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15 Stylish Pairs of Mules That Don’t Look Like House Slippers

At long last, backless shoes are enjoying a moment in the sun.

Mules by Hender Scheme, Marsell, Carmina and Jil Sander x Birkenstock Canoe Club, Farfetch, Carmina, Neiman Marcus

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The mule has waited a longtime for its coming out party.

The backless shoe dates back to Roman times, when it was worn by debating senators and known as a mulleus calceus, from which we derive the word “mule” today. But it was strictly reserved for indoor wear throughout most of its history, rendering it omnipresent yet invisible.

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that mules began to step outside, thanks largely to post-war designers and the starlets they catered to. Today, the style feels particularly relevant to all genders, closing the gap between open-toe sandals and traditional footwear.

This season’s seen a bumper crop of mules, which have taken the form of everything from a riff on espadrilles by Frescobol Carioca to tassel loafer hybrids by Carmina and a slightly futuristic laser-cut version courtesy of Maison Margiela. We guarantee that there’s at least one mule that meshes with your personal style below—and perhaps a whole lot more than that.

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