Crocs, Birkenstock, UGG… Comfort on the rise

By Sophie Abriat

Posted at 11:52 p.m. yesterday, updated at 11:53 p.m. yesterday

“In the midst of a pandemic, we will generate the highest revenues in the history of our brand. ” It’s not a manufacturer of masks or hydroalcoholic gel that says so, but Andrew Rees, CEO of Crocs, the plastic clog brand in a press release on January 11. These shoes labeled “ugly” or “ridiculous”, long the prerogative of tourists in transit, caregivers or cool babes, are emerging as one of the symbolic accessories of this pandemic. Their sales increased by 12% in 2020, allowing Crocs to reach a turnover of 1.38 billion dollars (1.17 billion euros).

“The Birks’ enjoy a positive image of healthy products. On social networks, they are often associated with the figure of the ecological explorer or the new generation gardener ”, Sarah Laurier, fashion analyst for Linkfluence

In 2009, however, the American company was on the verge of going out of business: sales at half mast and outdated image, this bad cocktail announced bankruptcy. Since then, Crocs has finally managed to modernize its image and move away from the orthopedic departments. In October 2020, her pair designed in collaboration with Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny sold out in less than sixteen minutes.

The first model customized by Canadian singer Justin Bieber, unveiled in December, has increased its title on Wall Street by more than 12%. “The pandemic has accelerated a change already underway: the search for comfort. A movement that signals a total and assumed refusal of physical and mental constraints. With the clogs, the feet slide in and out with a single movement, in complete freedom ”, underlines Nathalie Elharrar, designer and professor at the French Fashion Institute, specialist in footwear.

Rapper Bad Bunny, Crocs on his feet.

Goodbye 10-centimeter heels, city shoes that padlock the toes, make way for soft and easy for journeys that are now immobile! UGG lined boots, associated with the 2000s and velvet tracksuits, are also making a comeback. “Searches for UGG boots and slippers on our site have jumped 458% since March 2020”, points out Lyst, a fashion shopping platform, which more generally notes a growing attraction for slippers and clogs since the first confinement.

Read also To have or not to have Crocs

Another signal of this development and not the least: the German brand Birkenstock sold at the end of February the majority of its capital to the investment fund L Catterton, co-founded by the LVMH group, and to the family holding company Financière Agache, a private investment company. by Bernard Arnault. How do these sandals with leather straps, worn with or without socks, end up in the hands of a luxury giant?

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