Being an Oktoberfest expert who has dedicated herself to schooling you on what to wear for Oktoberfest, I get asked a lot about Oktoberfest shoes and socks. What are the best shoes to wear with a dirndl… what the heck are lederhosen socks… how do I beer-proof my shoes, etc. And here at My Wanderlusty Life I like to keep things practical.
Yes, there are strict traditions for Oktoberfest shoes and lederhosen socks, as you can imagine. But I know who you, my readers, are. I know you want to wear the “right” stuff, but you’d prefer to not spend hundreds of dollars on something you might not wear again.
For that reason, you’re also fine wearing something that’s “close enough” to the “right” stuff, and that’s perfectly OK! As long as you’re in the realm of “right” when it comes to Oktoberfest footwear, you’ll look great and feel great too. (And have extra loot for extra lager.)
So, for this post on Oktoberfest shoes and socks, I’m going to clue you in on what the “right” stuff entails, then I’m going to show you practical options that are “close enough” to the real thing that you can actually wear in your everyday life as well. (After all, real men’s Oktoberfest shoes aren’t exactly a popular look here in the U.S.) And yes, I went through my hundreds of Oktoberfest pictures to find the ones where you can see people’s Oktoberfest shoes and socks, lol.
Oktoberfest shoes for women
In a shocking turn of events, finding Oktoberfest shoes for women is a lot easier since you have a ton more options (and the style isn’t as restrictive as it is for men). Yes, this may be the only time women have it easier in the choosing outfits and getting dressed department.
Traditionally-speaking, Oktoberfest shoes for women equate to what we would refer to as Mary Jane-style pumps with a Cuban heel. But the Oktoberfest times are a-changing and you can get away with so much more now. Comfy flats, casual sneakers, cute booties, and if you’re feeling especially, ahem, instagram-y, you can wear some fancy heels that you’re sure to regret.
For me, the number one thing I look for in Oktoberfest shoes is all-day comfort. So much walking, so much jumping up and down for some reason, so many beers, for so many hours each day. I need to be focusing on my fliegerlied moves, not my aching hooves.
Because I’m at Oktoberfest (and the Stuttgart Beer Festival) for three weeks every year, I tend to switch it up between a few pairs of flats and booties. Always with some memory foam liners because these boots are made for dancing on benches, and that’s just what I’ll do.
Best shoes to wear with a dirndl
I’m going to give you some shopping options here that represent some of the best shoes to wear with a dirndl. All of these are totally acceptable options that you can just buy straightaway and call it a day. Or, use these as reference so you know what to look for as far as Oktoberfest shoes for women.
FYI, Zappos.com is hands-down my favorite shoe shop. If you haven’t tried them yet, you definitely should! Free (super fast) shipping, free returns, and I love their videos so you can see what all the shoes look like on real people. Totally stress-free shopping. I get all my shoes here.
Best shoes to wear with a dirndl: traditional look
If you want to stick with a totally traditional Oktoberfest look, you’ll want to search for black Mary Jane style pumps with a small heel. These may not be the most comfortable to wear and dance in all day and night, but you can definitely find some more comfortable versions (and add a cushion!). Here are some current options:
- Rozz by LifeStride – (3 colors) Pretty much the ideal, traditional-look (but modern) Oktoberfest shoes for women. Cushioned foot bed and outer traction, plus 2-inches of height in case you need to be “This Tall” to ride some of the rides.
- Ambyr Glow or Emily Rae by Clarks – Cushioned footbed, both simple and perfect for wearing with your dirndl.
- Clarice by Easy Spirit – (Now in 6 colors) Simple, classic design
- Angelina by Cobb Hill – A unique take on the classic with some extra design details
Best shoes to wear with a dirndl: comfy flats
Cute and simple flats work with any dirndl length, color, or style. And they’ll keep your feet super comfy all day and night. (Unless you just pick up whatever’s the cheapest. In that case, you might want to grab some blister pads while you’re at it.) Here are my favorite flats for Oktoberfest 2023:
- Playful by Bzees – How comfortable do these shoes look? I might get these for myself. I love the bow detail too and the fact that you get some height out of them!
- Impact by LifeStride – Simple flat with just a little bit of height, memory foam cushioning, can’t beat it. (I own these myself, see above photo.)
- Maxwell by Naturalizer – Super simple Mary-Jane style flats.
- Cleo Sport by Skechers – Look how comfortable these look! (My next pair.)
- Check out all the flats here. I personally filtered for black, under $100, and comfort, but there are hundreds of options here for cute Oktoberfest shoes. And lots of sales happening!
Best shoes to wear with a dirndl: cute booties
If flats aren’t your thing, cute booties/ankle boots are a great Oktoberfest shoe option that add a little more “fashion” to your look. (Because I’m updating this in May, booties selection is low right now. I’ll update this again in August when there are more options!) Here are some Oktoberfest bootie ideas:
- LifeStride by Ally – (3 colors) Super cute booties available in four colors (I like “mushroom”) and a little bit of lift. Plus, a textured grip that’s important where spilled beers and slippery floors are concerned, just saying.
- Damita by Easy Street – (5 variations) – Simple booties said to be very comfortable (and on sale!)
- Texas by Skechers – (2 colors) You can’t go wrong with Skechers and their commitment to memory foam. These ankle boots are super cute and they’re already Scotchgarded! (I own these myself, pictured above.)
- Ana by Comfortiva – (3 colors) First of all, how about that brand name? You’re speaking my language, people! You can’t go wrong with this simple black suede ankle bootie for Oktoberfest.
- Check out the whole bootie selection here as there are lots of different style options.
Best shoes to wear with a dirndl: white sneakers
I’m all about at least attempting to stick to the traditional look, as long as I can be comfortable and stress-free. However, there is one look that is far from the traditional, but is actually a super popular option. Casual sneakers.
You’ll mostly find young Bavarians wearing these with their dirndls (like, the 16-26 crowd), so perhaps this is the new “traditional.” I will say that I have totally been embracing the laced-up look as of late, partly because the ones I have are really comfortable and because I’m overdue for some Oktoberfest shoe shopping myself.
That being said, check out these casual styles if you want to do Oktoberfest like a 20-something local:
- Classic Vans in True White (slip-on) – This is probably the most popular of all Oktoberfest shoes for women (of the non-traditional styles). It’s definitely the one you’ll see most often. And no, it doesn’t matter that Oktoberfest is after Labor Day. Germany = no Labor Day = no absurd fashion rules.
- Era by Vans (lace-up) – Classic look from a classic brand, 5-star reviews from almost 900 people.
- Kickstart by Keds – These classic white Keds are another great option if you’re not a Vans fan. *Gasps, but totally understands if they’re not for you*
- Star by Taos Footwear – The sneaks I’ve been wearing with my dirndls lately are very similar to this popular pair. (And wow do people love this brand.)
Oktoberfest shoes for men
For once, men don’t have it easier in the fashion department! Rules and options for lederhosen shoes are lot stricter than for dirndls. And wearing the wrong thing with your lederhosen will be extremely noticeable. Like, women can wear almost any kind of footwear to Oktoberfest and get away with it. But if you show up wearing a pair of white New Balance dad sneakers with your lederhosen, oohhh mmmyyy goodddd.
But, I’ll point you in the direction of some men’s Oktoberfest shoes that are close enough to traditional but that you can wear outside the Wiesn. (And that won’t stick out as just WRONG.)
What shoes to wear with lederhosen
Traditional lederhosen shoes for Oktoberfest are known as Haferl – a kind of oxford/boot hybrid. They have a small heel, laces, and are usually leather or suede in various shades of brown or black, depending on the color of your lederhosen.
Take a look at what the traditional lederhosen shoes are supposed to look like here. Yes, almost all of the German men you’ll see at Oktoberfest are wearing these shoes. If you really like these, then by all means shop ‘til you drop!
Make sure you shop at reputable shops though! Many places selling Oktoberfest shoes and socks aren’t exactly legit. Check out this post on the biggest Oktoberfest scams to see what I mean.
Best Oktoberfest shoes for men
Take a look at these closely-related versions available here in the U.S. that you can wear in your real, non-beer-chugging life as well.
- Austin by Keen – First of all, I love Keen shoes. They’re great for hiking, comfortable, and water-resistant! This model is basically a pair of great outdoor shoes disguised at Oktoberfest shoes. Honestly I would stop your search here and just wear these for the rest of your trip to Germany.
- No. 72 Casual Sport by Anodyne – Another comfortable shoe in disguise, these have a sneaker feel but a dressier look. Both black and brown would make great lederhosen shoes. Sub in a pair of beige laces and no one will be any wiser. Mwahaha!
- Wynn by Dansko – Though these are slip-ons, the brown suede still make great Oktoberfest shoes. (Provided you have the right lederhosen socks, that is!)
- Otto Plain Toe Oxford by Nunn Bush – These would make great Oktoberfest shoes… that you could wear to work every day too. Provided you don’t work in your workout gear under a cat like I do.
Lederhosen shoes for women
I get it, plenty of women want to wear lederhosen! If that’s you, know that you can wear pretty much whatever you would wear with a dirndl, or whatever a man would wear with his lederhosen.
Matching flats, boots, booties, casual sneakers, whatever. You can even go for the men’s options above in your size. (To go from a woman’s shoe size to men’s, just drop down a size and a half. So if you wear an 8 in women’s shoes, get a 6.5 in men’s. But you probably already knew that.)
German socks for Oktoberfest
Ah yes, again the Bavarian fashion gods prove they are superior. Like with Oktoberfest shoes, what kind of socks a woman wears to Oktoberfest is not a big deal at all. But men, you have a very strict sock requirement and like maybe two options. Either way, whether you can wear anything or only this one thing, which socks you wear to Oktoberfest should be an easy decision.
What socks to wear with a dirndl
As to what socks you should wear with your dirndl, the answer is: whatever you want. But also: whatever works with the shoes you’re wearing!
Since “traditional” Oktoberfest shoes for ladies are Mary Jane pumps, there isn’t a true “traditional” style of Oktoberfest socks for women. So, all my advice is based on modern trends and such.
No-show socks for flats
If you’re wearing flats or Mary Janes, I recommend wearing a no-show style of socks. This is just what looks the best, by not looking like you’re wearing socks at all. If you’re one of those people who can wear these shoes without socks, that’s fine too. Personally, I have to have a pair of socks on with everything that’s not a sandal. Especially at an event like Oktoberfest.
Boot socks for booties
If you’re wearing ankle boots, a cute pair of boot socks is perfect! But so is a pair of socks that you don’t see at all. Personally, I like a little peep-sock. It’s up to you. Just please wear socks. Or do I need to link the blister pads again?
Knee socks for cold weather
Can you wear knee socks with a dirndl? Should you?
The verdict is still out on whether knee socks are “appropriate” for Oktoberfest dirndl wear. If you’ve never been to Oktoberfest, knee socks with a dirndl might seem obvious, right? But that’s the costume-ized version we know too well. In reality, you’ll hardly see anyone at Oktoberfest wearing knee socks. (And the ones you do are probably participating in a traditional parade or dance performance.)
However, I’m not completely opposed to wearing knee socks to Oktoberfest if (a) they don’t look like a stupid costume version and (b) it’s really cold out! I’ve been to Oktoberfest in Munich when it’s sweltering hot, and I’ve been in below freezing temps. (Oktoberfest 2022 was brutally cold!) And I can tell you that when you have to walk there from your hotel in a dress in snowy weather, you won’t care how “traditional” your socks are.
Go ahead, wear them anyway
Side rant: I very recently had a man comment to me that how dare I tell young women to wear knee socks because only very traditional old ladies wear them. But cranky old men are not my target audience and their unsolicited advice about women’s clothing is not going to keep my legs warm. So unless this is the approval you seek, I’m going to keep preaching to wear whatever the hell you damn well please.
One acceptable and popular way around this is to wear skin-tone tights/stockings (example below). But if you like the look and comfort of knee socks, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing them! The most important thing in figuring out how to dress for Oktoberfest is doing what is the most comfortable, easy, affordable, and fun for YOU. Besides, the die-hards will be too busy judging men’s shoes to worry about you.
If you do choose to wear knee socks with your dirndl, here are a few good options:
- Wool blend boot socks – 3 pairs, 3 colors, probably pretty warm!
- Classic cable knit knee socks – 3 pairs, multiple color options
- Danskin footed tights – And if you want to go the tights route, check these out. White, black, and a variety of shades in between designated by how dark you like your toast. According to the reviews, these are popular in the roller derby community, which means they probably hold up pretty well!
The traditional-style Oktoberfest socks you see men wearing with their lederhosen are known as loferl. Essentially, calf warmers with a separate low-cut sock. And yes, this is absolutely a key element to your Oktoberfest outfit!
Loferl come in a variety of colors, but not that big of a variety. And you should coordinate the color to go with your lederhosen (and only wear them if you’re wearing the right kind of Oktoberfest shoes). If you’re wearing white New Balance dad sneakers, feel free to just wear your regular white lawn-mowing socks.
Lederhosen socks – other options
But what about knee-high lederhosen socks? Or crew-length? Yes, there are other types of lederhosen socks besides the loferl. Loferl are definitely the most common and most iconic, but other kinds of lederhosen socks are an option.
Knee-high lederhosen socks
The two-piece Loferl are the most common, yes, but they are also traditionally worn with only short or knee-length lederhosen pants. (Which are the most common anyway.) Knee-high lederhosen socks are worn with lederhosen that go over the knee.
If your lederhosen are a longer version, you’ll want to wear knee-high lederhosen socks. You can wear them high or scrunch them down. Like these:
- Cream colored version from Amazon – simple and overall decent option
- Otherwise, you can wear any closely-resembling tall knit sock you have laying around and just scrunch them down!
Note: This is not a hard and fast rule! You can certainly wear knee-high socks with your short shorts too, all the way up or scrunched down. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone wearing loferl with long lederhosen pants though, but I think you’d certainly get points for the loferl anyway.
Oktoberfest shoes and socks: What NOT to wear
As long as you wear something remotely resembling the “traditional” style, you’ll feel totally comfortable and fit right in. What you don’t want is to stand out like an ignorant tourist, which can often even be insulting. (Do people really think those slutty beer wench Halloween costumes don’t irk the locals who take pride in their Bavarian traditions? You’re in their house, be respectful! Remember, they are the ones serving you beer.)
So while you can get away with a lot as far as Oktoberfest shoes and socks go, be sure to avoid:
Heels – I know the ‘gram calls, but you will instantly regret it. You certainly won’t be able to spend an entire day at Oktoberfest, dancing on benches.
Obviously athletic sneakers – Although, if you’re there to attend the opening day celebration, you may actually need some good running shoes.
Open toed shoes – The later you’re at Oktoberfest, the more you’ll have to wade through broken glass on the ground. (I’m looking at you Hofbräu Festzelt.) Definitely avoid open-toed shoes!
Open heeled shoes – Avoid any kind of shoe that you could possibly lose. (You’d be surprised.) Slip-on shoes without heels or straps can easily come off and you do not want to walk through Oktoberfest without shoes on. Horses poop there, you know.
Trying too hard to look “sexy” or whatever this is. (Oh, the things I have seen!) Anything frilly, with bows, over-the-knee, or brightly colored. You get the idea.
Oktoberfest footwear accessories
Here are a few things you may want to consider when shopping for your Oktoberfest footwear:
- Blister pads – It’s never a bad idea to be prepared!
- Memory foam inserts – I always use these for Oktoberfest. They make any shoe a more comfortable shoe.
- Beer-proofing spray – Ok it’s really waterproofing spray, whatever. You’re definitely going to get beer on your shoes at Oktoberfest, so if you’re wearing suede or leather, consider beer-proofing them first!
- Travel shoe bags – I also recommend bringing along these travel shoe bags for your Oktoberfest shoes after you leave the festival. They are going to be diiiirty. You will not want to pack them in your suitcase with the rest of your stuff.
Which kind of Oktoberfest shoes and socks will you be wearing this year?
Let me know in the comments below!
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