To foot or not to foot, that is the question.
There are a few ways to shoe shillelelagh. In the late 1800s it became fashionable to put brass ferrules on the feet of walking sticks to increase their durability and add a stylistic element of appeal.Some people consider this an absolutley mandatory part of a well made stick, and others are perfectly happy to do without them.
The unshod shillelagh is the more historically “authentic” which can sway traditionalists.
However these were also staves from a time when absolutely zero value was put on how a staff looked, and often bark was removed or obscured by lead or “blacking”. The fact that bark was likely to chip or peel around the foot of the stave was (to the countryman who probably blacked his staff every time he shined his boots), pretty irrelevant.
Today however we often like to leave our staves un-blacked, to show some of the colour and variation of the wood through (and because we like to go for walks without staining our hands with lead or polish).
For that reason, the combination of natural bark, and a sturdy brass ferrule on a shillelagh can preserve its aesthetic appeal, despite losing “authenticity” points with the fussbudgets.