Being able to don a kilt is the perfect way to show your sense of style and culture. Achieving the full impact, however, means finding the right type of shoes to coordinate with this traditional garment.

Sure you can pair any kind of shoes with a kilt, but if you want an eye-catching look that commands attention then you must understand what kind of shoes are suitable. We will guide you through different types of footwear, alongside relevant tips and ideas so they can dress to impress in their favourite kilts!

Wearing a kilt is a nod to tradition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t infuse some modern style when it comes to footwear. While traditional kilt shoes, like ghillie brogues, have their place, there are plenty of contemporary options that can give a fresh look to your ensemble. Here are some modern twists on shoes to wear with a kilt:


A high-end sneaker can add an urban and contemporary vibe to your kilt outfit. Think minimalist white sneakers or even chunky, fashionable ones depending on your preference.

Combat Boots:

For a rugged, edgy look, pair your kilt with modern combat boots. This choice can give a bold statement, especially with kilts that have more neutral or muted tartans.

Desert Boots:

These can offer a blend of traditional and modern aesthetics. They’re not as formal as traditional kilt shoes but maintain a certain level of elegance.


Modern leather or suede loafers, especially those with tassels or metal accents, can add a sophisticated touch while deviating from the norm.

Ankle Boots:

Contemporary leather or suede ankle boots can add a stylish touch, especially when paired with matching accessories like belts or bags.


While traditionalists might balk at the idea, wearing sandals, especially gladiator-style or leather sandals, can be a comfortable and unique choice, especially for casual or summer events.

Dress Shoes:

Modern dress shoes, like Oxfords or Derbies in sleek designs or unique finishes, can elevate the look while keeping it fresh.

Athletic/Running Shoes:

For a very casual and sporty look, you can pair your kilt with your favorite athletic shoes. This look may not be suitable for formal events but can be a fun twist for casual outings.

Occasion Matters - Choosing the Right Shoes for Your Kilt Based on Event:

Certainly, the occasion is a critical factor when selecting shoes to wear with a kilt. Here’s a guide on choosing the right footwear based on the type of event:

Formal Events (Weddings, Ceremonies, Banquets):


Traditional ghillie brogues are the go-to for formal events. These shoes are characterized by their lack of tongue and decorative lacing that ties around the ankle.

Why They Work:

Ghillie brogues respect the age-old tradition and blend seamlessly with formal kilt attire such as Prince Charlie jackets and full-dress spores.

Alternative Option:

Classic polished leather Oxfords or Derbies can also fit the bill, offering a slightly less traditional but still very formal look.

Semi-Formal Events (Dinners, Semi-formal Gatherings):


Desert boots or polished loafers.

Why They Work:

They strike a balance between casual and formal, making them versatile for occasions that don’t demand strict formality.

Alternative Option:

Clean, minimalist sneakers in neutral colors can also work if paired with a modern, tailored kilt outfit.

Casual Events (Casual Gatherings, Day Outings):


Sneakers or trainers. These bring a relaxed, modern touch to the kilt ensemble.

Why They Work:

They’re comfortable and stylish, making them suitable for relaxed settings where personal expression is welcomed.

Alternative Option:

Sandals or even flip-flops during the summer can provide a laid-back vibe.

Outdoor Events (Festivals, Highland Games, Outdoor Concerts):


Combat boots or rugged leather boots.

Why They Work:

They provide the necessary protection for outdoor terrains while adding a bold edge to the kilt.

Alternative Option:

Athletic or running shoes for events that might require a lot of movement or walking.

Casual Work or Business Casual Settings:


Loafers or ankle boots.

Why They Work:

They maintain a professional appearance without being overly formal. Ankle boots, in particular, can offer style and comfort.

Alternative Option:

Clean, unobtrusive sneakers in muted colors can also fit in certain creative or relaxed business environments.

Night Out (Clubs, Bars, Casual Parties):


Contemporary leather or suede ankle boots, or even high-end sneakers.

Why They Work:

They merge style with comfort, ensuring you can dance or move around while still looking sharp.

Alternative Option:

Stylish loafers or even unconventional footwear like gladiator sandals for a standout loo.

Comfort Versus Style - Striking a Balance When Selecting Kilt Shoes:

Selecting the right shoes to wear with a kilt often involves a tug-of-war between comfort and style. Here’s how to strike a balance:

Fit is Fundamental:

Even the most stylish shoe can become a nightmare if it doesn’t fit properly. Always ensure you’ve got the right size, with enough space for toes to move but not so much that your foot slips out.

Quality Matters:

Well-made shoes typically offer better support and adapt to the shape of your foot over time. Investing in quality can often mean both comfort and style.

Insoles And Inserts:

If you love a shoe for its style but find it lacks in comfort, consider using padded insoles or arch support inserts. They can significantly improve the comfort level.

Break Them In:

Before a significant event, wear your kilt shoes around the house or for short walks. This helps them mold to your feet and reduces the chance of discomfort or blisters on the day.


Look for shoes that are versatile in design and ones that can be dressed up or down. This way, you can be comfortable and stylish across a range of occasions.

Caring for Your Kilt Shoes - Maintenance Tips And Tricks:

Proper care can extend the life of your kilt shoes and keep them looking their best:

  • Dust and dirt can damage the material of the shoe over time. Use a soft brush to clean leather shoes after each wear. For suede, use a suede brush.
  • For leather shoes, regular polishing maintains the shine and health of the leather. Conditioning prevents the leather from drying out and cracking.
  • Waterproofing sprays can be beneficial, especially for leather and suede shoes. If they do get wet, let them dry naturally away from direct heat.
  • Using cedar shoe trees helps maintain the shape of your shoes and also absorbs moisture, preventing odors.
  • If you have multiple pairs, try not to wear the same shoes two days in a row. This allows them to air out and reduces wear and tear.
  • Over time, soles can wear out. Regularly check them for signs of severe wear and get them replaced if needed.
  • While polishing is essential, doing it too often can lead to a buildup of polish, which can reduce the leather’s breathability.


To conclude, there is a variety of wonderful shoe options to pair with a kilt, ranging from casual trainers to formal slip-on. Regardless of your style or preference, be sure you choose something that not only complements the look and feel of the kilt itself but also with whatever event you’re attending. Whether it’s for special occasions or just an assignment to express how fashionable you are while wearing your kilt, remember to keep it formal or fun as long as it’s appropriate for the event.

Sniper Jones
Hi there, I'm Sniper Jones, mastermind of My digital platform is devoted to sharing valuable knowledge about various types of footwear that can help refine your shoe selection process. Shoes have always intrigued me, leading to an impressive collection of over 1000 pairs! was launched in 2023 with the objective to provide extensive information that aids you in making well-informed shoe purchases. I've assembled a squad of shoe aficionados who share my enthusiasm for delivering unbiased reviews and thorough buying guides. Our evaluations are rooted in our personal experiences, ensuring the advice we offer is practical and usable. I always welcome feedback and discussions. If you have any questions concerning footwear, feel free to leave a comment. I'm here to assist!