Sacrificing Style for Comfort: The Conundrum of Crocs

Adored by some and loathed by many, Crocs are known as some of the most controversial shoes to exist in footwear history. Originally designed in 2002 as boating shoes, their creators never intended for them to become the pop culture phenomena that they did.

Their slow rise to infamy began when labourers everywhere started to wear them as work shoes. Chefs, gardeners, and hospital workers especially enjoyed them for their unparalleled comfort, easy-to-clean material, and lightweight design. Although Crocs were ugly, it didn’t matter: they were extremely practical for use in the workplace.

Nevertheless, somewhere along the line, somebody started wearing them in public. Believing that this heinous excuse for footwear was now acceptable for social consumption, covert Croc lovers quickly began to come out of the woodwork.

Soon, everyone had a pair of Crocs. And while their designers swore by their “ultra-hip Italian styling”, almost everybody sporting them understood just how hideous they were. So, to the mortification of fashionistas everywhere, why were we all still wearing them?

The answer: comfort. So many of us were surrendering both our personal style and our pride to cringeworthy Crocs because of how great they felt on our feet.

Crocs co-founder Lyndon Hanson suggests that what these shoes lack in aesthetic value, they make up for in therapeutic benefits. He’s right: because of their deep heel cups, massaging nubs, and excellent arch support, Crocs are ideal for people suffering from various foot-related ailments.

However, fashion no longer has to be sacrificed for comfort. At Align Orthotics, we do our best to ensure that the two are intertwined.

An easy-to-wear, casual replacement for Crocs are Spenco’s Siesta Slide sandals ($90, Align Orthotics). These unisex, clog-esque shoes are like the Croc’s older, better-dressed cousins: their design is decidedly less clunky, and their canvas outsole allows for a more relaxed, wearable look.

Moreover, these shoes feature orthotic-grade arch support. Their flexible footbed absorbs shock as you walk, allowing for maximum support and comfort. Also, their deep heel cups help to stabilize, support, and realign your feet back to their natural position as you move. Additionally, they feature treads made of non-slip, non-marking material for enhanced traction.

Whether or not you’re a die-hard Crocs fan, give the Siesta Slide a try. You’ll love their simple, slip-on design, and will be able to enjoy Croc-like health benefits without their shame factor.

However, if you’re looking for more versatile, dressy footwear with all the comfort of Crocs, the classic boat shoes from Sperry Top Sider (Align Orthotics, starting at $99) are an excellent choice.

Not only is their timeless, unisex shape extremely fashion-forward, they are also incredibly comfortable. Like the aforementioned Spenco sandals, these boat shoes feature a flexible, shock-absorbing footbed with deep heel cups and non-slip treads. What’s different about them, though, is their 360-degree lacing system. This ensures that they remain firmly on your foot for added support and security.

Furthermore, their stain- and water-resistant leather outsole ensures that you’re able to wear your Sperrys in any situation. These gorgeous, classic shoes can be dressed up or down, and will always be on trend.

Here at Align, we can further increase the comfort and level of support that both of the aforementioned styles have to offer. Through our five-step assessment process, we are able to evaluate problem areas with your body’s alignment. Then, with the creation of a custom orthotic, we can correct these areas to further support your feet in the shoe of your choice.

So, there you have it: style never again has to be forfeited in the name of comfort. The “unparalleled” level of pain relief that once was the selling point of Crocs now comes in a chicer, more socially acceptable package.

– Corrina Mosca

by Align Custom Fit Footwear

As Founder, President and Head Clinician, Darius is the key visionary for Align Custom Fit Footwear. Darius Dinshaw began his journey into health care field with a B.Sc (hons.) in Kinesiology at York University. Concurrently he joined York's Athletic Therapy Certificate program and has been a practicing Athletic Therapist [CAT(C)] for the past 9 years. Darius continued his education with a focus on strength training as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist [CSCS]. Darius pursued further education to become a Canadian Certified Pedorthist [C.Ped(C)]; specializing in the field of orthotics and biomechanics, while managing a private orthotic clinic. Continually taking educational courses to keep ahead of cutting edge research in his field, he is constantly improving himself as a health care clinician. With his extensive health care experience and passion for fashion, Darius is determined to change the footwear industry forever.