbitz] were designed specifically for older hipsters or people like myself, and then some I designed for the kids, something they would be a lot more into.”

Ron English Crocs Party Animals
One of the looks from the Party Animals x Ron English by Crocs collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Foot Locker

How often are you wearing Crocs?

“I have two pairs. I’m like Mister Rogers: one pair is completely covered in paint, and when I get to the studio, I switch from the nice pair that I can wear around town to the one that I can go down to the studio with. They don’t have giblets on them, they’re just like pretty plain. Those shoes I have because they’re super comfortable and I don’t want to be thinking about my feet all day when I’m working. If you want to have a good life, you have to have good shoes, you know? No painful shoes.”

What inspired this look that you created?

“We actually created it last fall, and we knew that they were coming out during this summer. Also, it was my prediction even from the first day of the pandemic that the Fourth of July would probably be the kind of American end to the pandemic and that we would go into a new era and it would be very much like the Roaring ’20s in that people would be ready to to socialize and party. I wanted something that would be very festive and be in the spirit of what we’re going through right now with everybody coming back together like a big party. I just thought animals were a really fun thing — everybody loves animals and everybody relates to different animals.”

What do you want people to feel when wearing your Crocs collab?

“I want them to feel approachable, and if you see somebody else wearing them, then that’s automatically your friend, you have an in with them. My main impetus was to make your shoes a topic of conversation, something that would open up other people into your lives. It would give you a little doorway into other people’s lives.

Ron English Crocs Party Animals
A black clog style from the Party Animals x Ron English by Crocs line.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Foot Locker

As the world continues to open, what role will Crocs have looking ahead?

“I think this is going to be the major shoe for a lot of people. It’s going to hit critical mass, especially since they used Ron English, now it’s like a big collectible item, so people will be fighting over them very soon. People don’t usually go back, and I think once it’s socially acceptable to do something that’s more comfortable and more fun, they’re going to go that direction. And how do I know that? I don’t know that. But I have lived for a long time, and when I was a kid, adult men were not allowed to wear short pants, and boy, it was hot and uncomfortable. That didactic got broken and now we can wear short pants and our lives are way better, you know what I mean? Going forward, Crocs are going to make people’s lives way better and they’re not going to want to go back.”

Who is your Crocs collaboration for?

“I hope it’s for everybody. I hope it’s a bringing together thing — and we did work very hard to make things more age appropriate. There are things specifically for kids and there was stuff specifically for adults. And there’s somethings that are kind of edgy, like a shark eating a shark. And some are more fanciful.”

Access exclusive content