Nothing exemplifies the unpredictability of public opinion more than the success of Crocs.

Crocs are the platypus of the shoe world. They look funny, but they’ve somehow managed to dominate a certain segment of the footwear market. Renowned for their vibrant color, orgasmic comfort and a fashion sense that combines the best attributes of a Nerf football and a kitchen strainer, Crocs have enjoyed an inexplicable level of popularity with the public–particularly the American public (we’re looking at you, Mario Batali).

While almost every other fashion line at least tries to combine both style and functionality, Crocs focuses on comfort above all else, and consequently revolutionized shoe design as a result. Most readers won’t be too surprised to learn that the original Crocs were designed as spa shoes. No one will ever win an Olympic competition in Crocs, but the line has made its way into mainstream life for many Americans.

Though the popularity of Crocs appeared to peak as their novelty factor faded, the company recently implemented a marketing strategy designed to re-brand its products as (wait for it) an upscale alternative to competitors—namely Skechers and Wolverine Worldwide—offering similar but less expensive shoes. Read more