A special-edition pair of Crocs released in collaboration with Latin pop star Bad Bunny sold out in 16 minutes.
The Bad Bunny Crocs, adorned with glow-in-the-dark versions of the brand’s proprietary Jibbitz charms and Bad Bunny’s logo, were the latest in a series of highly anticipated, quick-to-sell-out collaborations between the famously comfortable foam clogs and a well-known musical artist.
Designs the company created with the Grateful Dead and Post Malone — a serial Crocs collaborator — all sold out within an hour. Other recent Crocs collaborations, including one with Kentucky Fried Chicken, have been similarly popular.
Danny Morales, 26, from Rialto, California, tried to buy the Crocs with three separate devices, only to find out that they were unavailable.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I really wanted those too.” He already had a pair of Crocs, he said, “but these were Bad Bunny’s. Who wouldn’t want anything he puts out?”
Crocs has been gaining ground for the past five years, but it has had a banner 2020. At a time when U.S. retail sales of footwear are down 20% so far this year when compared to the same period in 2019, sales of Crocs are up 48%, according to Matt Powell, an analyst at the NPD Group, a market research firm.
“Under the pandemic, frankly anything that you could call ‘comfortable’ has done well,” Powell said. “The slipper business is one of the few other footwear categories that’s up under COVID.”
Bad Bunny, a Puerto Rican trap star, released his second major studio album, “YHLQMDLG,” this year. It quickly became the highest-charting all-Spanish-language album ever, according to Billboard, and broke several sales records.
He has also become notable for his out-there look, which toggles between Caribbean dad-core and designer streetwear, and become a go-to magazine cover star.
Michelle Poole, the newly appointed president of Crocs, said that Bad Bunny embodied the “come as you are” attitude that Crocs is always looking to sell.
“He’s got a very daring style, a very unapologetic attitude, and he’s also someone who loves Crocs,” she said. “He’s been spotted wearing Crocs in live performances and in music videos.”
“I am always trying to be comfortable,” Bad Bunny said by email when asked about the collaboration. “It isn’t something that I suddenly decided to do, be comfortable. It’s something I’ve done my whole life. I always like to feel good with what I have on.”
He added that he was happy that the shoe had been so popular and clarified that his favorite Crocs colors are yellow and green.
“WOW they were SOLD OUT in like 15 minutes I think,” he wrote. “FELIZ.”
The idea for the collaboration originated with Pedro Rodriguez, 33, a merchandising manager at Crocs and a Bad Bunny fan, originally from Puerto Rico. Conversations with the artist started in 2019.
Crocs has had notable collaborations with other brands since 2017, when it helped Balenciaga send its models down the runway in the foam clogs. Its string of memorable collaborations with musicians kicked off the following year with the first set of Post Malone shoes.
“Post was the first really broad collaboration that everyone was talking about,” Poole said. “He’s the marmite. People love or hate him.” (Poole, who grew up outside of London, was referring to the deep brown vegetable extract that British people inexplicably love.)
“Crocs is marmite as well, so we like pairing up with other marmite brands,” she added.
Collaborations have become a fashion staple over the last decade. Pioneered by streetwear brand Supreme, which broke ground by working with fine artists, including George Condo and Takashi Murakami, such collaborations pile fan bases on top of each other, creating a built-in demographic for what is often limited-edition merchandise.
“Ten years ago it wasn’t common,” said Angelo Baque, head of clothing line Awake NY and former creative director of Supreme. “Now, if you go on Hypebeast, there’s 40 collaborations to announce a day. I think that everything is fair game in terms of collaboration. I don’t think there's anything that’s sacred.”
To fans of Bad Bunny, the near-instantaneous unavailability of the new Crocs felt like sacrilege. By Tuesday evening, more than 1,300 people had signed a petition asking that more of the shoes be released and blaming “bots,” software programmed to speed-buy limited merchandise, for snapping up all the wares. (A spokeswoman for Crocs, Melissa Layton, said that bots are on the brand’s radar and that the company is “doing everything we can to mitigate that bot action.”)
Mariela Benavides was one of those who signed the petition, writing, “I’m signing this because the bots did me dirty. I just wanted to vibe with my crocs, man.”
Poole said that it was possible that another run of the limited-edition shoes would be released.
“It’s certainly something that isn’t off the table if there’s appetite,” she said. “That said, what we want to do is have the feeling for our customers that they’ve captured something that’s really valuable. And if you over-distribute anything it loses its value, so it’s really about finding the right balance.”