Friday, August 14, 2015

Why Are Backless Shoes Called Mules?

Why Are Backless Shoes Called Mules?

A lot of us probably assume that the term "mules" for shoes somehow relates to the animal. You know, the offspring of a horse and a donkey, although what could possibly be the connection? Actually, there is none. The term is not associated with the animal.

Reddish Purple Ceremonial Shoe

    The word "mule" in regard to shoes probably comes from the Middle Dutch word "muil," which is derived from the Latin word "mulleus," for reddish-purple ceremonial shoes, according to The red or purple shoe that is being referred to was worn by the important, high-ranking people in Rome. Mulleus calceus means red shoe. In ancient Rome, the senators wore red shoes.

The Shape

    A mulleus was a ceremonial shoe constructed of red leather, according to The expression "mule" was later used to describe the shape, not the color or material, of the shoe. Men and women both wore mule shoes, with heels, during the Baroque Period (1680 through 1720).


    Shoes actually conveyed status because the shoes that you wore, particularly mules, implied that you lived a life of luxury. Obviously, working men and women couldn't wear mules because they would slip off. Those individuals who didn't have to work, displayed their privilege and easy-going lifestyle by wearing backless shoes.

Different From a Clog

    A mule is a slipper or shoe that doesn't have a heel. A mule differs from clogs in that the clog has a platform-type of heel. The soles are sturdy and thick, according to Clogs are sometimes called mules although the difference in the two types of shoes is found in the heels and soles. Mules can sport any kind of heel, including a kitten heel or stiletto, but clogs don't.


    A mule shoe is backless, convenient, comfortable and becoming popular with men. Mules can be elegant or casual as well as sporty. Mules can have low or high heels or chunky heels. As long as the back is open, they fall into the mule category.

A Slide

    In the 1990s, the "slide," another kind of shoe, evolved from the mule. The slide has an open toe. If you can slide your foot into a shoe, it is a mule, except when it is a clog or a slide.


    Mules are generally closed-toed but can be open-toed, although some would argue that that transforms them into a slide. Mules are available in a variety of materials. Some mule styles are delicate, whereas others are clunky. The toes can be round or pointy. Mules are now popular because they are convenient. You don't have to tie laces or fiddle with buckles. Mules are versatile and can be worn informally or formally.

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