Some shoe designs never fail to capture the imagination of fashion lovers and Hermes Oz mules are certainly one of them. Known for their characteristic printed canvas lining and the decorative “Kelly” buckle, these exquisitely crafted mules have become one of the most recognisable and coveted styles released by Hermes in the recent years. And somewhat controversial too. In the world were comfort and durability are a reasonably fair expectation from any high-end footwear, the decision to replace leather lining with the striking, but notably delicate, cotton fabric interior has been nothing short of provocative and unapologetic. But the house of Hermes has never been known for playing by fashion rules.

I have admired Hermes Oz mules ever since I spotted them first a few years ago. Feminine but not overly cute, the shoes project the essence of understated elegance. Never looking too flashy but always asserting their presence with the unmistakably Hermes clasp, instantly recognisable to the ones in-the-know. They are also more of a rarity in the world of designer slip-ons where Gucci Princetowns (review here) continue to dominate the scene. And understandably so. Charming as they are, with the price tag of just over £900 (as of 2020), Oz mules are likely to strike a chord mainly with the true Hermes devotees, who are drawn to the exclusivity of the brand as much as their designs.

As I have finally pushed myself over the line and got a pair of these fabulous, albeit ludicrously expensive shoes, in this review I will share my thoughts on the pros and cons of Hermes Oz mules and whether, in the grander scheme of things, they make a sound fashion investment.

Hermes Oz mules

Aesthetic value

In terms of appearance, there is very little not to like about Hermes Oz mules. While the silhouette of many mules conveys a degree of masculine charm, Oz slippers are not one of them. Thanks to the almond-shaped toe box and the subtle decorative buckle, the shoes will appeal to those who appreciate minimalism and low-key sophistication in footwear styles.

White Hermes Oz mules

The ornamental buckle affixed to the top of the leather uppers is supported by two leather straps. In appearance, it closely resembles the closure used in Hermes Kelly bags (for review, click here), one of the most identifiable and iconic symbols associated with the brand. The standard finish for the clasp in Oz mules is palladium, although permabrass plated buckles also appear in seasonal collections.

Kelly bag closure and the mule buckle comparison
Side by side comparison of buckles in Hermes Kelly bag and Oz mules

One very special element of the design, characteristic of the Oz mules, is the contrasting, multicolour cotton canvas interior. Depending on the version of the shoes and when they were released, the fabric lining features different prints including “Jardin Botanique”, “Les Cles Bandana” or “Faubourg rainbow”. Colours of the print vary depending on the colour of the shoes, always complementing the shade of the leather uppers. Occasionally, you can come across more than one type of print used for the same colour of Hermes Oz mules. For instance, the shoes shown in this review are white with predominantly pink “Les Cles Bandana” interior pattern but I have also seen white Oz mules adorned with “Jardin Botanique” print where the leading colour of the canvas was blue.

Les Cles Bandana canvas lining
Les Cles Bandana canvas lining in Hermes Oz mules

The mules are finished with a flat leather heel measuring 2cm. As such, they are lower than Hermes Rivoli mules (for review, click here) which stand at 3cm but comparable to Gucci Princetown mules, which also have a 2cm heel. [Back to menu]

Slip-on side view

Do Hermes Oz mules run true to size?

I decided to order my Oz mules through Hermes website which sparked the usual sizing dilemma. Among the very scarce comments regarding Oz slippers online, I read that some people found them running large. By contrast, my recent experience with Hermes Rivoli mules  has taught me to go half a size up. What to do?

In the end, I went with what I knew and opted for size 38, half a size larger than my standard fit in most flats and pumps. This turned out to be exactly the right approach. They fitted perfectly. Honestly, I have no idea why others would find them running big. As a point of reference, the fit is comparable to Gucci Princetown mules so if you are familiar with that style, you should not go wrong if you choose the same size.

For those interested in exact measurements, the inner sole of Hermes Oz mules in size 38 (as shown in this review) measures 25.5cm in length and 8.5cm across, in the widest point. The front of the shoe is profiled, narrowing towards the tip so the toes never quite reach the end point. This is where a few extra millimeters of length come in handy, I guess. [Back to menu]

Hermes Oz mule

Question of comfort

Before I bought my Hermes Oz mules, I had some concerns about their wearability. More specifically, I could not imagine that the eye-catching canvas lining would do much for their comfort. After all, even the softest fabric could rarely compete with the feel of cosy and supple leather in any footwear.

What exacerbated the unease were comments I found on one fashion forum, bemoaning the fact that Oz mules had a tendency for slipping and that some parts of the canvas inlay were prone to rubbing and even stabbing the foot. That did not sound terribly encouraging… However, at that point I was already committed to splashing out on a pair of these fabulous shoes so, whatever the comfort, I would have to just suck it up 😉.

Were the criticisms justified? Not really… While I agree that the canvas lining of Oz mules felt a little stiff at first, and it took some getting used to, the shoes have turned out to be, overall, quite comfortable. The cut of the instep is not too tight, so at no point did I find the material brushing against my skin, irritating it. Maybe those with higher instep could find it more of an issue? I don’t know… Personally, I have not observed any discomfort caused by that aspect of design at all.

Equally so, slipping has never been a problem. While Oz mules do not encase the foot in the same, glove-like manner, as some of the most comfortable mules on the market – Ferragamo flower heel mules, for example – I have never felt in danger of losing the shoes while walking. They have always felt quite secure despite not holding the foot in place too tightly. What certainly helps is the small leather patch/cushion located just under the heel which prevents the foot from sliding, providing a level of safety while on the move.

Overall, in terms of comfort I would give Hermes Oz mules 4 out of 5. As much as I prefer the feel of leather insole and lining, and the extra degree of grip it provides in slip-on shoes, the canvas interiors are comfortable, soft and give no reason for complaints. They are perfectly wearable without causing any pains or rubbing, and without creating the feeling that the shoes are somehow unstable or insecure while walking. [Back to menu]

Hermes slipper full body shot

How durable are Hermes Oz mules?

My one piece of advice to those thinking of buying a pair of Hermes Oz mules would be to consider how you are going to use the shoes. Are they to be worn only sporadically or do you see yourself treating them as daily run-around pair of mules? The reason why I am raising it here is, if it is the latter and you are hoping for a long-term fashion investment, they may not be the right choice of footwear for you.

While undisputedly beautiful, longevity is arguably not the strongest point of Oz mules. The issue here is not the leather uppers which are, in my view, made of supreme quality leather which is sturdy and less prone to creasing than most designer mules on the market. The concern is the striking and decorative cotton canvas used both in the insole and the lining of these Hermes slip-ons.

It takes no genius to figure out that the printed fabric is markedly more delicate than leather and, thus, less impervious to sweat and dirt. After some time, I expect it to start wearing off with the colours inevitably fading away and the canvas thinning. I have not got to that point with my mules yet so, for now, it is just a conjecture rather than a virtual certainty. Still, I cannot think of things going in any other direction, especially as the shoes are made to be worn on a bare foot.

How to clean the cotton canvas insole when it starts showing the signs of use? Honestly, I have no idea. I cannot think of many ways to fix it other than buying a new pair of Oz mules. Perhaps a high-end cobbler might be able to replace a visibly damaged canvas inlay with leather, but I am not sure if that is feasible at all. Safe to say, if you view luxury footwear as a long-term investment, Oz mules might not be the right option. Try Hermes Rivoli or Trocadero mules instead, as they may provide a greater prospect of longevity and, therefore, a better value for money.

Luckily, those who feel uneasy about the canvas, but still find Oz mules irresistible, might opt for a pair with leather lining. These are rarely available, and only in a few select colours (so far, I have seen them only in black or silver), yet they definitely appear more hardwearing. Understandably, they also lack the wow factor created by the vibrant canvas lining but that is the trade-off, I guess. Given a choice, I would probably go for a version with the leather lining. Unfortunately, the pair I set my heart on, i.e. Oz mules in white leather finish, did not have that option, which meant settling for the beautiful but not that durable canvas inlay. [Back to menu]

Full body photo showing the shoes with Chinatown background

Care and maintenance

Considering the delicate nature of these shoes, care and upkeep will be the key to prolonging their pristine look. Hermes do not provide any specific care instructions for Oz slippers so a common-sense approach should prevail.

As with all mules, the main thing is to avoid contact with water and rain because these may cause staining of leather and damage to the canvas. On top of that, a reminder to always wear them on a clean foot. This may sound obvious but specs of dust and dirt transfer onto fabric awfully easily and you do not want to end up with dark stains showing on the lining which, in most cases, is light coloured.

Anyone who has every owned a pair of mules will also be aware of the common issue which is the creasing of the leather uppers. To maintain their shape and to delay the appearance of the rather unsightly lines, it is a good idea to fill the mules with paper or shoe trees, when not worn. This should prevent the structure of the shoe from collapsing and make the creasing less prominent. Thankfully, the calfskin leather from which most Oz mules are made (although some goatskin versions are also available) is somewhat stiffer and less buttery than the one used in many other high-end slippers, potentially making them less affected by this issue. Still, it will be virtually impossible to avoid this problem completely. Hence the use of fillers on a regular basis to support the shape of the shoe is very much recommended.

The below photo shows the extent of creasing in Gucci Princetown mules, made of very soft leather, after about 1 year’s use and the signs of grooves developing in a fairly new pair of Oz mules worn a few times:

Gucci Princetown and Oz slipper creasing comparison
Gucci Princetown (left) vs Hermes Oz mule (right) - this photo shows how the creasing in leather uppers is likely to affect each style

Another point to flag up is the decorative, palladium plated buckle affixed to Oz mules. While palladium is known for being relatively scratch resistant, it not entirely immune to grazes and marks. Those familiar with Hermes handbag styles which use palladium plated closure mechanism (e.g. Kelly or Birkin), would have noticed the fine lines appearing with time on the clasp’s high-shine overlay. Although the closure in Hermes Oz mules is purely ornamental and will not be exposed to the same level of usage, it will still be susceptible to some damage. I know that the buckles in bags can be replaced or restored at Hermes Spa but I am not sure if the same applies to the mules.

To alleviate that concern from the outset, my advice would be to keep the transparent plastic covers protecting the rectangular parts of the buckle (each brand new pair should have them as a default). The film is virtually imperceptible and will go a long way to saving the plating from abrasion and scuffs. Naturally, there comes a point when the corners of the plastic covers start peeling away. Still, for a pair of mules that expensive, it is worth holding on to them for as long as possible, especially if you are one of those people who quickly  fall out of love with shoes and may want sell them down the line. [Back to menu]

Hermes slipper Chinatown view

Are Hermes Oz mules worth it?

As a style, Hermes Oz mules are utterly enchanting. If you are looking for a pair of high quality, beautifully crafted and chic flat shoes, they are hard to beat. Their elegant and low-key design makes them the ideal choice for many different occasions because they can be easily dressed up or down. Whether you are going to wear them to the office, on a shopping trip or for an evening out, they will never look out of place. Personally, I find their versatility as much of a draw as their classy silhouette.

If you are prepared to see past the arguably fragile nature of the cotton canvas interior, you will find it equally captivating. The contrast between the vivid hues of the fabric lining and the solid coloured leather uppers is unique and truly striking, and very few people would find it a turn off. For those concerned about the bright colours of the insole looking overwhelming and garish, there is nothing to worry about. The canvas only occasionally peeks out to reveal the lovely print, otherwise it is just for you to enjoy.

The main downside of Hermes Oz mules is the price point which, at the time of writing, stands at £910 (in the UK as of 2020). For shoes which are seasonal, and which can only be worn during good weather, the price-per wear is notably high. It is one thing to splash out on a pair of expensive loafers which can be used all-year-round but quite another to spend a fortune on a pair of mules which can only be appreciated on a warm sunny day. Unless of course you live in a lovely, Mediterranean climate, where you can get to wear them more often.

Fortunately, those who view the cost of Oz mules as too much of a deterrent may find some consolation in the fact that, from time to time, you can pick up a pair tax-free, at 20% discount, from the Hermes boutique at London Heathrow Airport. While even with the tax discount, Oz mules are still outrageously expensive, 20% on £910 is a good saving. Sadly, I have never got a chance to benefit from it because the colour range was quite limited last time I visited. Still, it is a good option to consider if you like to grab a bargain and happen to pass through Heathrow. Alternatively, there is the second-hand market but even there, a pair in a good condition rarely sells for less than £600.

To sum up, if you find luxury footwear irresistible, love Hermes and do not mind paying extra for the brand, Oz mules will be the right investment. With a bit of care and a good maintenance regime, they should be the highlight of your shoe collection for a few seasons. The timeless design is certainly capable of standing the test of time. Overall verdict: Extravagant luxury purchase [Back to menu]

Photos by Irene Pedrosa ( and Unwrapped.Fashion

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