“Good shoes take you good places.” – Seo Min Huyn
Embarking on a cruise is an exciting experience—visiting picturesque destinations, enjoying luxurious amenities, and experiencing a range of activities. But as you pack your suitcase for this great adventure, it’s crucial to not overlook the importance of selecting the right shoes.
From exploring exotic ports of call to enjoying onboard activities, having the appropriate footwear can make a significant difference in your comfort and enjoyment throughout your voyage.
In this article, we will explore which types of shoes you should bring on a cruise to ensure that you’re prepared for any adventure that awaits.
Before you set sail, you should consider what activities you plan to partake in during your cruise. Are you going to spend most of your time on the lido deck? Will you be hitting the dance floor each night? Are your excursions primarily water-based or will you be trekking through your port of call?
These considerations will influence what you pack, so be sure to review your itinerary before you decide which footwear to include.
*Links for shoes below will open in a new tab. These are not affiliate links.
If you plan to spend time in the sun…pack sandals or flip flops.
Cruises often feature sunny, beachy destinations, making sandals or flip-flops a must-pack item. Ideally, you can find a pair that is water-friendly and easy to slip on and off. This will make poolside lounging a breeze—no messing with finnicky straps or worrying if you get them wet! Also, look for options with non-slip soles and adjustable straps for a secure fit so that you do not lose your footing on the (sometimes slippery) lido deck.
Flip flops and sandals are perfect for lounging by the pool, strolling on sandy beaches, and exploring the ship!
My recommended sandals and flip flops:
- Tevas—These sandals are secured with a Velcro strap but slip on and off with ease. Offered in a variety of colors and price ranges, these waterproof shoes will certainly be useful on and off the ship.
- OluKai Hokua—These flip flops are specifically designed for seafarers, offering traction to keep you secure on wet surfaces. The straps are water resistant and the quick drying knit helps your feet dry off quicker post-swim.
- Reef Water Vista—For a more fashionable look, these entirely waterproof sandals offer espadrille-style with comfort and traction. These are a great option for cruisers who want a sandal that they can dress up or down.
Read more: Cruise packing made easy in 10 simple steps
If you plan to explore by foot…pack comfortable walking shoes.
A pair of comfortable walking shoes is essential for shore excursions and exploring new destinations. Look for lightweight, breathable options (especially if you’re headed somewhere warm!) with excellent arch support and cushioning.
Sneakers or walking shoes with sturdy soles are ideal for walking on uneven terrain and sightseeing.
If you can, opt for a pair that you have already broken in to avoid blisters and discomfort during long walks. If you are buying a new pair of shoes, give yourself a few weeks to try them out and make sure they will be comfortable for your cruise.
My recommended comfortable walking shoes:
- On Cloud 5—While these are on the more expensive side, these sneakers are lightweight and very comfortable for travel. They are offered in men’s and women’s sizes and come in a variety of colors.
- Scholl’s Scout Walking Shoe—If you plan to do a lot of city walking on your cruise, this casual slip on shoe is a great choice. Perfect for beach excursions and hours of exploring, these shoes come in a variety of colors and styles to best fit your needs.
- New Balance MW411v2 Walking Shoes—These highly rated shoes are lightweight and designed specifically for walking. They have great arch support and offer moisture-controlling perforation to keep your feet feeling fresh all day long.
If you plan to partake in evening on-board activities…pack formal shoes.
Most cruises have formal evenings where elegant attire is expected. For such occasions, bring a pair of dress shoes or heels to complement your formalwear. Men can opt for classic dress shoes, while women may choose stylish heels or dressy flats, even fancy sandals will do. Ensure they are comfortable enough to wear for extended periods, as you may be dancing or attending shows.
You don’t just have to wear these shoes on formal night; dress shoes and heels can be bulky, so if you decide to pack these, try to pack multiple outfits to match and wear on the other evenings of the voyage.
My recommended formal shoes:
- Steve Madden Luxe Heeled Sandal—These gold heels can be dressed up or down, and with the ankle strap, they are sure to stay fixed to your foot as you dance the night away or endure rocky seas at night. I can personally attest to their comfort; I wore these almost every evening of my most recent cruise and walked away blister-free!
- Cole Haan Wingtip Oxfords—These dress shoes have a rubber sole, adding a casual and practical feature to an otherwise formal shoe. These stylish Oxfords are perfect for nighttime activities on board and are sure to keep you comfortable all evening.
- Dolce Vita Atomic Pearl Sandal—These neutral sandals will go with everything, and the added pearls add just enough bling to dress up your evening attire.
If you plan to participate in relaxed on-board activities…pack casual shoes.
When you’re not exploring or attending formal events, casual shoes are perfect for relaxed onboard activities. Choose comfortable options like loafers, boat shoes, or ballet flats that can be paired with casual outfits.
These shoes are suitable for activities like onboard games, lounging at the pool, or enjoying the ship’s entertainment.
My recommended casual shoes:
- Floafers Country Club Penny Loafer—These fun shoes are like Crocs with a twist! Perfect for walking around the ship and pool deck, these loafer-style rubber shoes offer 360-degree ventilation to help drain water away.
- Sperry Boat Shoes—Great for all genders and available in a variety of colors, Sperry are the classic boat shoe for a reason! These are easy to throw on for all ship-based activities, whether it’s a cornhole tournament on the Lido deck or a show in the theatre.
- Espadrilles—These woven flats scream summer and are super comfortable for lounging about the ship. They can be dressed up or down and come in a wide price range depending on the brand you choose (my personal favorites are by Tory Burch!).
If you plan to participate in water-based activities…pack water shoes.
If you plan to participate in water-based activities like snorkeling, kayaking, or swimming, consider bringing water shoes. These shoes are designed to protect your feet from rocks, shells, and other potential hazards in the water. Water shoes provide excellent grip, quick-drying materials, and often have adjustable straps for a secure fit.
They are an excellent choice for both beach days and adventurous water excursions; however, some cruise lines and excursions do offer water shoe rental at a low price, so be sure to check if this is available if you don’t want to purchase or pack your own pair!
My recommended water shoes:
- ANLUKE Water Shoes—These “barefoot” water shoes are barely there, fitting tightly to the foot like a sock. They provide you with anti-slip rubber soles and offer fast drainage with their cross-ventilated design.
- BODY GLOVE 3T Cinch Water Shoe—This water shoe is designed for men and offers an ultra-grip rubber outsole which is perfect for rockier excursions.
- SKECHERS Foamie Water Shoe—This children’s water shoe can be worn from road to sea and is perfect for kids who like a bit of sparkle!
If you plan to work out…pack sneakers.
For fitness enthusiasts, packing a pair of workout shoes is essential. Cruise ships typically offer fitness centers, jogging tracks, and various sports activities.
Bring athletic shoes that provide excellent support and stability for activities like running, yoga, or hitting the gym. Remember to pack moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry during your workouts. Depending on the type of exercise you enjoy, these sneakers might be able to double up as your comfortable walking shoes or casual shoes.
However, be prepared for any shoes you wear off the ship to get wet or dirty, so if you’re not willing to bring dirt into your workout, you may want to pack a dedicated pair of sneakers just for the gym.
My recommended sneakers:
- HOKA ONE ONE Clifton Running Shoes—These shoes are light and durable, offering great support for running and walking alike. They come in a variety of colors and could double as great walking shoes for off-ship excursions.
- Adidas Ultraboost 5.0 DNA Shoes—These lightweight sneakers are perfect for gym-based training like weightlifting. The stylish design means they can also be worn around the ship for various activities and explorations.
- New Balance 574 Core Sneakers—If versatility is your priority, these classic sneakers are comfortable and functional, offering breathable cushioning in a variety of colors.
While you don’t have to pack all of the above, choosing the right shoes for your cruise can greatly enhance your comfort and overall experience. Remember to prioritize comfort, functionality, and versatility when making your shoe choices. While packing, don’t forget to stuff socks into shoes where you can, and alternate heel to toe to maximize space in your suitcase!
Then, with the right footwear, you’ll be ready to step into a world of unforgettable experiences as you set sail on your cruise.
What kind of shoes do you like to bring on a cruise? Let us know in the comments below.