Just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean you have to pack away all your sandals away and fill your wardrobe with nothing but closed-toe loafers and warm boots. Instead, enjoy this transitional time with a pair of mules that will keep your feet not too warm and not too cold, but rather just right. Add in some heels with arch support—something not mules have, BTW—and that slide-on silhouette is equal parts convenient and comfortable.
To help you slide into the trend (see what we did there?) with a lil' arch support, we tapped nationally-renowned podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab Member, Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, who knows a good pair of mules when she sees 'em. Her tips plus our picks, below.
- Jackie Sutera, DPM, podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab
The best mules with arch support, at a glance
- Everlane The Puffa Clog ($165)
- Vionic The Georgie Mule ($140)
- Sam Edelman Linnie Bit Mule ($140)
- Circus NY Elena Mule ($90)
- Birdies The Swan Mules ($140)
- Cole Haan Piper Mule ($100)
- Crocs Crush Clog ($65)
- Sanuk We Got Your Back ST Surfrider ($65)
- Dansko Bel Black Oiled Pull Up Mules ($140)
- UIN, Slip On Mules ($80)
- Dansko, Lexie Mules ($130)
How to find mules with arch support
When it comes to finding a pair of foot-friendly mules (or clogs—anything closed-toe shoe with an open heel, really), Dr. Sutera says that you want to look for a Goldilocks fit. “Too tight can cause pain or blisters, too loose and they can slip off your feet or you can trip and fall,” she explains." Shoes should fit just right. Look for mules that feel snug and comfortable in the toe box and the insole.”
Speaking of toe boxes, Dr. Sutera says to opt for mules that mirror that natural shape of your forefoot with either a rounded or squared toe. (If you absolutely can’t resist pointed options, consider going up a half size to prevent your toes from getting squished). Additionally, she says to be mindful of just how flat they are. “Not all flats are created equally—some shoes are also too flat,” she says. “Ideally, mules should have a little chunky heel, cushioned insoles, and [built-in] arch support.”
If they do have an elevated heel, Dr. Sutera says to keep them modest if comfort is your main concern. “Chunky heels are more stable and foot-friendly over pumps,” she says. “And a stacked heel that's under two inches will help distribute body weight across a greater surface area versus a skinny heel.”
Last but not least, Sutera says to be mindful of the overall feel of the shoes. You'll want your mules to be soft and supple to avoid any rubbing or stiffness, as these can cause unpleasant side effects like corns, calluses, blisters, and ingrown toenails. Especially if you already have bunions or hammertoes, make sure your mule's material is forgiving.
Are mules bad for plantar fasciitis?
“Plantar fasciitis is a common condition characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes,” says Dr. Yolanda Ragland, a board-certified podiatrist. “People with plantar fasciitis often experience sharp heel pain, particularly in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest.” With this in mind, it’s absolutely necessary that those with plantar fasciitis wear shoes that are comfortable and supportive—but, are mules the right choice?
While some mules can provide arch support, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Bruce Pinker says they aren’t usually recommended for those who experience plantar fasciitis. “Mules are typically open in the heel area and don’t fit well to the foot,” he explains. “Often, there is some slippage which can lead to instability and this will not alleviate the discomfort experienced from plantar fasciitis.
Are mules good for your feet?
According to Dr. Ragland, mules traditionally lack the necessary structure and cushioning required for proper arch support. However, since the design, fit, cushion, and support tend to vary significantly from one brand to another, it is possible to find mules with good arch support.
11 mules with arch support to add to your fall wardrobe ASAP
The Everlane Puffa Clog is currently on regular rotation in our wardrobe—and we’re totally obsessed with the level of comfort it delivers. This clog is constructed from sustainably sourced materials and features a flatform sole with a chunky block heel for added support and stability. Additionally, the mule clog features a highly cushioned wedge and is designed to keep discomfort at bay for all-day wear.
Sizes available: 5-11
Colors: Black, desert tan, parchment
- They have a comfortable heel.
- They’re sustainably made.
- They’re highly versatile.
- The price is a little high.
If arch support is your number one priority, you really can’t go wrong with a Vionic shoe. They’re podiatrist-recommended from doctors like Dr. Sutera for their orthopedic footbeds known for uncompromising support and all-day comfort.
The Georgie mule is sports a rounded, clog-like toe box in chic leather you can wear just about anywhere. It’s sold in three colors (cream, olive green, and black) all of which feature a trendy chain detail on the upper. And, like all ergonomically-designed Vionic shoes, they’re lined with the brand’s iconic, built-in arch-hugging orthotics. Suffice to say, they’re extremely comfortable.
Sizes available: 5-9.5
Colors: Sand suede, monk robe suede, black suede, vintage rose suede, army green, navy, black
- They’re podiatrist recommended.
- The box toe boasts plenty of room for toes.
- They’re ergonomically shaped.
- They’re hard to clean.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect business casual silhouette or a funky printed one, the Sam Edelman Linne Bit Mule delivers. The popular mules (which are basically dupes for the luxe Gucci Princetown Loafer Mules ($850)) are sold in 15 colors and prints, including classic black and brown leather options, as well as unique printed options, like cow, snakeskin, and giraffe print. From a size perspective, it’s recommended to go a half-size smaller for the best fit.
Sizes available: 5-11
Colors: Beechwood, dark brown, washed teal, pistachio, natural, orange poppy, brown multi, saddle leather, black leather, bright white leather, amber gold glitter, soft silver, amber gold, black patent
- They come in lots of different colors and prints.
- They’re Gucci dupes.
- They provide comfortable arch support.
- They aren’t weather-proof.
Originally $90, now $24
If a wider toe fits your fancy but you’re craving a bit more trendy style in the process, look no further than Circus NY’s Elena Mules. Built with a cushioned insole, you won’t have to worry about your feet or arches getting tired throughout the day. Nor will you have to worry about being off-trend—The faux leather, lug-soled mules are sold in neutral three colors that look good season to season, including a very fun plaid option that’s calling our names.
Sizes available: 5-11
- They have a cushioned insole.
- They boast a stylish and trendy design.
- They have a platform sole for extra comfort.
- The platform height might be too tall for some preferences.
Originally $140, now $98
Wish you could wear slippers out of the house without a second thought? While wearing classic house shoes might seem a bit off for certain occasions, donning a pair of these mules by Birdies will leave you looking like the best dressed person in the room, while making you feel like you’re still in your slippers. That’s the beauty of all Birdies shoes: They’re designed with seven layers of cushioning that feels divine with every step. The Swan mules, in particular, stand out for their ultra-stylish pointed-toe silhouette, which is sold in 16 variations ranging across colors, textiles, and embellishments. And, unlike other pointy designs, they don’t crush your toes—blisters, begone!
Sizes available: 5-12
Colors: Golden oak suede, black suede, gold leather, champagne beaded chevron, deco beaded chevron, jeweled gold sparkle, caviar velvet gem bracelet, wine velvet gem bracelet, scarlet suede cuff, Sahara suede cuff, Snow White velvet crystal bracelet, black woven leather
- Some styles feature a foot strap for extra support.
- They have seven layers of cushion.
- They don’t crush your toes.
- They’re tricky to clean.
Speaking of stylish, pointy mules, take a peek at these head-turning leopard ones by Cole Haan. Designed with a cut-away pointed toe, these mules are especially feminine in appearance. And since they’re soft and flexible, you won’t have to worry about uncomfortable cramming or rubbing together when they’re on. We say go for something bold like the leopard, but if that’s not your thing, there are 22 other color and pattern options to peruse.
Sizes available: 5-11
Colors: Black leather, black suede, angora cashmere and wool, leopard, black wool
- They come in different colors, textures, and prints.
- They boast a flexible design.
- They have an eye-catching style, making them a great statement shoe.
- They aren’t weatherproof.
For one of the most comfortable mules you’ll ever try on, consider the Crocs Crush Clog. These ultra-lightweight clogs feature that iconic Clog design with a little extra height. Its platform base provides additional comfort while helping relieve shock and keep soles supported. We love that they have a strap that can be worn around the heel for added support and stability or up at the top for a more mule-like style. And, although they might be a little too casual for some settings, these mules are definitely worth the investment for weekend errands, brunch, and more.
Sizes available: 4-12
Colors: Bone, black, white, dusty olive, neptune, dark cherry, moon jelly
- They have a comfortable platform heel that provides additional cushion.
- They boast an excellent size range.
- They’re super lightweight.
- The straps make them more versatile (and supportive).
- They are too casual for some settings.
Originally $65, now $32
Sanuk’s slipper-like mules are definitely the greenest option on this list. The upper is impressive, made from an eco-conscious hemp-and-cotton blend that’s breezy but cozy, but it’s the squishy insoles that have our feet swooning, which are pretty much like mini mattresses for your feet. The high-rebound footbed absorbs shock and, fun fact, are actually partially sourced from algae. The best part? A portion of proceeds go back to cleaning up the world’s oceans with the Surfrider foundation.
Sizes available: 5-11
Colors: Aqua wave
- They feature an eco-friendly design.
- The rebound footbed absorbs shock.
- A portion of the proceeds is given back to the Surfrider Foundation.
- We wish they came in more colors.
Whether you’re looking for mules to wear to the office, the farmer’s market, brunch, or anywhere in between, the Dansko Bel Black Oiled Pull Up mules—which are sold in three colors—can be dressed up or down thanks to their classic loafer-esque design. One very unique thing to note is that, in addition to being ergonomically designed for optimal comfort with each and every step, these mules are lined with Aegis Microbe Shield for odor control, so you don’t have to worry about the side effects of sweaty, smelly soles this fall. Just like the brand’s famous clogs, these mules are the real deal in terms of comfort and style.
Sizes available: 5.5-12
Colors: Black, brown, green
- They’re versatile.
- They have a loafer-like design.
- They’re lined with Aegis Microbe Shield for odor control.
- The heel height might be too tall for some preferences.
The UIN Slip On Mules is another one of the best mules with arch support. These comfortable slip-on shoes come in 26 different colorful prints and patterns and are designed with a breathable and deodorizing design to keep your soles fresh. The slip-ons are also constructed with a non-slip EVA base, providing plenty of stability while strutting down the street.
Sizes available: 4.5-10.5
Colors: 26 colorful patterns
- They come in an assortment of colorful patterns.
- They have a non-slip EVA sole.
- They’re breathable.
- We wish they had more solid color options.
Love the support and comfort of Dansco clogs but want something a little more discreet? These Lexie Mules are a fantastic solution for everyday footwear. The slide-on loafers feature a minimalist design in black, black patent, saddle, taupe metallic, and taupe leather and feature a comfortable cushioned footbed. Additionally, the soles feature plenty of traction for added stability when walking (a must in slip-on mules).
Sizes available: 5.5-12
Colors: Black, black patent, saddle, taupe metallic, taupe
- They have the same support as Dansko clogs but with a loafer design.
- They boast long-lasting comfort.
- They have lots of traction for stability.
- We wish they had a little more detail.
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