Mules are shoes without a back, with heels and a closed toe. These are classic mules. But you can also find mules with an open toe and without a heel. Usually mules are made of fabric, but they are also made of leather.
Mules appeared in Western fashion in the 16th century. This is what the books say, but unfortunately, I did not find any images of the 16th century. There is a version that mules originated from Lotus Chinese shoes. We have a separate post about them. Visually, this shape of the toe reduces the size of the foot. But most likely the creators of the first mules were inspired by the traditional shoes of the East, Asia and the Arab countries. For example Moroccan Babouche are very similar to mules.
It is difficult to say when mules appeared at all and from what the name comes from. Most likely from the French “Moyle”. The Oxford English Dictionary says that: “The earliest known use of the noun mule is in the Middle English period (1150-1500)”.
Mules were originally house shoes like slippers. Sometimes you can find the name ” bedroom’s shoes”. Mules were worn by both men and women. They were especially popular in the 18th century. Home shoes were worn both indoors and for walks in the garden.
In the 20th century, a wide variety of mules appeared. Mules are called almost any shoes without a back, but except for slippers, sabot, sandals, clogs and flip-flops.