Shoe Anatomy: Understanding the Parts of a Mid Heel Mule

Mules are a stylish and comfortable style of shoe that can be worn for any occasion, whether it's a casual day out or a formal event. 

To understand how to make a good pair of mid heel mules, it's important to know the anatomy of a shoe and the key components that make up its structure. In this blog post, i'll go over the different parts of a mid heel mule and their function.

1. Upper

Shoe anatomy - upper

The upper is the part of the shoe that covers the top of the foot and is usually made of leather, suede or fabric. It is the most visible part of the shoe and is responsible for providing support and comfort to the foot. The upper also plays a crucial role in the overall appearance of the shoe.

The upper is lined with interior material which will be in direct contact with the foot. The lining is typically made of leather or fabric and helps to prevent friction and provide comfort.

The upper is made using the mule pattern (download mid heel mule pattern here) and when stitched together, is placed over the top of the shoemaking last, and attached to the insole (see below).

2. Insole

Shoe anatomy - Insole

The insoles serve as the innermost layer of the shoe that comes into direct contact with the foot. This particular shoe requires a mid-height shanked insole as the insole must match the pitch of the last, which in this case is a mid-height last.

A shanked insole is a type of insole that has a metal or plastic insert called a shank. The shank is a narrow, rigid piece that runs from the heel to the arch of the foot and provides additional support and stability to the shoe. A shanked insole helps to distribute the weight of the body evenly across the foot, reducing strain on the arch and allowing the foot to move more naturally.

3. Sole

Shoe anatomy - sole

The sole is what goes on the bottom of the shoe and hits the ground when you walk. Before attaching a sole, you’ll need to make sure that you have a nice flat surface on the base of your shoes for the sole to stick to. There are a few different materials you could use for the soles but we typically use resin soling as it’s easy to cut and sand to achieve a smooth finish. Soles are attached to the bottom of shoes using solvent-based shoemaking glue.

Soles can vary in thickness and shape, for heeled shoes such as these, we'd recommend opting for a slightly thinner soling material (e.g. 2mm resin soling).

4. Heel

Shoe anatomy - heel

The heel (which has been covered in your material of choice using water-based shoemaking glue) is drilled in through the pre-covered insole board and that’s what attaches it to the main body of the shoe. Most heels come with a heel tip, which must be attached at this stage. As this is a mid-height shoe, you would need to use a mid-height heel. 

5. Insock

Shoe anatomy - insock

The insock (also known as a sock liner or sock insole) is a layer of material that sits inside the shoe, between the foot and the insole. The purpose of the insock is to provide additional cushioning and comfort to the foot. Unlike the insole, which is attached to the shoe, the insock can be easily removed and replaced as needed, making it a useful component for maintaining the hygiene and comfort of the shoe. Download our FREE insock patterns here

And that's it! The anatomy of a mid heel mule is crucial to its overall comfort, support and appearance. If you're interested in learning how to make your own DIY mules, why not download our PDF mid heel mule sewing pattern to make getting started even easier!

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Happy Shoemaking,
Amanda xx