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I’ve been asked about Crocs™ before a hundred or so times and people have a lot of questions and strong opinions surrounding “Are they safe?”.  With all the chemicals surrounding us these days, parents are becoming more and more curious about the things we use on a day to day basis. So I’ll break it down for you and give you the scoop on whether SafeMama thinks Crocs are “safe”.

Crocs™ as a company is quite philanthropic and they do offer a recycling program that brings shoes to underdeveloped countries through their Crocs Cares program.  You can drop off used Crocs at your local drop-off location and they will be cleaned and re-purposed in developing nations that need them. So instead of ending up in a landfill they will becomes shoes to someone who might not have any shoes at all.  I’m okay with that.

Based on the materials, they now have hundreds of styles and use a mix of materials but their most well known shoes, the Classic Crocs and other varieties of this shoe, are made from their patented Croslite™ material. Since they don’t disclose the nature of the material its hard to determine what it is exactly but I did ask their representative a few questions about it and was given some reassurance that the chemicals we typically avoid are not in Crocs.  They said they did not contain fire retardant chemicals, or plasticizers such as phthalates and that they were also free of colophony, abitol, abietic acid, chromium, bisphenol A or neomycin but that some models do use glue in their construction.

When pressed about their prior anti-microbial status I was also assured that they do not contain any Microban or similar anti-microbial chemicals and that the closed cell nature of the material is what offered that trait.  I felt a bit better about the material after hearing that.  I can’t say that I’m totally convinced that they aren’t 100% non-toxic.  If you have ever been in a Crocs store, the odor of the shoes off gassing is powerful enough to make you wonder. Jury is still out on that but for now, they’re assured me they are free of some of the chemicals we tend to avoid like phthalates and fire retardants.

From a safety standpoint, there were reports a few years ago about Crocs posing an issue with escalators and missing toes.  I haven’t heard any reports about that since but I think it’s safe to say that Crocs are best worn for casual play, beach or backyard time since they are comfy and offer some support.  I would recommend socks and sneakers for any playground or physical activities though. It absolutely drives me nutty seeing kids play barefoot or with flimsy sandals on playgrounds.  Kids could step on something sharp or twist an ankle very easy… I always wondered if I was the only one who worried about that.

That being said, I was totally unaware that Crocs now makes Crocband Sneakids which are basically sneakers made of Croslite™! Crocs sent us a pair to try out and I have to admit to liking them. I will also admit that we have owned Crocs in the past and they make great backyard shoes or beach shoes since they can be easily rinsed off.  Not to mention they are much easier to slip on and off than socks and sneakers.  Crocs have their place and now with these new Crocband Sneakids, I’d even venture to say they would be better for playground use too. They’re a bit tight at first but once broken in they fit well and don’t have the risk of slipping off like traditional Crocs. They look pretty sharp on my little guy and he can run and jump in them as well as a regular sneaker.

I know many people have strong feelings one way or the other regarding Crocs and I, too, had some misgivings and am still weary of the odor reeking out of the Crocs store, but as far as the risk of chemical exposure and use safety, I am more on their side than I was before.

Find Them: You can see these and other Crocs brand shoes on their website

Posted by: SafeMama Kathy on February 22, 2011


10 Responses to “Looking At Crocs”

  1. C on February 22nd, 2011 4:16 pm

    escaladers = escalators?

    Thanks for checking this out.

  2. Sue on February 22nd, 2011 5:21 pm

    What about the knock-off brands, like those by Airwalk sold at Payless Shoes? Those are what I actually think most people are wearing, at least in my area. I’ve never seen an actual “Crocs” store anywhere. I’ve also never seen a place where you can drop off old shoes for recycling.

  3. Lori Popkewitz Alper on February 22nd, 2011 5:35 pm

    Thanks for this great review of crocs! My kids love them. I think they are incredibly ugly-but functional. We are all about slipping our feet in quickly-so I’m not sure the new sneaks would work. I am most concerned about the material that they are made from and the thought of millions (or more) of crocs laying in a landfill somewhere.

  4. Heather on February 22nd, 2011 6:00 pm

    I stepped on a nail one time wearing crocs and my MD told me was glad I was wearing crocs rather than sneakers because the sneakers have so many more bacteria in them. He updated my tetanus booster and gave me a prescription for antibiotic just in case. (I ended up not filling it because my foot never got infected.)

  5. Senga on February 23rd, 2011 3:18 am

    Thanks for this post! My daughter wears a mary jane style of crocs that we bought overseas (I bought the wedge heels for myself – the comfort of crocs plus height!) I haven’t found them the most supportive shoes, especially as they get older (the shoes, that is) and they can get hot in summer, but they are light and comfortable for growing feet. So glad to be reassured that they are (seem) safe. A bit more info from the company about “Croslite” would be welcome!

  6. SafeMama Kathy on February 23rd, 2011 7:36 am

    @Sue, I don’t know if this information applies to knock offs. I only interviewed the Crocs company so far.

  7. meg on February 23rd, 2011 9:15 am

    crocs are great during potty training as well…easy clean up if your little one has an accident!

  8. kristina on February 23rd, 2011 10:34 am

    I grew up in Hawaii. Back then we weren’t supposed to wear shoes to school until 5th grade. Our shoes of choice were generally flip flops and since they caused so many playground injuries it was better to go barefooted than risk injury. And so much more fun! I am eager to try the new sneakers style on my little one. Thanks for the info. about the return program. I have a couple pairs to donate!

  9. oriyan gitig on February 23rd, 2011 11:22 am

    I-Play makes a type of shoe that is supposed to be like a Croc and supposedly non-toxic. I am awaiting receipt of my first pair for my 14 month old daughter.

  10. Lindz on February 28th, 2011 1:25 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. I am so glad you said the store gives off an odor. I walked into one the other day and had to walk out. The smell was so bad I couldn’t breathe. I’ve been in a Crocs store before and didn’t have a problem with the smell. That was in the summer and the door to the store was open. Made a huge difference apparently. Thanks again.