Let me tell you about the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. Yes, I said it — most comfortable. Comfiest, if you may. This is a love letter to my Offline mules.
Nike made the opportunistic choice to introduce its slip-on, backless Offline sneaker hybrid in August 2020, five months into a pandemic that’s kept us perpetually home and, for many, perpetually in loungewear. Suddenly, the thought of lacing up sneakers just to make your biweekly trip to the grocery store or to pop outside and scream at the sky wasn’t so appealing. Then, like a gift from above, in walk Nike’s “Offline” mules — complete with two pairs of swappable insoles, each of which boasts a distinct pattern of massage nubs.
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Though the idea of leaning into this new, less socially-active lifestyle is Nike’s main selling point, what forced my hand into actually signing up for the SNKRS app and pestering our in-house expert for tips on how to come out successful from a sneaker drop (shoutout to Input Style Editor Edgar Alvarez) was all a matter of practicality. As a person living with an autoimmune disease that can be, at times, completely debilitating, finding a pair of day-to-day shoes that is both comfortable and easy to put on is something I almost have to jump on. Putting on shoes can be really fucking difficult.
So, I tried them. And I am very glad I did.
Sturdy, comfy, and good for the long haul.
While backless shoes can be a bit of a red flag for anyone concerned about stability, the thick, wide soles of the Offlines paired with an upper that covers most of the foot and has an adjustable cushioned strap makes for a really sturdy piece of footwear. There’s no flip-flopping action, no noticeable separation as you step. And with those aforementioned massage nubs, it’s like walking on clouds. Keep the pink insoles for when you’re just relaxing and use the green, which have more of the nubs and a more even dispersal, when you’re headed out for the whole day.
My Offlines have now survived every reasonable test of regular use. I was skeptical about wearing them over great distances (my years as a long-haul commuter are showing), but they’ve handled a two-mile leisurely stroll no problem, adding no additional pain or blisters to my already sky-high list of bodily complaints. Not too shabby. Another key point; that adjustable strap means they can accommodate for late-in-the-day swelling.
All the technical stuff aside, they’re also cute as hell. I got them in Black Menta but there are several other colors now available, including a really nice looking olive green, a light pink, a neon tangerine-ish hue, and an all-black. Every color is fire.
Sneakerheads may scoff at this, but for a person not particularly into fashion, Nike’s Offline mules feel like a bit of a splurge price-wise, coming in at $120 retail. Of course, they sold out immediately, but thankfully the resale price has hovered only slightly above that, in the ballpark of $135-150. After months of consistent wear, I feel confident in saying they’re worth it. Don’t let the haters convince you this is strictly a house shoe.