Stay Off the Mule Train

2023 | Foot and Ankle | 0 comments

Summertime weather has us jumping out of our laced-up boots and brogues and into our mules and slides which are lighter and more breathable, but are they doing you more harm than good?

Stay off the mule train

During the colder weather our shoes generally have more fastenings (laces, buckles, Velcro), are usually sturdier with a stiffer sole and usually have a closed in back. These features keep our feet well positioned within the shoe leading to less friction, less clawing of the toes and better comfort as our feet are not overworking to stay within the shoe.


Mules and slides are a trend of fashion that become more prevalent in summer.  However, these types of shoes lack a heel counter or backing to the shoe making your heel slip and slide around the sole. This can lead to dry, cracked heels that can often become very painful over time.

With most mules and slides, we tend to cram our toes into the front of the shoe to make a “tighter fit” so that our feet don’t slide out of them.  This can lead to clawing of the toes due to being squashed or because they are holding on for dear life!  Those dreaded corns on the top of our toes or on the outside of our little toes reoccur due to moisture and friction which eventually lead us to only being able to wear thongs!

Ideal Shoe

Of course, your ideal shoe will depend ultimately on your foot type, but there are a few guidelines.  First, a wide toe box that bends upwards is recommended, to allow your toes to wiggle around and move naturally.  Second, a thick, 1-inch heel to stabilize your stride.  Thirdly, both doctors recommend a rigid, supportive shape with a cushioned, stable arch area.  You know those flats that bend completely in half?  That should not happen, it makes the bottom of the foot vulnerable to injury.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where shoes aren’t always created for orthopedic value, and we like — and like to wear — the pretty little things that aren’t always good for us.  Mules, or backless shoes, are basically an upgraded sandal.  This type of shoe makes your toes work harder to keep your shoe on since there’s no back support on them.  This can lead to tendinitis, the inflammation of your foot tendons.

How Our Podiatrists Can Help

At our Garden State Foot and Ankle, we can successfully diagnose and treat foot conditions related to poorly designed footwear.  Our experienced team can also provide expert footwear advice and prescribe orthotics to correct abnormalities and make footwear more comfortable.  Stay off the mule train and keep your feet healthy.

Dr. Manooj Prasad at Garden State Foot & Ankle Group of Toms River is a highly-experienced podiatrist with an ardent mission to help those suffering from foot, ankle, and lower leg issues. He offers personalized care while considering each patient’s individual lifestyle needs so that the best possible treatment can be administered. Based in both Essex County and Ocean County in New Jersey, service towns include Jackson, Belleville, Roseland, Point Pleasant, Cedar Grove, Livingston, Millburn, Short Hills, Lakewood, Ocean Gate, Lakehurst, Toms River, Montclair, and many more! For more information, you can contact us today at (732)557-9900 (Toms River),  (973)450-3035 (Belleville), or explore our website.

Toms River Diabetic Wound Care Specialist


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