They’re the footwear that we love to hate, but in Love Island 2023 Crocs were all the rage and lovingly adorned by many of the series’ contestants. Despite spending much of the last 20 years being ridiculed, Crocs have repeatedly been a hit on the UK reality show–so much so that sales regularly receive a boost whenever a new series airs.
Despite only making their debut in 2002, Crocs have already had time to be listed in TIME magazine’s top 50 worst inventions of all time in 2010.
But there’s something about Crocs that appear to be striking a chord with Love Island contestants. 2023’s series saw many islanders use the closed-cell resin shoe with both male and female contestants embracing the contentious fashion item.
Leading the Crocs revival in 2023’s series was Shaq, who could be frequently spotted wearing the iconic shoes adorned with a selection of ‘charms’, which had been fixed to the vents at the top of the footwear.
Shaq was certainly not the only contestant in 2023 to wear Crocs, and the phenomenon has been in full flow for some years now, so what is it with Love Island and the functional footwear that’s so often ridiculed?
The answer is likely to be a simple one: Crocs are actually the perfect shoe if you’re set for days-on-end lounging by a pool in great weather. Although they’re not a universally popular piece of footwear, even Crocs’ harshest critics would admit that they’re highly comfortable.
As we can see from this still in 2021, Crocs in Love Island are nothing new, and it’s likely to be the comfort factor that makes the footwear a major selling point for contestants.
While Crocs in 2023 appear to be as popular as ever if Love Island is anything to go by, it appears that the shoe has evolved in the two years that have followed the 2021 edition of the show. The plain white Crocs worn by contestants Kaz, Faye, and Millie on the island two years ago appear to have evolved into more colourful and elaborate designs, with the use of decorative charms becoming more commonplace in more recent series.
Charms have become a great way of empowering wearers to express themselves beyond the classic design of Crocs, and we’ve seen their usage grow in Love Island and beyond.
It also seems that the relationship between Crocs and Love Island is mutually beneficial, with the shoe manufacturer consistently recording greater user interest and sales when the series is on.
Tapping into the Love Island Marketing Machine
It turns out that the marketing power of Love Island contestants are a force to be reckoned with over the years. While many brands have been known to perform well off the back of the latest fashion trends showcased by the contestants on the show, Crocs are among the leading beneficiaries of the selling power of the islanders.
Immediately after the first episode of the 2022 series of Love Island aired, UK retailer New Look announced a 500% spike in demand for the charms that can be added to Crocs. This came in the wake of Ikenna’s arrival on the show, who wore a pair of black Crocs covered in charms.
After the 2021 series, Bustle reported that there had been a 1,000% increase in demand for Crocs, which at the time were beginning to win over the interests of major celebrities like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.
Today, it’s clear that Crocs, for all the derision received by older generations, have really struck a chord with gen-z consumers, and have built a large following on platforms like TikTok as a result of resonating with younger fashionistas.
As we can see from the TikTok #crocs, 7.4 billion users have viewed videos linked to the hashtag, with a wide range of short videos showing off animal interactions, quirky charms, and name-based puns that appear to focus on Dwayne ‘the Croc’ Johnson.
Mix and Match Made in Heaven
Another reason why Crocs appear to have taken centre stage in Love Island comes from their ease of colour matching and accessorising. The growth in popularity of charms means that users can find the styles that they like the most and decorate their shoes with accessories to match the right tones and styles.
This means that if you want to style your shoes to match up with a pair of glasses, you can build an indestructible look by colour matching your eyewear with your charms.
For a show where cameras are on contestants 24 hours a day, it’s these small opportunities to bring out their personality without having to be overtly attention-grabbing. With this in mind, Crocs make for the perfect companion on Love Island.
2023 is certainly not the first and nor will it be the last series of Love Island to be dominated by the Crocs revival, but with excellent functionality and the chance to personalise a look in a more subtle way, the shoe we love to hate is a match made in heaven for the islanders.