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Should You Wear Mules Outside the House?

OVER THE past year, as many Americans began working from home—and letting their style standards dip—fashion and footwear brands from Nike to Gucci began pumping out inviting, slide-on shoes. Many were peculiar, backless models. These “you don’t even need to lift your heel” mules might suit a life of slovenly at-home shuffling. But are any stylish enough to wear outside? Men’s fashion editor Jacob Gallagher and sports columnist Jason Gay debate the issue.

Jason: Can we talk about slippers? Sweatpants and hoodies dominated spring quarantine-chic, but now that it’s winter, it’s all about slippers. Slippers are the new sweatpants. Discuss.

Jacob: Slippers keep you warm. That’s the practical justification but here’s the truth: We’ve all become lazy. Tying laces? That’s a chore. And no one’s going anywhere fancy. So slippers carry the day. Shuffle out in them to the store. No one will judge you.

Jason: Slippers are a blissfully lazy option. And I was perfectly capable of being lazy before the pandemic—I was lazy before it was cool. However, to me, a slipper is strictly a stay-at-home option. You can wear slides outside, but a slipper is never-touches-pavement footwear. Once a slipper goes outside, it’s ruined. Jacob, are you wandering around the supermarket in slippers?

Jacob: Never in true slippers, but in summer I did wear pool slides inside and out. I’ve since moved on to closed-toed, backless rubber Birkenstocks, which have proved warmer. They’re enticingly lazy, but if your vision is bad enough they kinda look like loafers. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Where do you fall on mules like that?

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