One of the best things about fall is the transitional dressing. While it’s not too cold yet, we’re no longer in sandal season. On the hunt for a pair of shoes to wear in between the seasonal shift? Consider a mule. The classic shoe has been given new life this year, complete with fresh takes by designers at all different price points. Great for the office, a date night, and pretty much anything in between, these versatile shoes can be styled in a ton of ways. Mules and a pair of jeans? Love it. Mules and casual suiting? Sign us up. Whether you’re into a classic flat mule look or a fun kitten-heeled option, there are plenty of pairs on this list to choose from.
Keep reading to discover the best mules of 2022.
Best Overall: Vince Camuto Palulli Mule
As far as style, comfort, and price are concerned, the Palulli Mule from Vince Camuto is the best of the best. The leather mules feature a ballet flat-esque design—complete with a charming bow accent and tapered almond toe—that looks polished without being stuffy. And, thanks to a lightly padded footbed and true-to-size fit, the slip-ons support feet during wear. Best of all, this style doesn’t require you to dish out the big bucks in the name of fashion; both black and brown shades pair with blue jeans and a white button-down just as well as a LBD.
Price at time of publish: $70
Material: Leather, synthetics | Size Range: 6-11 | Colors: Brown, black
Best Budget: The Drop Women's Jordan Pointed Toe Block-Heel Mule
Amazon’s The Drop has become a go-to for affordable fashion basics, so it should come as no surprise that the retailer’s Jordan Pointed Toe Block-Heel Mule sits at the intersection of accessibility and fashion. Available in black, white, and cognac, you’ll want to snag a pointed-toe block heel mule in every color. These mules look almost like booties—except without a back—making them an ideal autumnal staple.
Price at time of publish: $50
Material: Faux leather, synthetics | Size Range: 5-12 | Colors: Black, white, cognac
Best Flat: Birdies The Swan
By definition, mules don’t need to be flat, but those in search of something comfortable enough for all-day wear might want to steer clear of heeled options. These pointed-toe slides from Birdie are made from lightweight suede, which looks super luxe and feels like it, too. The rubber soles ensure no slips happen both inside and outside, and each footbed has seven layers of ”cloud-like comfort,” according to the brand. Plus, with such a wide variety of colorways to choose from (including stunning seasonal styles like the Emerald Crystal Bracelet), you’ll never want to take these off.
Price at time of publish: $120
Material: Suede, rubber | Size Range: 5-12 | Colors: Black, cheetah, gold, 10 seasonal
Best Heeled: Marc Fisher Hadais Mule
If a pair of shoes could be an “it” girl, then the Hadais mules would be her. These suede mules are a favorite because of their pointed toe and femme fatale vibe. They come in a trendy green and a pretty white, making them an excellent choice for someone who wants to add a pop of color to their fall ’fit or a blushing bride-to-be. Customers rave about how surprisingly comfortable they are. In fact, one reviewer even shared that they were some of the “most comfortable heels” she’s ever worn. Note: Go up half a size if your feet are on the wider side.
Price at time of publish: $70
Material: 100% sheep leather | Size Range: 35-42 EU (5-12 US) | Colors: Green, white, black, multi
Best Pointed Toe: Dolce Vita Parez Mules
Upgrade your fall looks with the Parez Mules from Dolce Vita. The squared-off design, slip-on silhouette, and sleek pointed toe create a versatile, neutral shoe that can be worn pretty much everywhere. They come in three leathery colorways, including black, cream, and tan, so you should have no problem adding them to your autumn shoe rotation.
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: Leather, synthetic | Size Range: 5-13 | Colors: Black, cream, tan
Best Square Toe: Vagabond Eyra Mules
Lovers of contemporary fashion, rejoice. These minimalist slip-on mules from Vagabond are made with black leather and feature a sharp square toe that is unlike any other mules on the market. You can expect a comfortable fit, tons of compliments, and a smile or two when you peek down at your ultra-modern mules.
Price at time of publish: $160
Material: Leather, Tencel, cotton | Size Range: 36-41 (6-11 US) | Colors: Black, off white
Best Classic: Sam Edelman Linnie Bit Mule
When you think of mules, this is probably the style that comes to mind. Though we’re all for a fun take, sometimes there’s nothing like a classic. Easy to wear, easy to pair, and always chic, these versatile backless mules can be amped up or dressed down all season long. The shoe features horse-bit hardware in the center to keep things interesting and an almond-toe shape rounding the front. Plus, if plain black leather isn’t your thing, there are 18 different colors, textures, and patterns to choose from—just be sure to choose a half-size smaller than your normal size to get a perfect fit.
Price at time of publish: $140
Material: Rubber | Size Range: 4-14 | Colors: 18, including black, white, brown, gold, and various finishes
Best Chunky: Gucci GG Slip-on Sandal
Even with the price tag, this mule has been a favorite all year thanks to the platform, which adds a touch of ’90s nostalgia. Though the classic Gucci mules are timeless, if you’re looking for something a little more trendy and don’t mind splurging, this lug sole iteration can’t be beat. At a height of a little over 2 inches, these mules aren’t exactly heeled, but the chunky style is sure to elevate whatever you style it with.
Price at time of publish: $550
Material: Rubber | Size Range: 34-42 EU (4-12 US) | Colors: Black, brown, cream, peach
Best Statement: Kendall Miles Posh Mule
In an ultra-femme yet retro silhouette, the Posh Mule by Kendall Miles brings a mule to new heights. The bright colorways and fluffy ostrich feathers provide an unapologetic flare, while the satin finish and pointed toe look classy and elegant. Whether you have a milestone birthday, a holiday gala, or a wedding party coming up, these are the shoes to wear.
Price at time of publish: $495
Material: Leather, satin, ostrich feathers | Size Range: 36-43 IT (5-13 US) | Colors: 7, including pink, green, yellow, blue, and more
Best Vegan Leather: Birkenstock Vegan Leather Birkibuc Boston Clogs
If you’re in the market for a leather-free mule option, then this classic shape from Birkenstock might be the best for you. You know you’re getting the comfort and durability of this tried-and-true clog style without involving any actual animals. Plus, different widths are available, so you can shop for the size that’s right for you.
Price at time of publish: $120
Material: Vegan leather | Size Range: 4-12, Narrow and Wide available | Colors: Black, tan
What to Look for in Mules
Since there are so many variations of mules available, it’s important to consider how often you’ll wear them. Sure, there are plenty of heel types and toe styles, but what matters most is how much use you’ll get out of the pair you buy. While showstopping color and design (like the Kendall Miles Posh Mule) are fun for a big event, consider a more practical pair, like the Vince Camuto Palulli Mule, if you plan on wearing them often.
As with most things (but especially shoes), quality is key. To ensure your mules are of the utmost quality, read labels to find out what material they’re made of. Materials like genuine leather will last a lifetime, whereas certain fabrics like cotton and synthetics will likely give after a season or two of consistent wear.
Comfort is also really important. If the shoes are too painful to wear, then what’s the point? Make sure you check out the accompanying shoe size conversion charts if the pair you’re eyeing is in international sizes to avoid ill-fitting shoes. That said, it’s not always possible to try on shoes before buying them, but it’s the best way to find out the right size.
What are mules?
Once popular in the French court, mules—a type of shoe with a closed toe and an open back that exposes the heel and the back half of the foot—have made their way from aristocracy to street style. Stylist Julia Gudova says that nowadays, the shape of mules can be varied. “Whether low- or high-heeled, closed- or open-toed, there are plenty of options available,” she explains. You can likely find a mule with a heel and toe shape that you love and are most comfortable with.
How do you style mules?
Mules can be styled in a multitude of ways, like with jeans, skirts, and dresses. “Mules can be casual, dressy, sporty, or formal,” Gudova notes. “For special occasions, I love wearing pointy-toe satin mules with pompoms,” she adds.
Why Trust Byrdie
Mallori Albright is a freelance writer for Byrdie based in NYC. Byrdie commerce writer Caitlyn Martyn has experience writing fashion and beauty content. A shoe-lover herself, Caitlyn is always looking for the latest additions to her closet. She hand-picked all of the shoes on this list and has several pairs from brands like Dolce Vita, Vagabond, and Sam Edelman.