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 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.
The best mules with arch support, at a glance
- Madewell The Corinne Lugsole Loafer Mule ($148)
- 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)
- Crown Vintage Naliana Penny Mule ($50)
- Sanuk We Got Your Back ST Surfrider ($65)
- Dansko Bel Black Oiled Pull Up Mules ($140)
- Bernardo Sochi Clogs ($228)
- Adidas x Ivy Park Mule Shoes ($150)
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.
11 mules with arch support to add to your fall wardrobe ASAP
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-9 in half sizes.
We love these Madewell loafer-mules for a number of reasons. For starters, they’re built with the brand’s MWL Cloudlift Lite insole that are engineered to make even the flattest of flats way more comfy. Layer on the sturdy block heel and overall chunky ’90s vibe, and you’ve got yourself a slide you’ll never want to slip off. They’re available in two neutral colors (brown and black sustainably-sourced leather) that go with everything, although the brown options are nearly sold out. The black are likely to do the same, so add ’em to your cart before they go.
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-9.5 in half sizes.
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.
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-11 in half sizes and two widths: regular and wide.
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.
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-11 in half sizes.
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.
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-12 in half sizes.
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!
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-11, in half sizes.
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.
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-12 in half sizes.
Say hello to your everyday work mule. These simple round-toe leather mules are sold in four colors and feature all the classic style without any added frills. In that way, they’re very versatile—just ask the hundreds of DSW shoppers who have applauded the silhouette. They’re also very cushy, thanks to a padded footbed which reviewers adore, too.
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-11, men’s sizes 5-14.
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.
Available in: Women’s sizes 5.5-12 in half sizes.
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.
Available in: Women’s sizes 6-11 in half sizes.
Sometimes, an open heel just isn’t an option, especially if your feet are flat and find yourself working hard to keep mules on. Which is why we love these retro sling-back clogs, which trade the open back for a simple buckle strap, so your feet can relax.
The suede mules feature a chunky 2.75-inch wood heel and a 1.25-inch platform, so they’ll give you lift but keep you balanced in the process. They can easily (and comfortably) be worn on their own or over tights, so they’re a particularly great transitional silhouette. Plus, as ‘70s style re-emerges here in 2022, these chain-accented mules are particularly on trend.
Available in: Women’s sizes 5-11.5 in half sizes.
Yes, even sneaker mules exist. These Ivy Park ones are particularly chic, with their pointed toe, mesh-lined outer, and lace-up design. Leave it to Bey to come up with such a stunning athleisure-ready mule. (That’s foot-friendly, too.)
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