Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) shares showed signs of life last week, after the company reported a better-than-expected quarterly loss. Me? I'm just amazed that investors in the midst of a serious recession could get so exuberant about an unprofitable company whose days as a hot fad are long gone.

The purveyor of colorful clogs reported a net loss of $30.3 million, or $0.36 per share, versus a profit of $2.1 million, or $0.03 per share this time last year. The quarterly results included a litany of charges; without them, Crocs reported a net loss of $5 million, or $0.06 per share.

Revenue fell 11.3% to $197.7 million. However, Crocs was able to reduce its inventories, in part by donating some shoes to charity. That's a kind gesture, but it begs for a "giving these things away" joke. The company also improved its balance sheet by paying off the $17.3 million it owed on its credit facility, which had been due on Sept. 30. These are glimmers of good news, but this torpid reptile's not out of the jaws of disaster just yet.

Crocs warned investors about its ability to continue as a going concern last spring, and it hasn't yet lifted that warning from its Form 10-Q filing with the SEC.

The company further disclosed that it may still require additional financing to fund its operations as the economic downturn wears on. Personally, I wouldn't want to bet on its ability to secure financing or repay debts over the long term, if its business continues to suffer.

Blaming Crocs' ills on the economy seems naive, especially since the trend that initially lifted the company has clearly faded. Even with no help from the economy, this stock has the same hovering air of gloom as fellow footwear fad Heelys (NASDAQ:HLYS).

I guess people will always fall in love with the compelling stories of stocks like Crocs or Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI), without contemplating their staying power -- much less boring old fundamentals like balance sheets. Searching for growth companies is fun, and it can be very lucrative, but that kind of investing includes a high risk of misjudging fickle consumer tastes and trends. A company like Nike (NYSE:NKE) may seem boring and staid by comparison, but it's far less likely to crash and burn.

For those who scooped up Crocs shares when they were scraping the bottom of the barrel, well, I suggest you pat yourself on the back for being darn lucky, take your gains, and invest in something with better odds of paying off. At this point, even a lottery scratch-off ticket might fare better than Crocs' stock.

Got a great contrarian argument in favor of investing in Crocs? Hit us with your best shot in the comment box below.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned, nor is she shorting any of them. Nope, not even Crocs. Try any of our Foolish newsletters free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy manages to remain comfortable without being full of holes.