The mule sandal has made it as a hot street style fashion item for a few seasons now. A mule sandal is where the desire for extreme ease and lounging meets style.
Mules are usually closed in the front, but not always. A mule sandal has been used as a house slipper since forever, especially in hot countries of North Africa and the Middle East. In France, they are referred to as “babouche” (“babucha” in Spanish). The word itself originates in Turkey, where people use a wide range of mule sandals, from humble to extravagantly embellished. They are definitely tempting as easy slip-ons that are also on the covers of a lot of fashion magazines. My concern is the lack of ankle support. Can you really relax wearing them? The fact that they have been in use for such a long time speaks in favor of “yes“. Manolo Blahnik, THE guru of chic high-end shoes, apparently loves the way women walk in mules. Just think of the famous Madame de Pompadour, a French aristocrat, and Louis the XV‘s chief mistress, gracefully moving around in them at the palace of Versailles.
Some foot pain specialists argue for “no“, especially what concerns heeled mules. Well, the only way to find out is to try them out for ourselves. To help with that, here is a line-up of fashion mules made and designed in Spain.
This sandal has a classic closed-front mule sandal profile, with the characteristic slits in the front, which make it easier to slide your foot in. The nubuck is very soft and smooth – must be a pleasure to touch. Even from the picture, I can tell that the leather, both inside and outside, is of high quality. I really appreciate the rustic touch too.
Batana is a new brand for me and so far I like what I’m seeing. They also make nice leather bags and very cool-looking espadrilles. As far as I could tell, they don’t yet deliver to North America. Too bad, I hope this changes soon.
This chic mule sandal is by RAS, a brand that is mentioned a lot on this blog, especially recently. Clicking on the image will get you to the YOOX product page, where you can see other color options and available sizes. Full disclosure: this blog is affiliated with YOOX, which means that the Spanishoegallery Blog earns a small (3%) commission if you end up buying a pair of shoes after clicking on the product picture in the post or in our sidebar carousel sliders. By doing that you are supporting this completely independent project.
Zinda actually means “being alive” in Hindu and the shoes live up to the brand’s name. They stand out because of their vivid colors and carefully crafted details. The Elche-based brand started out as a small family enterprise many decades ago and gradually evolved into an internationally recognized Spanish fashion footwear brand. I love the warm ocher color and the glossy wood of the layered heel. The heel must make a pretty loud noise though, especially if you are walking on hardwood or laminated floors, so spare your neighbors below and don’t walk around in them at home. This is actually true for all mule sandals, especially those with higher heels. Because there is nothing holding the heel in place, you are relying solely on your balance to move softly and let’s face it: not many of us walk around like little kittens.
Vidorreta, an espadrille brand based in La Rioja, in the well-known espadrille making village of Cervera del Rio Alhama, took the Middle-Eastern inspiration very much to heart when designing this flashy mule sandal. I love the intricate embroideries, which, even though machine-made, evoke fantastic tales of flying carpets, beautiful princesses, and wicked magicians. The newly revamped brand website delivers worldwide.
Patricia Rosales is a young Andalusian-born designer, now transplanted to Madrid. In the last few years, she has become an extremely sought after custom shoe designer for celebrities and other high-profile fashionistas. Her designs are not just luxurious, but opulent and theatrical, which is exactly what her clients, who reportedly include Madonna, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga, want. Again, Madame de Pompadour comes to mind. Something tells me that she would snap this extremely seductive “Fleur de Lit” mule sandal up and happily wear it around the French court. Click-clack, click-clack. And no one would have minded, we can be assured of that.
I’m a still bit on the fence in terms of the mule sandal, but the “loafer” style RAS sandal above is very tempting. It would inject a nice dose of strong, noble colors into semi-formal office wear. For example, a mule sandal works very well with wide bottom pants. What do you think of mules?