Best Types of Shoes for Cruises – For Any Need

Worried about overpacking shoes for cruises? Here’s how to choose the most versatile shoes and what you need for what occasion.

When going on a cruise, it is essential to pack the proper footwear and not to overpack. Shoes take up a lot of room in a suitcase. And you may not even wear half of them! When selecting shoes, be practical since you’re going to spend time on your feet, but you can also pack a few fashionable items. We outline the best shoes for cruises.

The best tip regarding footwear is to pack shoes that are, above all, comfortable, but they can be stylish and versatile, too. Choosing the right shoes prevents you from overpacking and allows you to pair what you have with other outfits

The shoes we recommend are perfect for evening and daytime and take you from casual days to formal nights.

What Type of Shoes Do You Need?

Determining how many shoes to bring depends on your stay and the shore excursions. Most people scale things back to four to six pairs of footwear for seven to 14-night cruises. Some can get away with only three pairs if packing light. However, more options will give you flexibility and allow you to pair different styles with your outfits.

If you are prone to having your feet or ankles swell, you can change shoes between day and nighttime. Many guests pack open-back shoes to accommodate swelling as they are more generous and easier to get into.

For Warm Climates

Warm weather cruises require different types of footwear, including:

  • Flip flops
  • Wedges or casual sandals
  • Walking shoes or sneakers
  • Water shoes
  • Dress shoes

Don’t bring brand new shoes on a cruise. A cruise is not a good time to break them in, as you want to avoid blisters and calluses. Choose proper fitting shoes, especially if you plan to do a lot of walking or hiking on your shore excursions.

Packing for Cruise with Shoes
Photo Credit: nistordrag83 / Shutterstock

For Cold Climates

For an Alaskan cruise, it is advisable to bring:

  • Warm shoes
  • Hiking boots
  • Insulated boots
  • Ankle boots
  • Waterproof shoes

Water-resistant shoes can let water in, so go with waterproof ones instead. The difference between waterproof and water-resistant is that the seams are sealed and treated in a waterproof shoe. Also, the tongues go higher on the foot, keeping water from seeping in.

What Is the Best Type of Shoes for Cruises and Why?

While you can bring many shoes, only a handful are truly advisable. Here is our packing list and why each is important for your trip.

Flip Flops

Great for warm weather, flip-flops are comfortable and convenient. They are great when walking around the cruise ship deck or going to the pool. They take up little room, and you can carry them in a tote when going out on excursions.

Flip Flops
Flip Flops (Photo Credit: New Africa / Shutterstock)

Note that you should not wear flip-flops in all circumstances just because you can easily pack them. This type of footwear is not advisable if you are going for a hike or walking for extended periods. 

These shoes will not protect your foot against sprains and strains as there is no ankle protection. If you are hiking, you can easily get scraped and cut, and you may quickly discover the ball of your foot and calves become tired or sore.


Sandals are more comfortable because you can choose wisely and according to the occasion. Sandals are a versatile choice as you can dress them up or down. They also pair easily with various outfits and can keep you cool on humid days.

You can wear them for cruise excursions or short walking trips. The best sandals have a cork base and arch support to avoid foot fatigue. The cork warms up as you wear the sandals and conforms to your foot, making them more comfortable.

Sandals (Photo Credit: Semyon Nazarov / Shutterstock)

Choose sandals with a backstrap or enclosed back to prevent the same issue you would have with flip-flops. Espadrilles are suitable for serving a dual function. They are versatile in terms of what you can pair them with; they look classy and offer proper ankle support.

It is also good to wear sandals with a heel lower than two inches. Any more than that will harm your posture since it throws the stomach forward and arches the back.

Lightweight Sneakers

Walking shoes with mesh are perfect for warm climates as they are more breathable. In addition, consider moisture-wicking socks when necessary. Not only do they keep your feet dry, but they also eliminate foot odor.

Lightweight Sneakers
Lightweight Sneakers (Photo Credit: artyme83 / Shutterstock)

These shoes are not great for formal events but are wonderful for cruise excursions and activities. Always ensure they have adequate arch support, and wear the best shoe for whatever activity you’re doing. 

  • Walking shoes are great for walking or milling around. They offer no midsole support, so you shouldn’t wear them for side-to-side movements or if you require ankle support.
  • You can wear running shoes while running or walking. They are great for people who have difficulty walking as they have rocker soles, making forward movement more manageable and fluid. It works well for those with knee and ankle injuries, too.
  • Cross trainers or hiking shoes are ideal for hiking or side-to-side motion because they are stable through the midsole. They may not have as much arch support but will prevent you from rolling your ankle.


These are versatile shoes you can dress up or down and take up little space. They offer more of a heel than a flat sandal and more stability than a traditional high heel.

Wedges Shoes
Wedges (Photo Credit: Stock Holm / Shutterstock)

The same rules for flip-flops and sandals apply to wedges. While they may provide better stability, there is a chance of hurting your ankle if they are too high, having calluses or blisters from friction, and a sore back from the height.

Read Also: Set Sail With Must-Pack Cruise On Gear

Dress Shoes

Dress shoes are great for formal occasions. You can combine some with other outfits, and they are a must for any cruise vacation.

Again, watch the heels. They are not great for your posture, feet, or back. You are fine if you wear them for short durations or while sitting. However, if you are going dancing, you may quickly regret this fashion statement. 


Regarding the best shoes for cruises, you need to be versatile and practical in your selection. Choose comfortable shoes that won’t cause you physical pain. Also, wear the correct shoe for the right occasion.

Haiyan Ma
Haiyan Ma
I absolutely love cruising with my favorite ports of call being in the Caribbean. As a former crew member for Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Line I can continue my passion by sharing my experiences with readers. Find out more about us here.


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