To Mule or Not to Mule?

2013 was a year of controversial shoes. 2013 saw the return of Birkenstocks, the persistence of flatforms and the why-won’t-you-go-away wedge sneaker. Ardent advocates, zealots and haters came out in numbers to share their thoughts on the hottest footwear of the season. However, no shoe regardless of how maligned created a comeback quite as big as the mule in spring 2014 collections.

Much like its mammal namesake, the mule is a hybrid of two different shoes, fusing the high heel of a pump with the open back of a slipper. Over the years the mule has been the favored heel of popes and pop stars alike. Once gracing the feet of ancient Egyptian queens and ladies of the French court, the mule is now synonymous with Hollywood starlets such as Marilyn Monroe. The mule of the ‘50s was dainty and oft feather-pompom adorned.

Despite their rich history the mule faced heavy adversity when they first started reappearing on runway collections back in 2012. Former Paris Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld condemned the shoes as a fashion blunder, really letting ‘er rip.

“I hate mules. I hate the noise when someone walks with mules. Clomp, clomp, clomp. I think it’s very not chic.”

Many on the mule opposition cite the impracticality of walking in a shoe without a secured heel. Also an overall distaste for the aesthetics.

However, after this spring’s runway collections there is no longer any denying that similar to its barnyard counterpart, the mule is stubborn, and despite vehement resistance, isn’t going anywhere soon. The shoe found its way onto Celine, Chloe, The Row, and Altuzarra runways.

This season’s mule is modernized with a higher vamp that offers improved stability, and even the dreaded clomp, clomp, clomp is eliminated. Technology!

The more covered versions are less girly and less dainty, the higher heel feels cooler, sleeker, and more modern. These spring stunners are fresh, young and truly chic. Best worn with just below the knee skirts and dresses or heck, even cropped pants, they look flirty, fun and carefree. They have the support of the young (Ashley Olsen) and the older (Anna Wintour). Mademoiselle C recently said that she loved them.

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