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Wearing Crocs? Watch Your Step!

My daughter and I, both big-time Crocs wearers, had just been admiring the new high-heeled versions when I read that the Japanese Trade Ministry has called on the Colorado-based manufacturer to redesign the ubiquitous rubbery shoes. Seems 65 Japanese people, mostly kids, have got their feet stuck -- and sometimes injured, occasionally badly -- while wearing Crocs or Croc-like shoes on escalators.

While nobody seems to have hard numbers for the incidence of such accidents in the United States, there have been a number of recent news reports of kids injuring their feet while wearing Crocs on escalators. A 4-year-old got hurt on a Tyson's Corner escalator last fall; a 3-year-old did the same in the Atlanta airport last June. The picture in this article about a 3-year-old's Croc getting entangled in an escalator at New York's JFK airport is about as close as I want to get to such an accident. (The photo actually shows a 4-year-old Toronto boy's escalator-shredded Croc; that accident occurred last summer.)

As I've written before, there are certain health advantages to wearing Crocs -- which is one reason you see so many doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals in them. They provide a stable base for your foot, which can help guard against low-back pain. They're made of a bacteria-resistant material and don't fit tight, so they're great for people with diabetes who are susceptible to foot infections.

But I do find myself stubbing my toe on perfectly flat ground when wearing the comfy but klutzy footwear; the rubbery material seems to get caught on certain surfaces, including the seemingly smooth floor of my favorite mall. (And I'm a grown-up; I wonder whether the tiny tots I see wearing those adorable little mini-Crocs are stubbing their toes, too.)

Crocs spokeswoman Tia Mattson says that the specific incident that the Japanese Trade Ministry had in mind when it issued its redesign demand involved a number of factors, including the escalator's design and maintenance and the rider's actions. "We continue to be supportive of escalator safety initiatives and we will consider any recommendations the ministry has for footwear manufacturers," Mattson says.

The Metro system, which reportedly has more escalators than any other transit system in the country, has plenty of experience with folks getting feet stuck in elevators and has issued these online escalator safety tips. It also posts warnings about escalator safety in many of its stations. (The posters feature a photo of a pile of shoes -- including a single Croc -- that were mangled by escalators). Metro spokesperson Angela Gates points out that it's not just Crocs and Crocs-wannabe products that get sucked into escalator machinery: She says all soft-soled shoes and sandals pose a risk, and even regular lace-ups can cause trouble if the lace is hanging loose. Kids are particularly prone to escalator accidents, she says, because they often aren't standing where they should.

We should watch our step -- and our kids' steps -- more closely.

For better or worse, as warm weather sets in for good, we'll be seeing lots more Crocs (and sandals) around town. So take a minute to review the basics -- and make sure your kids know them, too: When riding an escalator, stand in the middle of the step (not by the side, where friction can cause rubber-soled shoes to get caught up). And when you're getting on or off, be sure to lift your feet; don't just let them glide over that toothy-looking part that I've just learned is called the "comb plate."

For the love of Crocs, let's all be careful out there.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  April 22, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health  
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Comments

question: Are crocs made out of Oil?

Posted by: Trey. | April 22, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

About 35 years ago, while shopping with my mother, my younger sister's foot was pulled inti an escalator while she was wearing rain rubbers. To this day, my sister is terrified of escalators and will go out of her way to avoid them.

Posted by: Keith | April 22, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Comment: Crocs are easily the ugliest shoe ever created, and I cannot bring myself to feel any sympathy for anyone injured while wearing them. Except for children who clearly have not developed any sense of style yet and therefore do not know any better, in which case the parents are to blame. SNEAKERS, people, or sandals perhaps. Crocs are not cute. Not cute for adults, not cute for kids. They are ubiquitous only because of the multitude of style-deficient Americans who don't know any better than to follow the latest 'trend.' Seriously, save your feet and chuck your Crocs, because you all look ridiculous.

Posted by: !! | April 22, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

These aren't so bad:

http://shop.crocs.com/pc-33-4-prima.aspx?reqid=33&reqProdTypeId=41p&subsectionname=footwear§ion=products

If you're over 10, save the regular Crocs for the garden. I saw a MAN at Camden Yards Friday wearing orange ones. Needless to say, he was the talk of the line.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | April 22, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the Mary Janes aren't so bad, either, appearance-wise. But then I'm an adult who knows how to ride escalators...and I usually just wear them inside the house and on short trips where I'm driving, not on walking-intensive metro trips.

Posted by: h3 | April 22, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I get sick of people who bash Crocs because they're ugly, like we should all cram our feet into fashionable shoes that look hot [and are extremely uncomfortable]. Most of us who wear Crocs do so for the comfort factor, and many of us have medical issues that make Crocs the best choice, by far, for footwear. News flash-- when you have a serious medical issue, you don't CARE how sexy your feet look. Impressing people doesn't matter. Why can't people understand that? Crocs are nicer, more comfortable, more "fun" than clunky orthopedic shoes, which would be the option for many of us. What I wear on my feet is nobody else's business. Thanks much for this FAIR article about Crocs.

Posted by: Nancy G. | April 22, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Crocs are not cute on adults. Last week I saw a grown man on Metro wearing crocs WITH SOCKS. He looked very dorky.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I began wearing crocs on the advice of my doctor. I wear them mostly around the house and on quick errands. For me they are definately NOT a fashion statement. I find that when I wear them doing yard work, my feet, legs and back are not as sore and if they get dirty, I can just hose them down.

Posted by: dym | April 22, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

you can get good looking footwear if you have medical issues. they're called birkenstocks. they have lots of cute styles now. there's no excuse for bad footwear.

Posted by: april | April 22, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I had to stop wearing them. Seemed the shoe would catch on the floor but I would keep going! After a couple of cute dances I put them away....

Posted by: PRISCILLA | April 22, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

just b/c they're ugly, doesn't mean you shouldn't wear them. i see people all over town in ugly clothes, and i don't blame them. there's a reason we're all different and like different things. I personally love my crocs for long flights - easy off/on, great at security, etc. and, i too, wear them with socks. for all the croc bashers out there, close your eyes and slip on a pair. you'll never go back.

Posted by: i heart crocs | April 22, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Notice how escalator safety is getting a pass here? Perhaps we need to examine that end as well. Another avoidable danger: all the stump-and-fall broken hips caused by ill-maintained but cute red brick sidewalks. I hesitate to mention the brick sidewalk hazard since it supports half the personal injury lawyers in the country, but maybe they can find another way to pay for their kids' college costs.

Note to april: Birkenstocks, cute? Eye exams are cheap, you know.

Posted by: Mike Licht | April 22, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Psh, Crocs. Get some Keen trail sandals.

Posted by: Trailwalker | April 22, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

One problem not mentionned in this article is that in rainy weather, the Crocs frequently have little or no traction on wet surfaces, so you have to be careful where you walk in inclement weather.

But other than that, the Crocs are wonderfully comfortable, and I feel sorry for people who care so much about what other people think that they torture themselves with uncomfortable shoes. I say to those poor, unfortunate people, "My Crocs may be ugly, but unlike your face, I can take them off when I get home."

Posted by: Clare | April 22, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

But ... but ... I thought we were all supposed to stand to the RIGHT on the escalators, to let all those non-Croc-wearing Type A people pass!

Posted by: dupont circle | April 22, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"My Crocs may be ugly, but unlike your face, I can take them off when I get home."

Posted by: Clare | April 22, 2008 11:06 AM
-----

I see what you did there.

Posted by: Trailwalker | April 22, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Ya know, it can happen to any shoe with a soft rubber sole, especially ones with significant air pockets for added cush.

I had a sole get torn off of a pair of shoes on an escalator almost 20 years ago.

Posted by: Silver Spring | April 22, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The horror of crocs is well documented on I Hate Crocs http://ihatecrocsblog.blogspot.com/


Posted by: anon | April 22, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

To all the Crocs-bashers: I was once like you. I mocked friends for wearing them. I thought they were the ugliest shoe in existence.

Well, I still think they're ugly, but they are super comfortable and I'll never give them up. Once you wear them, you're hooked. And the other posters are correct - who cares what people think? Fashion vs comfort - I'm not wearing my Crocs to the theater, but who cares if I wear them to Target?

Posted by: Cody | April 22, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

You know, there are such things as comfortable, healthy AND safe shoes.

You don't need to buy some really cheap foam things. OK, cheap to make, though they charge a ton of cash out of consumers' pockets.

Posted by: Kim | April 22, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the edifying Crocs talk!
To the poster who asked whether Crocs are made of oil: I've got a call in to the folks at Crocs, and I'll post their answer as soon as I hear back. BTW, you can Google this question to get a sense of the debate going on out there...

Posted by: Jennifer Huget | April 22, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I wore the heck out of the flip-flop croc's last summer until one afternoon, I tripped at the top of an escalator. The toe got stuck at the very top. I was scared crapless and haven't worn them since. I'll just stick to my regular croc shoe. I DO thank the woman in front of me though, she saved my fall.

I used to pick on people who wore crocs.. they are butt ugly for sure. But one day, I decided to go out on a limb and buy a pair (actually Croc's website had a special and I was able to buy a pair for $6.00..figured if I hated them, 6 bucks wasn't a lot to lose) but OMG I wore them once and was SO hooked I purchased 3 more pair. My daughter is hooked as well. She even wore hers to her Jr. Prom instead of dress shoes. People may point to my feet and laugh, but I point to their pointy little feet stuffed in dress shoes and snicker to myself.. ahh.. I have some happy feet!!

Posted by: Neeta | April 22, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

There are other "styles" of Crocs besides the ones everybody thinks of when they hear "Crocs". I wore a pair of the sandals all last summer and no one ever guessed they were Crocs.

Posted by: Lina | April 22, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

To Neeta:
Too bad they didn't have the high-heeled Crocs in time for your daughter's prom.
Hope you took pictures!

Posted by: Jennifer Huget | April 22, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Ah great - another mass produced cheap synthetic product that people will overconsume b/c they can afford to get one in all their favorite colors, get enjoyment out of for a brief period of time, then chuck them into our landfills by the millions once they lose their novelty to fester for eons. Oh well, at least you were comfortable for a few years; it's not like you have the choice of supporting or demanding products that are comfortable, renewable, and don't make you look like a clown.

Posted by: Rosslyn | April 22, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Crocs are great around the house because I have a rigid big toe, which makes walking barefoot on a hard surface painful. I have a second pair to wear in the yard for minor tasks like gardening.

Posted by: Bartolo | April 22, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm not disparaging comfort in any way, and I understand medical needs, but there are better looking alternatives. Sure, you may say it's shallow to care about what shoes I am (and other people are) wearing, but really, what's so bad about wanting to wear cute shoes? I won't sacrifice my feet for fashion, but there are plenty of cute, comfortable shoes out there. Would you wear a Star Trek-esq jumpsuit every day just because it's comfortable? On second thought, I bet you would if everybody else did, huh?

Posted by: !! | April 22, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah great - another mass produced cheap synthetic product that people will overconsume b/c they can afford to get one in all their favorite colors, get enjoyment out of for a brief period of time, then chuck them into our landfills by the millions once they lose their novelty to fester for eons. Oh well, at least you were comfortable for a few years; it's not like you have the choice of supporting or demanding products that are comfortable, renewable, and don't make you look like a clown.

Posted by: Rosslyn | April 22, 2008 12:34 PM

Right. It's so much better for the planet if we raise, feed, house and kill animals to make leather shoe products.

Posted by: gcoward | April 22, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Despite what this article claims, you do not see "so many doctors and nurses" wearing Crocs. In fact, you'll see almost none. Why? They look ridiculous, and (more important for doctors) they're completely inappropriate as footwear for professional people.

Now, whether or not Danskos are a good alternative is a debatable point...

Posted by: Harry Caray | April 22, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

This is one of those discussions that makes me feel as though I'm from another dimension. I don't have any passionate feelings about Crocs, one way or the other. Admitting that seems risky!

On the one hand, you have the True Crocs Believers. To listen to them, you would think that Crocs are the only comfortable shoes that have ever existed in the history of mankind. This puzzles me since I have owned non-Croc shoes that were quite comfortable. (No doubt some True Believer is about to tell me that I've been brainwashed and thus didn't notice that my feet were actually in agony.) And I wonder how many people bought them because they're comfortable, and how many bought them because they're "in".

I have a similar question for the Other Hand, the True Croc Haters. Why would one hate a pair of shoes, particularly shoes that one doesn't even own? I've noticed that some people seem to enjoy hating popular culture; is that it? You hate them because they're "in" and lots of people are buying them?

I guess I'm just suffering from CAS--Croc Apathy Syndrome. I suppose I should seek treatment.

Posted by: Enjoy Every Sandwich | April 22, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

No Croc love here, but on the plus side, unlike flip-flops, they hide folks' UGLY toes and cracked heels. People, please get a pedicure or do one at home -- guys too --to spare us all your hairy toes with their dirty, too-long, cracked, fungus-ridden nails!!! Bleech!

Posted by: czech chick | April 22, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I have unusually large feet. In fact they are almost as wide as they are long. I wear Birkenstocks in the winter and Crocs in the summer. They keep my feet cool and dry (important, as I am hampered by chronic nail fungus) and they look rather smart (if I do say so myself).

Posted by: mrsdocchuck | April 22, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Right. It's so much better for the planet if we raise, feed, house and kill animals to make leather shoe products.

Posted by: gcoward | April 22, 2008 1:41 PM

I think the poster was referring to the fad nature coupled with the cheap product. Most people don't throw away leather shoes that often, mostly because there's cost incentive not to do so. Crocs will be passe in 5 years and all of them will be in the trash because, as a previous poster mentioned, they were only $30 (or whatever they cost). It's true that we should learn to value fewer well made products that can last lif

Posted by: DJ | April 22, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

UGLIEST. SHOE. EVER.

Posted by: DudeAbides | April 22, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree, they're hideous. I'm seeing little kids, under 4, wearing them and tripping all over the place - one even knocked teeth out! My husband and I are expecting some big studies in a few years that will highlight the chiropractic damage caused nationally but this ugly trend.

Posted by: Susie | April 22, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah great - another mass produced cheap synthetic product that people will overconsume b/c they can afford to get one in all their favorite colors, get enjoyment out of for a brief period of time, then chuck them into our landfills by the millions once they lose their novelty to fester for eons. Oh well, at least you were comfortable for a few years; it's not like you have the choice of supporting or demanding products that are comfortable, renewable, and don't make you look like a clown.

Posted by: Rosslyn | April 22, 2008 12:34 PM


Crocs ARE renewable. Go to the Crocs website and you'll see information about recycling crocs into free shoes for people in Third World countries.

Posted by: Croclover | May 4, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

How scary ! Thank you for this very informative post! Have been thinking of buying my daughter a pair this year - think now we will skip them and not trip in them.

Posted by: Cathrine in Norway | May 6, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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