Harriet Walker: Enduring image gives this slip-on plenty more mileage

Sartorially speaking, they're the worst thing to happen to feet since the Kathy Bates scene in Misery. But it seems everybody's favourite love-to-hate, rubberised and slightly orthopaedic-looking footwear brand will have the last laugh.

Because while the moulded foam-resin clogs may invite the disdain of style-obsessives, Crocs are a hit with consumers the world over. The sturdy slip-ons are a favourite with parents, as they're perfect for kids to kick around in at the playground or beach. They're loved too by doctors and nurses, who are on their feet all day.

With a whole spectrum of shades and variants, including Disney-decorated pairs, they've also become something of an inexpensive collectable – you could have Crocs to match every outfit, should you so wish. The brand even offers a shearling-lined "Cruggs" version for winter. And it's handy too that children's feet don't stay the same size for long – hence the consistently strong sales.

Ultimately, the concept of the "ugly shoe" is something rather high-minded in fashion. Avant-garde designers such as Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons are famous for dressing models in distinctly clumpy footwear; cult Swedish label Acne makes wedges that look more like hooves than glamorous heels, for example.

But for some reason Crocs have always remained the déclassé rather than directional. Perhaps it's because they come in a plethora of luminous colours, smell like a chemical plant and have holes where you can attach Winnie the Pooh charms to the straps.

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