If you don’t have mules on your feet, you are so lame (even if they are just newly acceptable Crocs)

At least that is what I am led to believe by the Wall Street Journal’s men’s fashion columnist Jacob Gallagher in this article titled, “The Surprising Shoe That Is Overtaking Sneakers.”

In Derek Ng’s closet, backless Birkenstocks have trounced his once beloved Jordans.

The 27-year-old customer service rep in Orlando, Fla., used to covet the latest boisterous Nike Dunks, but his allegiances have shifted lately to slip-on mules. He owns five pairs including Birkenstock’s traditionalist Bostons (which recently shed their hippie funk), Merrell’s Swiss-cheese perforated Hydro Mocs and a pair from British designer J.W. Anderson that recall a Technicolor doormat.

In balmy Orlando, the shoes make sense—Mr. Ng savors the occasional breeze whispering at his heels. But it’s about more than climate. He also finds mules conceptually “more interesting” than whatever new Jordan colorway is hitting stores.

We are in a maximalist mule moment, with labels from Adidas to Saint Laurent going backless en masse. While a mule refers to a shoe without a heel covering, many aficionados call any slip-on that is not a loafer or traditional dress shoe a mule. Clogs with a backstrap or a slight heel notch are “a mule’s best friend,” according to Noah Thomas, men’s associate fashion director at Macy’s, and therefore up for inclusion.

A mule is “the thing that you need now,” just as a hoodie or a sneaker was in years past, said Mr. Thomas, who also co-runs the popular Instagram account MuleBoyz. The page, which he operates alongside Jian DeLeon, fashion and editorial director of Nordstrom (the pair started it in 2019 while working together at media company Highsnobiety) is a compendium of this mule-mad time.

Wait a minute. I thought Crocs were for losers?

Because they look like fancy Crocs.

It turns out some of them are Crocs.

Oh, well. What do I know?

One of the best things about getting older is that I can follow this stuff, find it interesting and amusing, and then never think about it again.

Crocs’ new swirly Pollex clogs designed by Salehe Bembury.