Is it allowed to pray whilst wearing shoes?
In short, yes it is halal (permissible) for a muslim to pray their Salah in their shoes provided their wudu is valid and there is no obvious impurities (i.e. feces, urine and blood) on the shoes.
What is the Islamic consensus on how preferable it is to pray in shoes?
It is mustahab (recommended action but if it is not completed then there is no punishment). The evidence for this can be found in the hadith as follows:
“Be different from the Jews, who do not pray in their shoes or in their leather slippers (khufoof).” (Abu Dawood, 652; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 607).
Does the way I do my wudu (ablution) change?
Generally speaking the way in which a person performs their wudu is no different from how they would do it normally. But if you are doing wudu with your shoes on then you can only do so if you were already in a state of tahara (purity) i.e. by completing wudu without your shoes and not breaking it before you put your shoes on.
Then if you find yourself having to do wudu again when you have your shoes on then you can wet your hand and lightly wipe over your shoes/any area in which you feel may have impurities on them.
Are there any edge cases in which I cannot pray in my shoes?
There was an occurrence in which the Prophet Muhammad was praying and he took his shoes off mid-prayer as he was informed by the angel Jibril that there was impurities on his shoes and he removed them.
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri who said: “While the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was leading his companions in prayer, he took off his shoes and placed them to his left. When the people saw that, they took off their shoes too. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) finished his prayer, he asked, ‘What made you take off your shoes?’ They said, ‘We saw you take off your shoes, so we took ours off too.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Jibreel (peace be upon him) came to me and told me that there was something dirty on them.’ When any one of you comes to the mosque, let him look and if he sees anything dirty on his shoes, let him wipe them and then pray in them.” (Abu Dawood, 650; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 605).
Can I go inside a mosque and pray with my shoes on?
Albeit a sunnah, however in today’s day and age it is not advisable to wear shoes in the masjid that have been worn outside. This is due to the simple reason that most people are unaware of the permissibility of praying with your shoes on. Also unless you can guarantee that there is no dirt on your shoes then it’s best to avoid it otherwise you could offend someone who sees you and doesn’t understand what you are doing.
If you would like to perform this sunnah then it is best for you to practice this in a place where it is socially acceptable to wear your shoes such as anywhere outdoors or a place indoors which is free from furnishings.
What if there is dust/dirt on my shoes?
It is important to remember that for the purpose of prayer that performing ablution in absence of water can be completed with dust, and it is for this reason that we need not to worry cleaning the dust that our shoes may have accumulated as we walk in them.