How have Crocs boots become a summer footwear hit?

A novelty shoe too far? Paris Hilton models MSCHF's eyebrow-raising collab with Crocs
A novelty shoe too far? Paris Hilton models MSCHF's eyebrow-raising collab with Crocs Copyright MSCHF
Copyright MSCHF
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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Following a wildly popular release of Astro Boy-style boots, art collective MSCHF is launching a yellow successor, in collaboration with Crocs - but why do these quirky pieces grab our attention to such an extent?


First Astro Boy-style big red boots, then ‘90s influence frog clogs, and now chunky crocs like you’ve never seen them before... What is going on in the world of footwear?

Modelled by pop culture icon Paris Hilton, the Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF have collaborated with polarising footwear brand Crocs.

The result? A pair of oversized, bright yellow boots with Crocs’ distinguishing holes.

Called, appropriately, Big Red Boots (Yellow), the quirky shoes are the latest release of the oversized boots designed by MSCHF.

German content creator Dani Verdari wears her MSCHF boots to the premiere of 'Get-Up' in JuneMSCHF

Earlier this year, the red version took the internet by storm when they released a cartoon-like pair, inspired by those worn by the manga character Astro Boy.

The new yellow boots not only feature the same cartoony shape, but also have the addition of the recognisable holes which define Crocs’ clogs.

The latest MSCHF collaboration features all of Crocs' controversial hallmarksMSCHF

Dropping today (9 August), Big Red Boots (Yellow) will set you back a cool €410 but are likely to sell out, just like their red cousins.

As well as adorning Paris Hilton’s feet, they were worn by Tommy Cash during the Rick Owens Spring Summer 2024 menswear show at Paris Fashion Week in June. The Estonian rapper paired them with a outlandish mime artist look, drawing attention from the action on the catwalk.

MSCHF has long been known for its boundary-pushing creations, including a collaboration with Lil Nas X. The result was a limited edition range of Nike trainers customised with human blood called ‘Satan Shoes’. Costing a staggering €927, they sold out in less than a minute but resulted in Nike suing them for trademark infringement.

MSCHF's collab with Lil Nas X was a limited run of 666 shoes containing a drop of human bloodMSCHF

Why is footwear becoming weirder?

The art collection aren’t the only footwear creators making a statement with their designs.

Central Saint Martins graduate Kiki Grammatopoulos recently went viral with her running shoes, designed to help spread plants and seeds in cities as part of a project she's titled Rewild the Run.

On a more nostalgic, rather than practical front, one shoe was donned by fashionistas all over this year’s fashion weeks in Milan and Paris.

Frog Clogs are inspired by the frog-detailed Wellington boots the late Princess Diana dressed her sons William and Harry in during the 1980s and '90s.

A collaboration between British designer JW Anderson and Wellipets saw a line of unorthodox shoes, featuring frog faces, yellow eyes and red mouths.

Available in green, yellow and blue, they retail for €395 and have been in constant demand since their release.

Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
Fashionable frogs: The clogs were worn at Milan Fashion Week, cementing them as a must have pieceEdward Berthelot/Getty Images

To the casual fashion fan, the rise in unusual footwear is slightly baffling - but it’s deeper than weird aesthetics for the sake of it .

We’re all living in an often frightening period of geopolitical warfare and facing growing climate and cost of living crises. As a result, people are turning to novelty footwear and clothing which offers a dopamine hit and a chance to focus on something other than the doom and gloom surrounding us.

“[Novelty shoes are] a fashionable escape from reality.”
J'Nae Phillips
Consumer behavioural specialist, Canvas8

“The world of fashion is getting a little ridiculous, but that’s the point,” consumer behavioural specialist J’Nae Phillips from Canvas8 tells Euronews Culture, adding, “fashion is puffed up, proud, and it’s making a statement. It’s viral, it’s show-stopping, and it’s as attention-hogging as it is surreal”.


Is there more to these 'weird' shoes than guaranteed social media success?

While MSCHF’s latest collaboration is designed to go viral on social media, Phillips explains that there’s more to the rise of weird footwear than meets the eye - or the foot, in this case.

“It’s meant to cause commotion and subvert footwear norms by injecting a little bit of life / personality back into the fashion space - all stemming from people wanting to have fun and experiment with fashion in ways that are less conventional”, she says.

At a time when we all need a little more colour in our lives, many fashionistas are choosing unusual pieces to reflect their identities, using fashion as a form of entertainment.

These collaborations don’t come cheap, though, which means the outlandish styles created by MSCHF and their ilk are out of the reach of many consumers.

People who can afford to spend hundreds on what is effectively a novelty are in a different league.


"Fashion-goers that are able to successfully deviate from conventions are those who have high status and the social capital to challenge norms. They’re the people who have enough reputational capital to bear the costs and face criticism if they choose to go down the viral style route”, says Phillips.

“Who better to show off their ‘social capital’ by wearing absurd novelty footwear (and getting away with it) than celebs and content creators eager for attention?”

It was all yellow: Paris Hilton models the MSCHF x Crocs bootsMSCHF

With the richest in society constantly photographed or filmed, whether at fashion shows, sitting courtside at prestigious sporting events or on private jets, the constant sharing on social media means the novel styles will filter down to the very lowest point of the fashion industry.

The real winners of the trend for peculiar footwear are, of course, the brands behind them raking in cash and the individuals gaining followers and celebrity for wearing them.

In the end, though, if our interest is piqued by a pair of giant yellow boots or frog faces on a clog, it’s a nice escape from the trauma of daily life. Long live the novelty shoe!

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