I suspect I may not be the only woman for whom Gucci Princetown mules were not exactly the love at the first sight. In fact, I explicitly remember that the initial encounter with the lamb wool-finish version left me utterly puzzled. I could not help but feel that the form and novelty factor significantly outweighed the aesthetic value. Even the not-so-hairy version of the shoe seemed a bit clunky and conveyed a heavy dose of masculine chic.

Still, fascinated by the unfading popularity of Princetown mules on the fashionista scene since they were first introduced by Gucci in 2015 (as judged by the sheer number colour and finish variations made available through the seasons), I found myself compelled to find out what the fuss was all about. And here is my verdict…

Princetown mules close up

Fit and Sizing

Princetown mules provide a decent, standard fit ideal for average width feet. Although they wrap them in a relatively snug fashion, this should reasonably be expected from this type of design as otherwise the foot would slip during walking. For my averagely-wide foot, I do not find the mules too narrow and they fit just right.

True to size? I think the sizing in these shoes is a bit tricky. Gucci, on their website, recommend going half a size up so initially in the shop I tried on size 38 (I usually wear 37.5). However, these seemed quite large so subsequently I tired on my regular size, which fitted perfectly, and these were the shoes I bought. What could possibly go wrong?

It was not until the first outing in my brand new Princetown mules when I noticed the foot slipping outwards very slightly when walking, thus leaving the heel overflowing a bit. The gently protruding heel effect was not dramatic at all, just a few millimeters, and probably not perceptible to anyone other than myself.

Still, acutely conscious of its presence, a few weeks later I felt compelled to invest in a second pair of Princetown mules, this time half a size larger, to address the pesky heel malarkey.  Did it help? Well… The larger size was certainly looser in the toe box area and provided ampler space for a resting foot by virtue of the inner sole being longer. However, while walking, there was still some minor tendency for the heel to slip outwards, albeit less so than in the smaller-sized mule.

Gucci Princetown mules

So in a nutshell, I think it may just be the nature of Princetown mules that the tip of the heel will always be protruding very slightly while walking, especially at first. With time, the toe box relaxes so the foot will be naturally pushed forward and the “escaping heel” effect becomes far less prominent (my size 37.5 Princetown slipper fits nearly perfectly now).

Hence, when it comes to choosing the right size in Princetown mules, my advice is to rely on individual aesthetic sensitivity to the potential heel protrusion issue and go for something that you feel comfortable with. While the regular size is perfectly acceptable, going half a size up is also fine as it will compensate for the foot slipping outwards while walking. [Back to Menu]

Gucci Princetown mules side view

Are Princetown Mules Comfortable?

The shoes are VERY comfortable which attests to their continuing popularity. Personally, I did not feel the need to stretch or break them in to make them more roomy, even though this is frequently recommended in other reviews. I guess all depends on individual foot shape. It is noticeable that with time, the leather stretches naturally and the snug fit gently loosens making the Gucci mules even more comfortable.

One thing of note is that Princetown mules are to be worn mainly barefoot so the initial outings may result in some mild foot and toe rubbing while the shoes are still new. For me, I could feel slight pressure on my big toe from the crease in the leather uppers forming while walking. To avoid pain and discomfort, prior to putting them on I always use foot powder or apply anti-rub relief stick to the areas most likely to be affected by traction and blisters, which does the trick. [Back to Menu]

Gucci slipper and marmont bag full body view

Aesthetics

Princetown mules, while not the most feminine, have a certain irresistible charm. With their almond-shaped toe, a heel measuring around 1cm and the iconic horsebit plaque adornment, they convey a demure and classic feel which makes the shoes a very versatile and wearable item, perfect for office and everyday wear.

Gucci offers Princetown mules in a vast array of colour and finish options, including embroidered leather, raffia and of course the lamb wool-lined variety. For my first pair I opted for the rather conservative, plain taupe leather version which might not be too exciting but seems to go with almost everything. For the second pair I chose white which seems perfect for the summer and also because I was looking for a pair to match with my white Gucci Marmont bag. Which one do you prefer? [Back to Menu]

Brown Princetown mules and zip top GG bag
Whilte version of Gucci slipper with withe Marmont bag
White Princetown mules with green dress and white Marmont bag

How Durable are Princetown Mules?

There is no other way to say this, Gucci make shoes that last! I have been investing in Gucci shoes for over a decade and from my own experiences in terms of durability they are near-indestructible. I own many (perhaps too many!) pairs which have been sitting in my wardrobe for several seasons and I simply do not have the heart to get rid of them as they still look almost new.

Because Princetown mules have been a relatively recent addition to my collection unfortunately it is too premature to say how quickly they begin to show any significant signs of aging and wear. One thing to note is that after one or two outings leather on the front cap begins to develop some creases. These are less noticeable when the shoes are worn although they can still be visible to an extent.

White and brown loafer comparison with creases

Other reviews say that the creases are less apparent in darker shades of the mules but I have to take their word for it as I tend to gravitate toward lighter colours.  To me, the creasing does not greatly affect the aesthetic value of the shoes and, frankly, it can be expected from this type of design i.e. high front loafer in calf leather.

To reduce the appearance of the crease, it is worth investing in a pair of shoe inserts which will help to keep the mules in a good shape and will smooth the indented surface when the shoes are not worn. [Back to Menu]

Princetown mules leg close-up

How much are Princetown mules?

Princetown mules are not cheap, in the UK the price currently ranges from £515 for the plain leather version to £720 for the wool-lined leather version (as of 2019) so they can be quite a considerable purchase. Still, nowhere near the price of their distant cousin, the Hermes Oz mule (for review, click here), currently retailing at the staggering £900, ouch!

The great news is that Princetown mules are available at Gucci stores in the Heathrow Airport Terminals 3 and 5 in the UK at 20% discount, so for anyone wishing to bag a bargain the airport Gucci stores should be the first stop. While Gucci have an outlet store in Bicester Village in the UK where some of their products can be bought at a significant discount, I have not spotted Princetown mules there yet. Fingers crossed they arrive at some point!  [Back to Menu]

Brown slipper and GG Marmont bag side view

Good Investment?

Although Princetown mules did not win me over at first, they have certainly grown on me over time and now I am a total convert. Thanks to their classic design, sufficiently versatile to adapt to many different looks and the super comfortable fit, they definitely make a sound fashion investment.

When I first bought them, I was slightly worried that they would be yet another vanity purchase stuck on a shelf in my wardrobe unboxed and gathering dust. This turned out to be far from the truth as they are so easy to wear and match with different styles.  I also hope that the superb quality of finish and the supple leather used by Gucci will help to preserve the luxurious feel and look of the slippers for many seasons to come. Overall verdict: a Must-Have! [Back to Menu]

Photos by Badiu Photography and Unwrapped

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