The other day, it was gorgeous outside—cool and sunny, the perfect weather for walking to the Studio, the perfect weather for finally wearing…
My mules for the first time.
Well let me tell you right away, it was probably also the last time.
Mules just weren’t invented for walking.
The thing is, they’re pretty comfortable, my mules. And since they’re the perfect springtime accessory — for that time when you’re not quite ready to fully expose your feet, but you still want to say hello to the rays of sun trying to break through.
Even though as much as you love fashion and trends and all, deep down you might wonder why anyone would want to show their heel. Is your heel pretty? Really? Which part, exactly?
So the attraction to mules probably lies elsewhere. It’s all in the attitude, the “woman so chill she doesn’t need a job”, or her job is something like influencer or DJ who goes to bed early, or chef specialized in juices extracted from the dirt at Burning Man. A girl so comfortable with herself, she folded up the heel of her moccasins. So rich that she’s thrilled to mess up her Gucci’s. A girl like us, basically.
But anyway. No need to look for an explanation. It’s fashion. So we like it!
My mules and I made it down all five floors of my building with no trouble. Once I was in the street, I was feeling super proud of myself, and my slightly clenched feet (if you don’t clench, the mule slips off, so you have two options: either clench your feet with every step, or walk like you’re wearing babouches (mules are just a babouche disguised as city shoes, as we all know) in other words—slowly, slightly dragging your feet, and like a duck, which is an art form my Moroccan uncle Mimmoun mastered with such grace that my sister and I named another shoe after him: the Mimmouna. I might tell you about it one day (if you’re nice)) didn’t seem like much of a problem to me.
The problem is, I’m a New Yorker.
I don’t walk slowly and I never drag my feet because, like any self-respecting city girl:
1) I’m in a hurry.
2) I’m burning calories.
3) No one walks slowly in New York, not even tourists.
So I chose option number one: toe clenching. Ten minutes later, I’d already had four cramps. And I still had twenty minutes to go before reaching my destination: Studio Doré.
After those first ten minutes, I ran into another problem: a slight issue with foot climate control. Of course, I wasn’t wearing Gucci mules made out of fur, but a simple version made of soft leather. Even so: I suddenly had hot feet and cold heels. I started sweating a little bit in the leather (ew, sorry)(someone has to tell the truth, though)(and no, my feet don’t usually sweat) so naturally, I started sliding around in them.
At that point, I had to take my clenching up two notches, so my cramps went from slight to severe, but it still wasn’t enough to keep the shoes on.
I also started to drag my feet a little, because if I didn’t, the mule would continue its trajectory without me and go flying six feet in front of me.
The Mule, or How to Transform a Nice Walk into a Ridiculous Disaster.
Still headed toward what had now become my idea of the holy grail, my final destination, the Studio, I started to feel the secondary effects of the obnoxious hot foot problem: my feet were starting to swell a little bit. And sure, now you might say: Perfect! You’ve got plenty of room for swelling in a mule! To which I would respond: Yes! All you have to do is slide your foot out slightly and boom! You’re suddenly super comfortable. Your heel is walking on the dirty dirty NYC floor but hey! You already lost every battle at this point anyway.
Because at that point, five minutes from my goal, with depressed feet and sweat on my brow, the worst thing happened: I saw my reflection in a window.
My half-limping (foot dragging), half-stick-up-the-ass (toe clenching), duck method (you can’t help but end up looking like a duck) (disapproving sigh from Carine Roitfeld, Queen of the pigeon toe pose) – in a pair of shoes that already made my feet look a size bigger in good conditions, now with my heel hanging out the back, made me look like a Hobbit, because Hobbits have enormous shoes and a weird walk.
That was the end of my mule adventures.
Once I got to the Studio, I tried to persevere (maybe they’re great to wear indoors, like slippers!) because you should always give everything a second chance (except Zoolander 2) but seriously, no, no no no.
Really, no thank you. The mule was lost on me somewhere between Bleecker and Broome, so close to reaching my goal.
I’ll keep them under my desk to make me look like a relaxed heel girl, like Mark Zuckerberg in his pool shoes, but classier.
But for walking, no way. I’m in a hurry.
Translated by Andrea Perdue