The Iconic Mule Slipper

The Mule Slipper is an ideal style for lounging with its easy slip on and off design and comfy inner linings. Here at Shu Da we love our cozy Helena Mule Slippers, featuring a cosy recycled faux fur sock lining. But where does the mule slipper and shoe style originate from, and what makes it such an iconic design today?

Ancient Rome

The mule slipper has a lengthy history attached to it. Originating from Ancient Rome, the name 'Mule' comes from the term ‘mulleus calceus’, describing a red-purple ceremonial shoe which was traditionally worn only by high magistrates at the time.

1700s

Fast-forward to the 1700s, where the mule was becoming more of a fashion item. In this era, mules were typically seen as indoor shoes, worn by men and women, and by the end of the 1720s, the mule was the most popular style of indoor slipper.

However, by the end of the century, the mule was being worn more in public, as opposed to just being resigned to a bedroom slipper. It was typically worn by wealthy French women, and the mules were highly adorned with embroidery and detailing. They were so popular that even the French King, Louis XIV wore them.

1800s

Moving into the 1800s, mule shoes were coming into their own, with heeled mules becoming more popular as an indoor and outdoor shoe worn by women of high society. With its backless design, the mule was considered a highly impractical shoe style as it was difficult to wear and walk in without it slipping off. Because of this, mules were no good to be worn by tradesmen of the time, so they were recognized as a shoe only worn by high society.

1900s

The heeled mule became popular again in the 1950s, with its ability to make the leg look longer, but still allowing the wearer to be comfortable. Marilyn Monroe was often photographed wearing a fluffy heeled mule. The designer Beth Levine, invented the ‘Springolater’, a band of elastic material which supported the foot in the mule and prevented it from slipping off. This revolutionized the mule style, and Beth Levine lent her name to the shoe, continuing to design flattering mule styles for women.

 

Sources

The history of the mules with heels, their origins and their history (zoccolimania.it)

Fashion Archives: A Look at the History of Mules (startupfashion.com)


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