Mule shoes have a closed toe and no back. Mules are also called slip-on shoes because their completely backless styling allows the feet to just slide into them. There are many different types of mule shoes, from sporty to dressy styles for both men and women.
Men's dressier mules are usually a neutral color with a dress loafer style of front. The toe may be rounded or have a slight point. Women's dressy mule shoes may be floral patterned, glittery, metallic, or made of shiny leather. Some women's dress mules are made of velvet or other plush fabrics.
Casual mules may be made of canvas and styled like a sneaker without laces. The soles are often thick rubber that is contoured to fit the feet. These informal types of mules are popular for casual looks with jeans, shorts, or exercise wear.
Mule shoes should have a wide, rounded toe box area to allow the toes enough room to sit comfortably without feeling crammed. Heels should fit within the edge of the open back. If they don't, the mule is too small. Not only will an overhanging heel look unflattering in the mule, the shoe's edge could dig uncomfortably into the bottom of the foot.
Mule styles of slippers are designed for wearing around the house rather than outdoors. They often have rubber souls and are made in both adult and children's sizes. Mule house slippers are especially popular in summer, since the open heel allows some air to reach the feet. Winter mule slippers may be made of suede and feature real or faux fur trim as well as warm sheep's wool lining.
Chunky wood heeled mule shoes are called clogs. Clogs, with their wood heel and leather or synthetic upper, were inspired by traditional Dutch wooden shoes. Dutch wooden shoes are all wood and also classified as mules since the tops are closed and the backs are open. The wood and leather clog mules were popularly worn with some of the fashions of the 1960s and 1970s.
In the early 2000s, the clog evolved into a trendy non-wood style thanks to the Crocs™ company founded by George B. Boedecker Jr. Crocs™ mule shoes are made of a soft plastic, or resin, and are available in a rainbow of colors. They are worn by both adults and children. The flexible plastic and easy slip-on appeal have made Crocs™ mules popular to wear by many people when gardening, on a boat, or at the beach.