When you think of a kilt outfit, often the shoes are the last thing you will think of. This is understandable as the bright colours of a kilt are usually what your eyes see first but that isn’t to say that the shoes are any less important. The shoes you wear with a kilt are the finishing touch to your outfit and add an extra flare of style to your look and therefore warrants some added attention.
What type of shoe you wear will largely depend on the event you are attending. If you are wearing a kilt on a hill walk, wellies or hiking boots are definitely going to be the most appropriate option but when wearing a kilt to a more formal event, brogues are the way to go.
The word brogue originates from the Gaelic bróg (Irish), bròg (Scottish) meaning shoe. Modern brogues can be traced back to the 16th century and were originally created for outdoor walking. Have you ever wondered what the purpose of those small perforated holes on the toe of a brogue are for? Well, they are there for style these days but originally they were designed to allow water to drain from the shoe when walking on wet or boggy terrain. Brogues back then were common or working class footwear and would never have been worn to formal events. However, these days brogues are the main choice when it comes to kilt outfits.
In general terms there are two main types of brogues to choose from when putting together your kilt outfit. Ghillie Brogues are your first option and they have two main differences from other types of brogues. The first difference is that ghillie brogues don’t have a tongue, which historically would have allowed the brogues to dry out quickly. The second difference is that ghillie brogues have long laces that are wrapped around the wearer's ankle and tied just below the calf. The reason for the long laces would originally have been to keep them out of the mud and dirt. Ghillie brogues are fond favorites for formal events like weddings and Ceilidhs and are seen as the most traditional type of footwear for a kilt outfit.
The second option is Day Brogues which are sometimes known as, especially in the United States, Wingtips due to the W shape in the toe cap. Day brogues also have decorative holes on the toe cap but have short laces and a tongue. Day brogues are arguably suitable for all events. They are a great option for people who want the ease of tying normal laces and the practicality of being able to wear them to any occasions.
You could choose to wear any type of smart shoe with your kilt outfit but we would always recommend a good pair of either ghillie or day brogues. They are available in many different styles and designs which means you’ll have no problem finding a pair that will suit your outfit needs. A good pair of brogues if kept well maintained will also last a lifetime so they are a worthwhile investment.