Mules – set those heels free!

Alexander Wang calf hair mules

You just can’t keep a great trend down, which is why mules are back on the runways this spring. Having cropped up in one form or another every few decades throughout the 20th century, mules have proven themselves to be a classic structure that can be applied to just about any style or occasion.

Essentially a backless shoe with a high vamp (the front part of the shoe), you could consider mules to be the sleek, sexy cousin of the clog. In fact, the Scandinavian clogs popularized during the 70s were themselves a variant of mules.

Some industry-watchers have labeled the re-emergence of mules as another 90s throwback, and while that’s certainly true in part, it also overlooks the extreme diversity that mules offer. Even in the 90s they were available in a wide assortment of colors and styles – I myself owned several pair, including some kitten heels in silver, which I wore until they fell apart. Today the variety of mules is even larger; slippers to wedges, heels to platforms, and buckles to jewels to laser cut leather… there’s something for everyone, anywhere, anytime.

Aldo ice blue Acaren mules

Because of their unusual structure, mules do pose some unique benefits and challenges. On the plus side, they’re a great way to give your heels a rest. Wearing most shoes without socks or hosiery – especially in hot weather – can cause friction and blisters. But mules’ backless design leaves your heels free and clear. As an added bonus, they’re easy to kick off should you want to go barefoot for a spell.

That said, the lack of back strap can make mules tricky to keep on, particularly if you have narrower feet. With many shoes, it’s not uncommon for women to “tough it out” and wear something a size or two too big now and then, but with mules this just isn’t an option. It’s either a perfect fit, or a day of scrambling after your wayward footwear. While you may have a easier time if you have wider feet, you still want to make sure they fit snugly.

Ladylike or casual, dresses or jeans, mules can be a great addition to most any part of your rotation. I’ve assembled some of my favorites here, including the Alexander Wang and Aldo mules featured above.

$285 at Tory Burch

$925 at Saks 5th Avenue

$795 at Shoescribe

$155 at Nasty Gal

$155 $108.50 at Nasty Gal

$795 $357.75 at The Outnet

$298 at Zappos Couture

$100 at Aldo

Alexander Wang Glossed-leather mules
$525 at Net-A-Porter

$950 at Shoescribe

$110 $98.99 at Zappos

$440 at Shoescribe

$445 at Zappos Couture
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