Crocs bought a little-known Italian shoe brand. Wall Street doubted it, but teenagers have been quietly obsessed with it for years.

  • When Crocodile announced in December that he was buying the shoe brand Hi guyshares fell 12%.
  • But the brand – known for its comfort, lightness shoes – has legions of hardcore fans.

When Crocs announced in December that it was buying Hey Dude, Wall Street had its doubts.

The stock immediately fell 12% as investors wondered why Crocs was losing $2.5 billion on a little-known Italian shoe company.

But Crocs may have known something investors didn’t: Hey Dude, a brand known for its comfortable, lightweight shoes that arrive in biodegradable packaging, has quietly amassed legions of Gen Z fans.

According to Piper Sandler’s latest biannual survey of American teens, Hey Dude has ranked among teens’ top 10 shoe brands for the second survey in a row. In 2019, Hey Dude ranked 54th among teens surveyed – in 2020, he had dropped to 17th. In December, Piper Sandler called Hey Dude one of the fastest growing brands she follows, according to CNBC.

Crocs CEO Andrew Rees told CNBC at the time that buying Hey Dude was a way “to add another brand, which has its own icon,” rather than diversifying away from the ubiquitous clog. of Crocs.

The Hey Dude acquisition closed in February, and Crocs said at the time that it expected the brand to generate approximately $750 million in revenue in 2022. Crocs plans to grow Hey Dude into a one-stop brand. billion by 2024 by expanding its U.S. distribution, expanding its customer base and adding new products to its lineup, the company said in an investor presentation.

In January, UBS analysts wrote that Crocs’ 2022 outlook should boost investor sentiment, as “it should show the CROX market not buying Hey Dude because its core Crocs business is slowing.”

So what makes Hey Dude so popular?

Hey Dude, founded in 2008 by Alessandro Rosano, started with one style, a slip-on shoe called Wally.

Hey Dude fans say his shoes are lightweight, snug and comfortable – just like Crocs – and built with durability in mind. The shoes are made from recycled cork, plastic and leather and are sent to customers in cornstarch packaging.

Hey Dudes is sold online and at national retailers like Journey’s and Buckle. The Wally and women’s alternative, the Wendy, retail for $60 while the brand’s more expensive styles of boots are priced between $80 and $90.

It seems some of the brand’s popularity can be attributed to TikTok – the platform hosts hundreds of videos of customers showing off their Hey Dudes collections.

@alondrardz_ After so long #fypシ #foryoupage #heydudeshoes ♬ i hate you idle – xxtristanxo

“Love it! 10/10 recommend,” posted a user with the handle @sttepphhyy about their new Hey Dudes. Another user, @naidelyy09, called Hey Dudes “the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn”.

Some fans shared videos of their bridal and groomsmen parties wearing Hey Dude shoes at their wedding, while others started customizing the upper part of the shoe with leather patches or brand logos. .

@bellesandshotgunshells #crownroyal #crownheydudes #heydudeshoes #heydude #custom #customheydudes #smallbusiness #PonderWithZion #MAKEYOURMOVE #fyp #boutique ♬ Touch Down – MUFF

Many videos are tagged with US states like Florida or Texas, which makes sense: Crocs’ Rees told CNBC in December that 95% of the company’s sales are in the US and that the “core of Hey Dude’s popularity lay in the Midwest. and the South.

“It hasn’t spread to the coast as much as some other companies would and that’s our opportunity,” he said. “We think he has a lot more potential here in the United States and also around the world.”

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