My ugly little croc

I have seen the light. I have been converted. I own a pair of Crocs and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Crocs are those popular clog-likes shoe made of perforated closed-cell resin called Croslite. I used to unabashedly laugh at the ugly Dutch-like shoes. But the unsightly Crocs seem to be spreading across the world faster than Mullets infected hockey players in the 1980s. According to Investors Business Daily, in just five years, Crocs grabbed hold of the mass market approaching $1 billion in annual sales.

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I encountered Crocs for the first time four years ago. A good friend of mine who happened to be a medical student dragged me into the Pemberton General Store to look for "garden clogs." She claimed they were perfect for her upcoming surgical rotation. I thought with all their brains, surgeons would have a little more fashion sense.

It wasn't until this spring that I started thinking about Crocs again. My sister bought a pair of bright pink ones and proudly wore in and out of the trendy shops on Robson in Vancouver. With a heavenly smile she claimed that wearing Crocs was like walking on clouds. I told her to stop sniffing glue.

I started to wonder if I was sniffing something because Crocs were popping up everywhere I looked. I saw climbers wearing Crocs at the crags, Grandmas in their Crocs at the park, toddlers with Crocs on their feet. On a three-hour hike up the Stawamus Chief, my friend showed up in gold coloured Crocs.

Crocs are becoming the common denominator for the human race. Everyone from middle aged Moms to adrenaline addicted outdoor junkies seem to have a pair. Croc loyalists include celebrities and culinary masters such as Iron Chef Mario Batali - who's famous for his fluorescent orange Crocs. He owns 50 pairs of the original beach model.

After a lot of thought, I've decided that Crocs are a lot like bulldogs - they are so ugly, they are cute. Whether you sport bright pink or black, Croc wearers seem to be making a statement. Wearing Crocs is sort of like giving the fashion police the finger. It's comfort over style.

Not everyone loves Crocs. A website dubbed ihatecrocsblog.blogspot.com has a mission of "eliminating Crocs and those who think their excuses for wearing them are viable. The website includes plenty of descriptive insults about Crocs. You can buy t-shirts featuring a Croc being attacked by angry scissors.

If my surgeon friend is any indication, health care workers are among Crocs most dedicated fans. Nurses and doctors around the country sport the plastic pillows but some hospitals are banning Crocs. The charge is that Crocs generate enough static electricity to knock out medical equipment such as respirators on maternity wards.

Still it seems Crocs are flying off the shelves. Crocs Inc. is putting out new versions of the original. Now Croc lovers can wear anything from leather-trimmed styles to strapless versions lined with micro fibre.

I wasn't convinced until my sister gave me a pair of Crocs. "The first ones are free," she said with a wink.

Innocently I wore my new Crocs to the store. It was a lot like walking on marshmallows and a socially acceptable way of wearing slippers in public. The comfort is a bit addicting - sort of like McDonald's and potato chips. I am a bonafide Crocs fan. Now if only I can find them in bright pink.

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