Historically speaking, mules have a weird reputation in the fashion space. Often thought of as a home shoe or something that a line cook might wear, mules are decidedly comfortable and functional—but not rarely fashionable. That’s not the case now, as the mule is in the midst of a full-on takeover in the sartorial space. And the results are stunning.
Mules are now coming in various shapes, hues, and vibes—with options well-suited to staying comfy on your feet all day or slip-ons that work with a suit. Here are ten worth checking out right now.
The Best Mules: At a Glance
What the Experts Say
“I think mules are hitting right now because they’re so comfortable and non-committal while not looking sloppy,” says 3Sixteen founder Andrew Chen. “We launched our first style last summer, and they’ve been really well received. People were even buying them in the wintertime; I suspect it’s because some people use them as house or work shoes, and others like to wear them out (which is obviously better suited for the warmer months). We have a lot of fun mules slated for this year, which I’m excited for us to share more about soon.”
The obvious benefit of mules is that you can access them without having to sit down,” says style writer Jake Woolf. “For lazy people like me, that’s a big win. When you combine that with some high-end elements like premium leather and maybe a few designer details, it gives mules this sort of casual elegance you can wear however you want (a suit, with shorts, yada yada). It’s like, yeah, these shoes are hand-crafted from alligator leather, but they’re also kind of just slippers.
Birkenstock Boston Clog
If you’re a millennial, there’s a solid chance you remember Birks taking over your middle school years with a vengeance but now the Boston is back—and trendier than ever. The soft suede looks great with everything you pair it with, but the comfort makes the Boston stand out. The footbed will, over time, mold itself to your foot and provide a tailored fit for your foot.
Crocs Echo Clog
Crocs used to have a bad rep but are now seen as—dare I say it—a slightly fashionable choice thanks to the brand’s savvy positioning over the last few years. The Echo clog, in particular, has a bit of fashionability thanks to a striking footbed. And, as with all Crocs, these are so comfortable that you may never want to take them off.
Fear of God California Slip-On Mule
Despite their Golden State namesake, these Fear of God mules are Italian-made, thanks to the super cushioned foam Extra-light material. Easy to slip on and off at home or in the airport, these mules even have a vent to help keep your foot cool on warm days.
Vans Mule Mesh SF
Vans’ take on a mule is a savvy combination of their beloved slip-on with a bit of mesh to make it super breathable and summertime ready. The same support you’re used to having from their slip-ons is also present here, along with the waffle footbed the brand is famous for. It’s a hybrid model that excellently and elegantly pairs what’s great about a Vans sneaker with what’s great about a mule.
Gucci Horsebit Backless Loafers
Gucci’s horsebit loafers are a classic bit of menswear and are, therefore, ubiquitous. So opting for the brand’s horsebit mule is a shrewd way to jump in on the Gucci train while having some personal flair. The cushioned insoles and buttery smooth toe box make these decidedly slipper-like.
Jordan Offline 2.0 Mule
Now and again, Nike finds a new way to surprise me, which is precisely how I felt upon discovering their Offline 2.0 mules. Using a sneaker’s comfort and functionality as a foundation, Nike strips away everything unnecessary. While you do get some exposed toe, there’s still enough structure to make a mule well-worth considering.
Our Legacy Camion Mule
Relatively affordable by Our Legacy standards, the Camion Mule takes the chassis of the super popular Camion boot and makes it into a mule, which means you get all those OL details—the striking buckle, the rounded toe, the slight heel—on a slip-on inside of a boot. These have enough jazz to stand out with any outfit you pair them with.
Wallabee Mule Shoes
You’ve likely noticed that many brands make mules by cutting off the back of an existing shoe silhouette, which is undoubtedly the case with these Clarks Wallabee mules. This makes the mule slightly more accessible, as you’re still working with the fundamental core of what was there before. In this case, you get that striking Wallabee crepe sole—but as a mule instead.
Diemme Maggiore Shearling Mule
Italian bootmaker Diemme offers plenty of elegant hiking boots, so you’d figure they’ve got a good handle on how to make a mule. This shearling-lined option is great for winter but also features a chunky Vibram sole to give a little more traction while walking around. You’ll be warm and supported if you need to venture out to grab something while it’s icy out.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mules
Will my feet slide out of a mule?
There’s not a zero percent chance that will happen, but mules cradle your feet a lot better than you may anticipate! You won’t have the support of a full-heel cup but just think of mules as fancier flip-flops.
What should I wear mules with?
Like a loafer, you can wear a mule with just about any and everything. Some mules are fancier, but you can get away with wearing a mule with, say, a pair of sweats if you want to do so.