What Shoes To Wear on A Cruise

Dear Deborah,

I am going on a cruise  and I’m wondering what shoes to pack? On board there will be formal nights, and casual nights and I will need shoes for the land excursions. 

I don’t want to pack too many shoes but I do want to make sure I have the right shoes for my outfits and the different activities.

Can you help me figure out how many and what kind of shoes to bring? Thanks, Sandra

Hi Sandra,

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to packing for a cruise, and space is limited,  but don’t worry because it is really quite simple. Here’s a look at the 4 shoes you will need in your suitcase.

Shoes for a Cruise


1. Comfortable Walking Shoes

Whether you getting some morning exercise motoring around the ship or pounding the pavement in an ancient city, you will need some kind of very comfy walking shoe. There’s no need to limit yourself to a clunky sneaker when there are so many sleek and foot friendly walking shoes out there. Some of the most popular types  in the last few years have been a slip on sneaker flat or the poplar Mary Jane. Classic rubber shoes or canvas slip ons are popular too.

Another option if you prefer a slightly dressier walking shoe is a cushioned ballet flat. These look great with sundresses and skinny cropped pants and capris. Check out this post on the best walking shoes to get a complete look at what is available.

Whatever you choose keep in mind that ship decks can be wet and slippery, so your best best is a shoe that has a rubber sole, and is low heeled or flat for extra traction.

2. A Wedge or a Low Block Heel Sandal

There are many times on board when you will wear a sundress and you need a little height, but you don’t want a high heel, so I suggest a low, chunkier block heel shoe or a wedge. Low in your books could be anywhere from an inch to 2.5 inches. It just depends on what you are used to.  These types of shoes also look great with wide leg palazzo pants and cropped skinny pants too.

3. Sexy, Strappy Shoe

The other kind of shoe you will want to tuck in your suitcase is a sexy pump and sky high is the limit on height here. For some gals a heel is a couple of inches is plenty, for others 4 inches feel right. It doesn’t really matter so long as the shoe looks slim and sexy. A strappy high heel sandal is best for a balmy cruise. Closed toe pumps belong at home.

A sexy high heel is perfect for the formal ship dinners when you want to get all glammed up or you want to add some sexiness to a more casual look. If you are confused about which color to take, choose a neutral color like black, nude or a metallic  because it works with everything.

4. Slip -on or Easy Wear Flat Sandals

There’s a lot of walking on cruise ships from the room to the pool, the pool to the dining room and everywhere inbetween. You are going to be traipsing through a lot of long hallways to get to where you want to go so even if you are just running out for a moment you need a pair of sandals you can just slip on and go. Some kind of flip-flop, sporty slide or pretty no fuss sandal is perfect for this and does double duty around the slippery pool decks. This year dressed up athletic type slides are very popular so you might want to check those out and see if they could work for you.

So there you go! You’ve got your footwear covered.  Now what outfits do you pack for a cruise? I have some ideas for you.


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  1. Jan Pytlarz says:

    Thanks for this timely article! I am going to Mexico next month, and these tips are great. I wish I had seen this during the summer, I’m not sure where to find a summery maxi dress at this point. Good tips though!