Years ago, when Crocs first hit the scene, I couldn’t make fun of them, and likewise the dorks that wore them, fast enough. For the first few years no one, close friends nor close family, could escape my ridicule. They just looked so stupid!

Don’t get me wrong, I still haven’t changed my opinion about how ridiculous they are from a fashion standpoint, but I am now an ardent and vociferous proponent of the Croc, and I feel it is time I told their story.

I bought my Crocs from Shoe Hero when I was guiding backpacking trips through the Wilderness areas of Montana, seeing that they could be the perfect camp shoe, a hard earned and well ventilated respite for ailing feet after hiking fifteen pack laden miles. For this they proved perfect. Lightweight, easy on and off, and I could slip them on for stream crossings and they’d be dry within seconds.

That was five years ago, and since then, they have rarely left my side, trusty companions that have followed me everywhere. I’ve hunted mule deer through the Missouri River Breaks in them, scouted for Elk in the Rattlesnake Wilderness, biked the streets of Missoula, and now, I’ve walked the deserts of Baja in them. It’s unbelievable that such a thin little layer of foam can provide such protection from thorns, jagged volcanic rocks, tarantulas, sea urchins and all the other hazards and irritants that we’ve come across.

Alas, this is actually the prelude to a eulogy. I see that their end is coming soon, so forgive my sentiment. Through thousands of miles of abrasive steps, I’ve slowly worn away the sole, and it appears that their death is nigh. While not dead yet, I’m beginning to feel a close connection to the earth with each step I take. A little too close.

Goodbye old friends, you will be missed.