Crocs: Healthy Shoes or Just Comfy?
Do those eye-catching shoes have a place in good foot care? Doctors and consumers share their views.
Crocs have the official seal of approval from the APMA, meaning the shoes
have been found to be beneficial in promoting good foot and ankle care. But not
all doctors have signed on to the medical value of the shoes.
"They are very light weight and are good for people who have trouble
walking," says Bob Baravarian, MD, chief of foot and ankle surgery at Santa
Monica UCLA Medical Center. "They are very stable, they don't bend and twist
side to side much, and they have a good heel cup and arch contour compared to
Baravarian says Crocs have more positive attributes than negative, but
they're no substitute for the real deal.
"Because the shoe is considered medical, it gets overused by people who need
more support than they can get from the shoe," Baravarian tells WebMD. "It's
not as good as an orthotic or a medical type shoe; it's made out to be better
than it is."
And it's not made for marathon wear either, adds Baravarian.
"It's a good shoe for going to the beach, kicking around the house, going to
the corner market, but they're not made to be worn at Disneyland all day long,"
Some doctors haven't crossed paths yet with Croc fans.
"Boy, I have never heard of the shoes, and haven't had patients who tried
them -- that I know of," says Richard Deyo, MD, a professor of medicine and
health services at the University of Washington in Seattle. "I guess I'm out of
touch with the popular culture!"
And until a clinical trial published in medical journal says so, he probably
won't be recommending them to patients.
"I'm a professional skeptic, and that applies here as well," says Deyo.
"Unless they have some persuasive randomized trials, I'd regard the therapeutic
claims as theoretical."
What Crocs Fans Say
People who wear Crocs are die-hard fans, and stand by -- and in -- the shoes
all day long.
"I saw them in a store, and I tried them on, and ended up with a pair that
are light pink," says Jamie Jessick, a registered nurse at Santa Monica UCLA
Medical Center. "I like that they're really light and comfortable."