Many fashion trends are hard to explain. Who knows why certain fashions become popular when they’re often unmoored from whatever else is happening. But the ascendant popularity of men’s mules makes sense right now. Because bending down to properly fit your shoe to your foot is so two years ago.
Modern men’s fashion is all about comfort, from the latest athleisure brands to comfortable T-shirts and dad shoes. These popular slip-on shoes aren’t just about comfort, however. The best mules can also be a stylish addition to casual and formal outfits, and there are a ton of stylish mules to choose from in 2022.
Keep scrolling to see the best mules for men to wear right now, with a wide range of options from Adidas and Birkenstock to Gucci and Balenciaga.
What Are Mules? They’re the Perfect Hybrid Shoes
The best mules have been a closet staple for women for a long time, but men are finally catching up to the appeal of this laid-back style. When many of us spent more time at home, there was a real value to shoes that were versatile enough to wear around the house and on a daily sanity walk. Now, we don’t want to give up our comfy slip-ons, and so men’s mules are here to stay.
So what are mules? This hybrid shoe style is halfway between a full clog and sandals. They feature a closed toe but an open heel, and with rare exceptions, there are no laces or straps to keep your feet in place. The best mules can be made from anything: leather, suede, rubber, textiles and synthetic materials.
Mules for men have been growing in popularity for a while now, and many of the most popular options today arguably draw their inspiration from three shoes in particular, which have spearheaded the popularity of the style — the Birkenstock Boston, the Gucci Horsebit backless loafer and the Crocs Clog.
The Birkenstock Boston is a stylish, hippie-ish shoe made of suede with a comfortable cork footbed. On the dressier end, Gucci’s iconic horse-bit loafer has gotten a louche upgrade in the form of a backless style, a look that’s simultaneously so luxurious and so casual that it feels like the kind of shoe you’d wear in a suite at the Chateau Marmont. Finally, there’s the dark horse of the bunch, Crocs, which are technically considered clogs, a close cousin of the mule. They’re a decidedly ugly shoe that’s gained a remarkable amount of fashion clout. All of these shoes radically diverge in design, yet they all have comfort in common.
Much like the animal it shares a name with, the mule is an interesting hybrid of two different things. Many men’s mules combine traditional outdoor shoe styles with details from house slippers. The best mules for men will be made from luxurious materials like leather, making it impossible not to want to wear them outside the house. And because men’s sneakers are still dominant, you can find backless takes on popular styles from brands like Adidas and Vans. As great as these shoes are around the house, they’ll be even better for every casual hang.
The Best Mules for Men
We scoured the web to bring you some of our favorite men’s mules you can buy online, with styles and prices to suit everyone. From $30 sports slippers to designer mules you can wear to the office, we’ve got you (half) covered.
1. Birkenstock Boston Soft Footbed
If you buy a single mule, make it the Birkenstock Boston. It may be a little adventurous if you were raised on a fashion diet of simple sneakers and dressy boots, but the Boston is enough of a classic that you’ll be able to work it into your wardrobe — it wears well with jeans, work pants, and it can be worn with shorts, too. This shoe has a soft cork footbed and a supple suede upper. You can also choose leather options.
2. Greats The Foster Slipper
Greats built their brand by making the kinds of sneakers you could wear with a suit, but they just so happen to make one of the best casual slippers. The Foster slipper is a stylish option with a nylon upper and a thick rubber sole. It’s built for indoor wear, but it’s also a great option to wear around town. True to their commitment to sustainability, the upper is made from recycled nylon, and the sole is made from natural rubber.
3. Malibu Sandals Colony Classic Mule
A mule is a casual shoe, but this might be the most laidback option on this list. The woven upper makes it breathable, while the thick crepe sole provides cushioning and comfort for a day on the move. Or ideally, a day spent doing nothing at all. It’s a good option if you want a leather-like shoe that isn’t leather because it’s made from nylon, making it one of the best vegan shoes to buy.
4. Our Legacy Buckle Detail Slip-on Shoes
We never thought to ask, “What kind of mules would a cowboy wear?” But now we have our answer, and it’s very stylish. Our Legacy has consistently been one of the most interesting brands in the streetwear world, in part because the brand makes clothes that are fashion-forward but still wearable. Pair these with Wrangler dress pants and a tucked-in T-shirt, and you’ve got a winning outfit.
5. Nike Offline 3.0 Mules
BEST FOR COLD FLOORS
These Nike mules are weird in the best way possible. The upper has a quilted design similar to a bomber jacket and comfortable soles. They’re called “Offline,” so they’re ideal for lounging around on the couch or padding around the apartment.
6. Wallabee Chukka Mule
MOST ON TREND
The Wallabee is a classic style in Clarks’ repertoire. The unusual silhouette has enjoyed a renaissance among the street style set, much like the desert boot was popular among the selvedge jean and flannel crowd. This already odd shoe is made even more unusual with a chunky crepe sole and a backless design. The more laidback they’re styled, the better.
7. Gucci Elea Slip-On Mules
We love these Gucci slippers, but good luck finding the red colorway pictured below in stock. Fortunately, the Gucci Elea Slippers also come in Black and Mystic White, which is much easier to find. These designer mules have a rubber upper and sole, and the iconic Gucci symbol is perforated on the upper. They’re not as expensive as you might think, and you can order these shoes for under $500 — while they’re in stock!
8. Vince Alonzo Suede Slippers
Last year, SPY included Vince’s stylish Alonzo 2 suede slippers in our guide to the best men’s mules of 2021, but this year we’re featuring the brand’s original Alonzo slippers instead. These slippers from Vince come in a few different shades of suede.
9. Vans Checkerboard Slip-on Mule
Speaking of Vans, there’s a good chance that if you own canvas sneakers, you sometimes step on the backs to wear them instead of actually slipping them on. This mule from Vans makes it easier by doing away with the back of the shoe entirely. Vans also makes mule versions of their other iconic sneakers like the Authentic and the Old Skool. It’s worth noting that these are unisex, so the sizing is limited in larger men’s sizes.
10. Crocs Classic Clog
However you feel about them, it’s clear that Crocs are here to stay. For the record: We love our Crocs here at SPY. The best part about these clogs is that they allow you to show off your personality. You can choose your favorite color, a fun tie-dye pattern or use Crocs Jibbitz charms to decorate your footwear. Unlike most of the shoes on this list, these have an ankle strap for added support.
Read More: Our Favorite Crocs for 2022
11. The North Face Men’s ThermoBall Traction V Mules
The North Face’s mules have a cult following, offering the perfect blend of affordability, everyday comfort and style. They look like a puffer coat for your feet (and they basically are) and come in a bunch of stylish colors. The upper is made from the company’s ThermoBall Eco insulation, and the outsoles are made with high-traction rubber. That means these mules are rugged enough to take on camping trips and other outdoor adventures. Plus, they look cool.
12. Gucci Horsebit Leather Backless Loafers
Gucci’s backless loafers are comically expensive, but they’re likely to be the most luxurious shoes you’ll own. And that’s even more impressive, considering they’re basically house shoes. They feature a small heel with the classic horse-bit design across the top that Gucci has used on loafers for decades. They come in black with gold accents.
13. Balenciaga Track Mule Sneakers
BEST HIGH FASHION
Want to turn heads with your footwear? Then you’ll want to splurge on these designer mules from Balenciaga, which recently surpassed Gucci as the new “it” luxury brand. The Balenciaga Track Mule Sneakers are unlike any other mules, and they’ll earn you fashion points and double takes wherever you go. They’re as expensive as you expect, but if you want only the best mules for your feet, head to Saks Fifth Avenue ASAP.
14. Adidas Adilette Clog
Classic Adidas sports slides inspired the Adilette Clogs, and they have a contoured EVA footbed that will conform to your foot shape over time. The colorful upper features perforations for added breathability, and these sports-inspired clogs are perfect for summer days on the boat, beach or dock. We love the bright blue colorway pictured below, but the black-and-white colorway is also striking.
15. Sperry Hemp Moc-Slider Mules for Men
BEST RESORT WEAR
Resort wear for men is more popular than ever before. We love these super casual mules from Sperry, which feature a hemp-based upper and soft terry cloth inner lining for added comfort. Best of all, the EVA outsole ensures that these mules will only become more comfortable as time goes on.
16. KOIO Fuori Mules
Cool, comfortable and luxurious. What more could you need? The KOIO Fuori Mules should be on everyone’s shoe rack right now. These mules are handcrafted in Italy from a soft, handsome-looking suede everybody will look good in. Each mule has a cushioned footbed that morphs to your sole over time. A top buckle completes them for added fashion.
17. Deer Stags Winston Mules
BEST CAMO PRINT
Camo isn’t going out of style anytime soon, and you can find these super-affordable slip-on shoes for men at Zappos. These mules come in other colors, but we love the camo print. Don’t let the low price tag fool you — these men’s mules are made from genuine leather.
18. Vince Geo-M Mule
BEST RUBBER SHOE
Upscale but laidback defines the Vince brand, and these shoes fit that vibe perfectly. The shoes are made from a synthetic upper with a rubber sole and have a slot on the side for breathability. They’re available in black, tan or olive green. Do they look a bit like nurse shoes? Yes, but in a surprisingly cool way.
19. FitFlop SHUV Leather Mules
With three layers of cushioning at the bottom, the SHUV Leather Mules are some of the most comfortable. But once you slip them on, you’re unlikely to want to take them off. At the toes, expect medium support to help you push off when you walk; in the middle, you’ll feel a soft material to maximize coziness; at the heel, your foot will experience a firmer cushioning for impact. Not only that, but these leather mules are seriously good-looking. They come in a deep black and look as if they were sculpted by hand.