One of the most common questions asked by people shopping for women’s clogs and mules is what is the difference between them? The question is further confounded by the addition of another category of shoes, the slide. In this article we discuss the differences and similarities of each style of women’s footwear.
All three categories are grouped together by one common feature, namely the absence of a back to the shoe and no straps to hold them on. This makes slides, clogs, and mules a convenient shoe if you are taking of and putting on your shoes regularly but it does change the way you walk making them less ideal if you plan to be walking long distances.
The biggest differences clogs and mules actually lie in their origin. Clogs originated in the Netherlands and can be thought of as a closed toe wooden sole shoe with a low to medium heel, and no back. Clogs were worn by the working class and factory workers in centuries past. Conversely, the mule originated in France around the same time. However, instead of a wide shallow heel, they had a high heel modeled after rome’s calceus mulleus. Mules were worn typically by the aristocracy until it became common dresswoear of sex workers and lost its reputation for centuries.
From their origins, the key distinction between clogs and mules was the setting in which they were worn. Mules were dressy and clogs were for workers. Today, because the class system is very different, the distinction is more blurred, but occasion does remain the primary way by which the styles are distinguished. A manufacturer will likely name the shoe a clog or a mule depending on their target audience. If targeting casual less formal looks, it will likely be named a clog while a dressier, high fashion, or business oriented shoe would be named a mule. Additionally, you will find shoes with a higher heel more frequently classified as a mule and shoes with a shallow or very wide heel classified as a clog.
So while functionally, there is little distinction between clogs and mules, how do these compare with slides? The big difference is that a slide also has an open toe. Mules and Clogs collectively have no back and completely closed toes, while slides have an open back, any type of heel, but have an open toe. Unless you know this distinction, you would not be able to tell the difference between slides, clogs, and mules, and unless having an open toe is a key feature in your decision, it is also a good idea to browse through the slides category when searching for a pair of shoes.
In conclusion, when shopping for women’s clogs, mules, or slides, it is generally a good idea to take some extra time to browse through all three categories as the distinctions are too small to affect the decision of most modern shoppers.