Never in footwear history has there been a shoe more controversial than the mule. It’s been maligned by many for the clomp-clomp sound it makes (which I don’t think is nearly as bad as the flip-flop slap) and adored by others. If spring 2014 runways are any indication—which, of course, they are—the backless shoe is staging a comeback, only this time with a higher vamp (that’s the top of the shoe, for those who don’t do fashion-speak) so it stays more firmly on the foot and makes less of a clack-clomp sound each time you step. And with crackled silver, crystal-bedecked and red lace versions out there now, there’s never been a better time to kick up your heels. (Literally.)
 Masha mule, $525 at Alexander Wang.  Oscar de la Renta Carleta lace mule in ruby, $389 at Neiman Marcus.  L’Autre Chose shoes, $470 at Shoescribe.  Jeffrey Campbell crackled-silver mules, $155 at Nasty Gal.  French Connection open-toe mule slide sandals, $140 at Bloomingdale’s.  Britt crystal mule wedge, $495 at Tibi.  Alberta Ferretti open-toe mules, $447 at Yoox.  3.1 Phillip Lim Vincent mules, $262 at Avenue 32.  Stella McCartney open-toe mules, $195 at Yoox.  L.A.M.B. Sharon mules, $275 at Zappos.