If these shoes could talk ... they'd sing

Feet everywhere are enjoying the comfort of Crocs

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Three Boulder men designed Crocs as the perfect boat shoes. Now, they can be found everywhere and on people of all ages.

Ugly.

That was Alicia Wisecup's first reaction to Crocs.

Then, the nurse at Yampa Valley Medical Center tried on a pair and was smitten - or bitten - by the power of a shoe that allows her to stay on her feet all day and take pain-free walks at lunch.

On Thursday afternoon, several YVMC employees and Doak Walker Care Center nurses and residents gathered for a Crocs photograph. Showing off their shoes, the men and women cited comfort as the main reason for purchasing the shoes.

"It feels like you're walking on foam," said Kelly Williams, wearing a pair of hot pink Crocs to match her hot pink scrubs.

Jeff Neill, clad in orange, cited clean-up convenience as another reason for purchasing Crocs.

"Just throw them in the dishwasher," he said.

Williams laughed. That's how she cleans her Crocs.

Crocs, a Niwot-based company, was founded in 2002 by three Boulder men.

The trio was sailing from Islas Mujeres, Mexico to Miami when they began dreaming about the perfect boat shoe that didn't smell, was waterproof and slip resistant.

Four years later, Crocs has gone from one office inside an office suite to a multi-site company that produces shoes, clothing and other Crocs paraphernalia in the U.S. and overseas.

You can almost hear Jimmy Buffet singing the movie soundtrack.

"It has been fun," said Tia Mattson, spokeswoman for Crocs.

Rarely do fashion trends start in landlocked Colorado, but Crocs, designed as a boating shoe, caught on quickly in the mountains.

"Because (the founders) are Boulder locals, it was easy to get the comfort thing going," Mattson said.

Linda Petet, owner of Steamboat Shoe Market, has been carrying the shoes for years, so she gets a chuckle out of newcomers asking, "What is the deal with these shoes?"

"I've been selling shoes for 20-some years," she said. "I've never seen anything appeal to such a broad audience. There is no age limit, sex, race, anything. They are for everybody. They do such fun colors. That's the hardest part, for people to pick out what color they want."

Crocs are made of Croslite, a proprietary closed cell resin, which is not plastic or rubber. The shoes begin at $30 and are on sale at virtually every Steamboat outdoor clothing store.

Like their namesake, Crocs are viciously attacking the shoe market.

"They keep coming out with new stuff," Petet said. "A Mary Jane style comes out in October. They've teamed up with Disney, and they are going to do a Disney shoe. You'd be amazed."

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