On the Hunt for a Great Mule Sandal

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.

mule sandal
Bluish gray mule sandal made of high-quality nubuck by Batana. Goat-skin lining. Non-slip rubber sole: 0.2″. 129 Euros on the Batana website. Also available in natural (brown) leather color.

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.

mule sandal
Closed-front nubuck mule sandals by Batana. Three holes punched in the middle guarantee good air supply to the feet.

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.

mule sandal
This two-tone “loafer” style mule sandal by RAS is made of soft, sueded leather. Heel height: 1.2”. $192 on YOOX. For more details or to buy, click on the picture.

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.


mule sandal
Ocher nubuck open toe mule sandal by Zinda, embellished with tassels and featuring decorative stitching on both edges. 2.93”high two-tone wooden heel with a rubber cleated sole. $201 on YOOX. For more details and sizing, click on the image.

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.

mule sandal
Exotic embroidered textile mule by Vidorreta. Rope toe cap and base, rubber sole. 84.95 Euros on the Vidorreta website.
mule sandal
The embroidered espadrille mule comes in four color variations. 84.95 Euros on the Vidorreta website.

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.

mule sandal
Fleur de Lit” luxury high heel mule sandal from the “Alcazaba” collection by Patricia Rosales. Made to order.

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?


About Me

Ann Mailsi is a writer and social media buff based in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada. Her interests include fashion, technology, and nature adventures.

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