Collab of the Week: The crossover appeal of clogs

New drops from Crocs and Dr. Scholls show how to make brand collaborations stand out.

Collab of the Week: The crossover appeal of clogs

General Mills and Crocs are mixing cereal and footwear. (Photo via General Mills/Crocs)

Consider clogs.

They are timeless footwear, yet always evolving. The original wooden versions in Europe were often associated with the working class, then became recognizable as an expression of culture (think dancing).

In more recent times, clogs became known by names like Crocs and Danskos. The former gave them the panache of high fashion before settling in to the landscape as a comfort shoe. Bringing the whole thing full circle, Crocs became the “it” shoe of the pandemic because of their comfort, and are now recognized as a DTC success story, as Bainbridge Growth recently detailed.

The styles have changed over the years, and they’ve been adorned with everything from hand-painted designs to Jibbitz. In this sense, they often reflect the times. A trio of collaborations this week offer a look:

Crocs x SZA

R&B singer-songwriter SZA is collaborating with Crocs in a timely release for Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

Available via raffle, the woodgrain slide and clog have custom Jibbitz (aka the shoe charms that Crocs acquired in 2006 in a bit of consumer goods-style vertical integration).

“Literally, every single outfit, they look so cool with my Jibbitz, no disrespect to anybody else’s Jibbitz,” SZA told The Cut in an interview. “With my Jibbitz, it’s, like, little gold accents and the cool pattern they form just make everything look super-cute and quirky, and I appreciate that.”

Along with style, the collab is showcasing mental health and self-care. SZA partnered with three people who advocate for Black mental health: Sage Adams, Yaris Sanchez, and Donte Colley. In turn, Crocs made a donation to three organizations of their choosing.

Given the current advocacy throughout our culture to prioritize mental health, the balance between self-expression and mental health here shows how a collab can reflect the public consciousness.

Crocs x General Mills

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crocs

(Photo via General Mills/Crocs)

Cross-category collabs are in focus with another recent drop from Crocs.

The brand teamed with General Mills to release Cinnamon Toast Crunch-inspired clogs on April 27 via retailers like Foot Locker and Eastbay.

Like SZA’s, this pair of clogs has a brown-and-white pattern. But in this case it’s designed to evoke cereal rather than wood. They’re accented by Jibbitz that show facial expressions and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch logo.

The unlikely pairing was a big hit on TikTok before it even dropped. An unboxing video garnered more than two million views back in March, with the teaser sweetened by word that the clogs would smell like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Given the success, General Mills and Crocs aren’t stopping at one brand. It’s planning a full cereal collection, dubbed “Rise N’ Style.” Trix, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Cocoa Puffs are all set to get the Crocs treatment in July.

The latest collabs are by no means the first limited-edition product partnerships for Crocs, as the brand has worked with everyone from Balenciaga to Justin Bieber. Crocs have also paired with food before, having collaborated with KFC and Peeps.

In some ways, these collaborations appear made for the internet, with a novelty factor that’s designed to stand out on social media. But while some may seem random, collabs are a concerted strategy that aims to be responsive to the brand’s loyal fans.

“We’re trying to go after either a trend from a product perspective, or a cultural insight from a brand perspective, which really allows us to do what makes sense for Crocs in the moment,” Crocs CMO Heidi Cooley told Forbes recently.

It also shows how there is room for brands from different industries to work together to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

E.l.f. Beauty, another brand at the forefront of food partnerships, dropped its latest collab with Dunkin’ in April, offering five cosmetics products inspired by donuts and coffee. One of the items sold out online in 10 minutes, reported.

Dr. Scholls x GANNI

a person holding GANNI Dr. Scholls sandals

(Photo via GANNI)

Crocs isn’t the only brand teaming up with others in the clogs space.

This week, Dr. Scholls partnered with Danish fashion brand Ganni to drop a new take on the wooden sandal.

The shoe style dates to the 1960s. That’s when Dr. Scholl’s Original Exercise Sandal first appeared. It went on to reach cult status over the next two decades. Ganni calls back to this heritage with a retro color palette, while adding its own signature smiles and hearts.

It’s often said that opposites attract, and that applies to brand collaborations, too. This brings together the practical and the fashionable; the understated and the colorful.

It also shows how fashion is moving toward sustainability. The sandal’s fabric is made of 100% certified organic cotton, its lining consists of 51% recycled polyester and the sole is made of manmade rubber and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. Dr. Scholl’s is also applying traceability technology developed by Provenance to disclose info about its supply chain and materials.

With a fresh look thanks to a partner and an updated approach to production, it shows how items with a long history can continuously get updated for a new generation.

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