Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports league bans Crocs in a war against comfort

A CS:GO soldier wearing Crocs.
(Image credit: Valve)

After years of ridicule and bewilderment at their existence, Crocs are finally kinda cool. They're affordable, comfortable as hell and you can even customise them with all sorts of cool charms and adornments. 

They're the favourite shoe of healthcare workers and young people who've started to embrace comfortable fashion over whatever impractical crap I was subjected to in my teenage years. Hell, I'm wearing a pair of Crocs as I type this right now. Who wouldn't want to be wearing them? Well, the ESL apparently.

As spotted by Kotaku, the major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports league has put a ban on the comfy footwear as it clarifies some dress code regulations ahead of next week's IEM Cologne 2023 tournament. It shared its mid-year rulebook update, with one particular changelog entry catching people's eye: "Clarified in '4.3 Clothing' that Crocs are considered open shoes and therefore not allowed." Considering most Crocs are closed-toe, I guess those iconic holes in the top of the shoe—little vents for your feet stink, as I like to call them—change their classification in the eyes of the ESL.

Crocs join the list of clothing such as flip-flops, shorts, and headwear that aren't allowed to be worn by players. Any players rocking up in jorts and Crocs could find themselves with a minimum $250 fine, or potentially even having the ESL disallow players from participating in their matches until "the problematic piece of clothing has been replaced." 

The specific callout against Crocs has a few pro players and fans cracking jokes on Twitter. Complexity player Hallzerk, who has previously been snapped rocking the Crocs, tweeted "they are just trying to nerf me, its fine". Caster Connor "cernersandals" Rhodes called the ban "Literally 1984," while pro Halo player Tyler Ganza said it was "time to bring out the Heely's".

I certainly understand the ESL wanting to have a cohesive dress code across its teams, making sure they all look professional. Though I gotta say, if I was an esports player I would want to be as comfortable as I could possibly be up on a big stage with thousands of people watching me. If Crocs can help me achieve that goal, why shouldn't I wear them? Suppose it's a good job I'll never play CS:GO professionally.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.