HYPEBEAST has already dissected why loafers are going to be one of 2020’s biggest footwear choices, but what about their often overlooked sibling, the mule? Unlike loafers, mules are backless — or at the very least leave your ankles free. The mule has a vast history, starting life in the 16th century as a shoe that was exclusively used in the bedroom for more than 300 years. At a time when we are forced to self-isolate, a shoe that can be worn around the home but looks just as chic paired with some comfortable trousers is a timely choice.
But the mule is not just convenient this season, it’s also a major player in the footwear department. With mule season approaching, HYPEBEAST has compiled a list of the ten best backless pairs for you to take for a spin this spring.
JW Anderson Felt Loafer Mules
JW Anderson’s Felt Loafer Mules are here to brighten up your spring. The pair is constructed from supple calf leather that is then covered in felt. The bold blue, teal, yellow and green upper contrasts the brown calf Nappa footbed and cork sole unit. A black leather saddle slot that references traditional penny loafers rounds out the unique pair.
Bottega Veneta Supple-Leather Loafers
This luxurious offering from Bottega Veneta shows that sometimes less is more. The pair is expertly crafted by Italian artisans from luxe black leather, and there’s little much else going on aside from a small stacked heel, a tan leather cushioned footbed and an elasticated back. Slip these on and upgrade your fit with a touch of Riviera chic.
Balenciaga Logo-Print Backless Leather Loafers
If branding is your thing, then opt for Balenciaga’s take on the mule. The pair is straight from Balenciaga’s Resort 2020 collection, which looked to upgrade everyday staples. The block branding popularized by Demna Gvaslaia graces the top of each foot in stark white, contrasting the black base. Balenciaga finishes the pair with a contemporary flair, adding a square toe in contrast to a typically rounded look.
1017 ALYX 9SM Rollercoaster-Buckle Leather Clogs
Clogs are having their moment in 2020, and 1017 ALYX 9SM’s take is perhaps the most luxurious way to get your foot into the trend. They feature a thick leather sole and a core 1017 ALYX 9SM design trope — its rollercoaster buckle. As with all of Matthew M. Williams’ designs, the buckle is engraved with signature house detailing, in this case, the only visible branding on the entire shoe.
Martine Rose Python-Embossed Chain-Link Slip-On Shoe
Martine Rose continues to champion the square toe with her python-embossed chain-link slip-ons. As you can see, this pair is not for the faint-hearted — a bold snakeskin look is contrasted with a silver-toned chain that drapes over the throat, for a 1980s mafia mobster look. This pair also has a slight lip at the rear to make sure they’re secured.
Gucci Pericle GG Horsebit Slip-On Shoes
It couldn’t be a mule roundup without an honorable mention from Gucci. This pair is covered in the house’s original interlocking “GG” canvas, and sports a number of traditional design touches such as gold-toned horsebit detailing on the throat. This staple piece of Gucci branding is locked down with a set of brown suede side panels, which match the debossed leather insoles.
TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist. Black OOFOS Edition OOcloog Slip-On Loafers
If you’re looking to exercise minimalism, then look no further than this offering from TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist. This pair is developed in collaboration with OOFOS, which develops biomechanically engineered footbeds that aim to soothe pains after working out. But we love this pair for its all-black aesthetic, the subtle signature branding and its on-trend shape — 1017 ALYX 9SM isn’t the only brand tapping clogs this season.
John Elliott x SUICOKE Beige Shearling Zavo Loafers
John Elliott’s longstanding relationship with SUICOKE has produced many standout shoes, most of which have sold out instantly. However, there’s still a chance to cozy up in this pair of beige shearling Zavo loafers. These slip-ons sport a round toe, plenty of shearling encompassing the foot, and a muted palette — making for an easy-to-wear pair in all situations.
Our Legacy Mule Slip-On Black
Our Legacy is here to switch up your SS20 rotation with its take on the mule. These shoes combine luxurious Italian leather with a Vibram Westerner outsole and a generous Cuban heel. Staying true to its contemporary Swedish vision, Our Legacy finishes the pair with a fluted throat, minimalistic branding, a snipped toe and a center seam.
Louis Vuitton Mirabeau Mules
For those who are looking for the most luxurious mule around, check out the Mirabeau from Louis Vuitton. Its four-figure price tag is warranted thanks to its precious alligator leather construction, which is coupled to a premium smooth leather footbed. Gold-toned branding sits proudly atop the alligator crossover straps, making this pair stand out even more.