Good footwear is one of the most important things to pack for any adventure, especially to somewhere with weather as infamous as Ireland. While you should put some thought into it, you will likely be fine once you just know what most people wear and what to expect.
It is best to bring at least 2 pairs of comfortable shoes when travelling to Ireland. This way you will have a spare pair if you are caught out in the rain. In addition to this, you should pack whatever you will need for any specific occasions like socializing or running.
Any basic advice you have heard about what footwear to pack for travelling would probably apply to Ireland. However, it is always a good idea to do a little research and see what people wear in other countries. This way, you might fit in a little better with the locals!
What Kind of Shoes to Wear in Ireland?
When travelling to Ireland, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when packing footwear.
Firstly, you should make sure that you are comfortable. Most of the time when people go travelling, they are going to be walking a lot more than they might be used to. So, if you have any particularly comfortable walking shoes/ running shoes, I would make sure to bring them with you, regardless of how they look.
Secondly, you need to bring a backup! I will talk more on how to deal with the weather specifically later on, but there is a good chance that you will get caught out in the rain while here. From experience, one of the only things more frustrating than wearing wet shoes all day is wearing them again the following day…
When it comes to what styles of clothes or shoes to wear in Ireland, the fashion here will be more or less the same as most other developed countries. However, there are always going to be some regional differences, especially as a result of the climate.
Below there are some examples of what people wear in different situations, but if you have a favorite pair of shoes that you think would look great in a certain situation, bring them!
Casual Shoes in Ireland
When it comes to casual shoes in Ireland, you really can’t go too casual. Many people will walk around all day in running shoes or something else that they just find comfortable. Also, you are travelling, so make sure to prioritize your comfort and safety over anything else.
Boots can be a good option when in Ireland as they usually keep you a little warmer and drier, but they also look great. If you are looking for more casual footwear during the winter months or on the wetter west coast of Ireland, boots are a great option.
If you intend to do more city breaks, a nice pair of sneakers can work well. While they might not be the best for enduring the rain, they will be great for going in and out of pubs, museums and even places later in the evening. Also, they may be able to deal with slippery cobblestones better than some hiking boots.
Shoes for Going Out in Ireland
When possible, pick footwear that will work for you throughout the day. It is usually good to minimize the amount of time in a hotel or changing clothes while travelling. You want to spend as much time as possible out and about! When you can, try to wear comfortable travel shoes and pack smaller, formal shoes in your backpack, if you think you will be going out later on.
When in Ireland, you are not likely to be refused entry to places based on your footwear. For most bars, restaurants, museums, etc., you should be able to go in most kinds of shoes. Having said this, there are obviously exceptions. Don’t try going into a nightclub wearing wellingtons or work boots!
Please use your own judgement on this and whatever rules you have about dress codes at home will likely apply to Ireland.
When picking shoes for a night out in Ireland, you will likely have the same options as at home. One thing to note about high heels in particular though is that they may be more difficult to walk with outside or in bad weather. A more formal pair of boots can come in great when travelling to Ireland.
For male travelers, much of this advice still applies. Though you will be less likely to wear high heels, a pair of brogues usually works for more formal occasions and a clean (or even cleanish) pair of sneakers will work well for most casual/ semi-casual situations.
Footwear for the Irish Weather
I have gone into more detail on how to dress for the Irish rain in this article here. In general, you should try to have backup options when it comes to packing for Ireland. The weather is notoriously unpredictable and while many people never see a drop of rain when here, many more see plenty.
If you plan on seeing the beautiful Irish countryside, then you will probably want to bring some walking shoes. What exactly to bring will depend on the time of year. In general, it is better to bring boots as opposed to shoes, but you may want to bring something lighter at the peak of summer.
One of the best ways to mitigate most of the negative effects of the Irish weather is to pack plenty of spare socks. While this advice will apply for travel to any country, in Ireland, it is always better to have more options when it comes to layering outfits. This advice also applies to footwear!
While most of the advice that I have given in this guide is based around the more well known wetter aspects of the Irish weather, when it gets warm you will notice it. With a very humid climate, a temperature that might seem very approachable in other places can get very unpleasant in Ireland.
If you are planning to travel to Ireland in the summer months, make sure you have options for lighter footwear too.