Aug 15, 2023
by James Roberts
Nike’s Animal-Free Calm Mule Is Here To Soothe Your Feet
by James Roberts
Aug 15, 2023

There’s still plenty of summer left. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. Because over here, on the UK side of the pond, we’ve had nothing but rain for the last six weeks. I’ve had BBQs, beach days and hot air balloon rides canceled. But nothing can take away my optimism. And nothing will stop me wearing my slides and mules.

And, it seems, nothing’s going to knock the laceless, slide-on shoes from their top spot as fashion’s current favorite footwear. The classic might be the Birkenstock Boston, but many other brands have found their version of the clog.

Never one to miss a trick, Nike has unveiled the Calm Mule. It follows the Calm Slide which dropped back in June (just in time for the rain). The design of the mule feels like an extension of the slide: adding a toe box and a detachable ankle strap.

And just like the slide, the Calm Mule is made from one foam piece combined with a rubber outsole and textile strap. All those parts are rendered in one of four fairly relaxing colors: olive, black, gray or hemp. Detailing the monochromatic shoe is a debossed Swooshes on the upper, footbed and outsole, as well as an embossed “NIKE” on the strap.

That all-over foam and textured footbed promises to be a comfy ride as you parade around the pool edge, intermingle at the beach bar or simply chill on the sofa. We’re not clear on what the foam is made of at the moment, but we’d assume it’s some sort of plastic-based material.

However, in comparison to some of the other heavy hitters of the laceless world like Birkenstock, at least it’s animal-free. Or, for another example, take Y-3’s option: without altering the look of this all-white slide, you could easily swap out the leather upper with something animal-free.

Naturally – as we’d want for the Calm Mule and Calm Slide in an ideal world, too – we’d prefer to see one of the many plant-based leathers subbed in, like mycelium or pineapple, from an environmental perspective. But there’s also a question of ethics when it comes to keeping your kicks free from animal cruelty.

Really, what the Calm Mule provides, is an animal-free variation on a classic style that just can’t seem to quit leather. That might not be everything, but – when you think not only about the people who will buy this because they’re already vegan, but also the people who will buy this instead of a leather option because Nike have rolled it out at a reasonable price – it’s definitely something.

The Nike Calm Mule is due to drop in the coming months via Nike and select retailers at a price of $60 USD.