By Jeffrey the Barak.
Crocs. Perhaps the most divisive shoe of modern times. Hated by many due to their famously ugly appearance, and loved by even more due to their toe-spreading, foot-pain-curing magic.
The shoe that can be restored to new with a spot of dish soap, the shoe that dries in a moment, the shoe that can be worn as a clog or a strapped-on recovery sneaker.
I originally bought into Crocs because I have ceramic floors at home and I walk thousands of steps over these floors every day, which would be murder on aged bare feet. Wearing shoes inside the house is kapu, or taboo, in Hawai’i, so a dedicated indoor slipper is the only option.
I’m on my fourth pair of Crocs Classic Clogs because I actually wear them down to smooth inside and out, even as mere house slippers.
So I picked up a pair of Crocs LiteRide 360 Marbled Clogs for a change and this is my view on which I personally prefer, and why.
The Bottom Line: I personally much prefer the Classic Clogs to the LiteRide 360 Clogs. Read-on for the reasoning.
I actually bought my LiteRide 360s to see if they could be used as the sole shoe (pun) or only shoe taken along on a ten day tour of Japan. Can I walk for hours in Crocs, or do I need walking shoes, which might be sneakers or a casual shoe with a good aftermarket insole?
Well of course I could, and in the past I’ve done similar and sockless adventures, traveling light, with only the very shoes on my feet. I’ve done it with Sperry Topsiders, which have no cushioning to speak of, and I’ve done it with Crocs LiteRide sneakers, which are not foot-shaped like the clogs and therefore extremely different in feel.
As one ages, the ability to survive without cushioning underfoot is diminished. I’ve aged out of the barefoot shoe craze because it became like a hammer to the soles for me. And now I’ve also aged out of Sperry Topsiders, but besides that I am moving away from owning anything made of leather, having made a deal with the cattle. (I still have my final pair of leather dress shoes, two old wallets, and my last ever car with so-called “leather” seating areas).
I was dissatisfied with my Crocs LiteRide sneakers, which I used sockless on a trip to multiple world cities. They hurt, mostly from the uppers. Yes a thin sock would have helped, but I wanted to pack as light as possible. But again those were not foot shaped, but rather standard sneaker shaped. Therefore the Crocs LiteRide 360 Clogs cannot be compared to the sneakers.
I began with wearing my new LiteRide clogs in the house, where I normally wear my Classics. The LiteRide clogs are spongier and absorb more impact with the tiles. But they are also less wide so there is not as much toe spread as there can be in the very roomy Classics. But they are still wide, and a more roomy shape than almost any running shoe outside of select Altra or Topo models.
But then weight comes into play. Classics weigh less than LiteRides. The Classics are formed from one piece of the same material, Croslite™. Whereas the LiteRides feature three variations of it, one for the sole, one for the permanent integrated footbed, and a third for the thin upper.
The weight difference is very noticeable. It is close to 3:2, or 50% more for the LiteRides. Not long into my side by side comparison, I started to feel that I preferred my Originals while wandering around the tile floored house without socks. I then went for some walks in the street wearing the LiteRides. I took a sockless walk, which brought back the discomfort I felt from the uppers of my old LiteRide sneakers, then I wore a thin nylon dress sock, and finally a cotton running sock. (I have not tried outdoor street walking in my exclusively indoor Originals).
Many reviewers, who don’t really do the work and genuinely review a pair of each, take the advertising copy from Crocs and say the LiteRides weigh less. But while the foam material does, the complete shoes don’t! Is this the only review that has noticed that the LiteRides weigh 50% more?
The cotton running sock won for street walking, although it took away most of the toe-spreading space in the LiteRides. But as cushy and squishy as they are, it was plainly obvious that Crocs LiteRide Crocs are certainly not a replacement for a good walking sneaker or running shoe, not that they make any promises as-such.
LiteRide Crocs are great for standing around and taking a couple of hundred steps here and there. Great for shopping, kitchen work, etc., but after twenty minutes of walking, they let you know it is not time to give up your real sneakers.
In either case, Crocs clogs are a far healthier alternative to rubber flip-flops, known as “Sleepahs” in Hawai’i. Constantly employing the toes to keep your footwear on is proven to be bad for your back.
For me, (and your own opinion may differ), Crocs Classic Clogs are better than Crocs LiteRide 360 Crocs for:
- House slippers
- Water shoes (use that heel strap)
- Toe spreading (a physical ability worth cultivating)
- Easy on and off
- Cool feet, sweat-free days
- Sockless comfort
- Weightless feel
LiteRides are perhaps better for:
- Standing in one spot for hours
- Moderate jumping
- Acceptable appearance in public
- Short sauntering walks (e.g. shopping)
Neither is particularly good for:
- Long walks (in my opinion)
- Cold wet days
Of course a quick glance on YouTube will tell you that adventurous people have hiked hundreds of miles in Crocs of various types, and have even run for long distances in them. But I would never advise that you try running in them! Save them for your after run recovery.
Since this magazine is so full of scooting articles, I should say that I had no issues scooting in the LiteRides, obviously with the heel strap flipped to the back. I could still twist to switch feet, although some riders keep too much unnecessary grip tape onboard for this important technique.
So if you have the money, space, and curiosity, pick up a pair of each, (on clearance sale if possible), and try them out to find your own preference. If you can only manage one pair, get the Classics.
It is also worth mentioning that Classic and LiteRide Crocs clogs are just two of many varieties these days. Some are designed for prolonged outdoor use, and some are work specific, beyond just kitchens and hospitals, and there are new designs coming out all the time. And now there are also big name-brand imitators riding the foam wave, albeit late to Crocs original game.
Crocs, LiteRide, LiteRide 360, Crocs Classic Clogs etc. are trademarks of Crocs. Most pictures above are (c) Crocs.
Jeffrey the Barak has, at the time of writing, 66 year old feet, tired soles, tiled floors, straight and naturally fanned-out toes, diminishing fashion sense, mild insanity, and a host of other things.