Cruise Footwear 101: What Shoes You’ll Actually Need Onboard

Cruise Footwear can’t be neglected when you start planning for your next cruise vacations. Packing for a cruise involves thinking through your clothing and footwear needs for a variety of situations – navigating the ship, dress codes for dinners, and excursions at ports. Having the right shoes can make your cruise much more comfortable and stylish. This guide will break down the essential cruise footwear you should pack for men, women and kids.

Must-Have Shoes for Cruising

1. Deck Shoes

You’ll likely spend a lot of time walking around the ship’s deck, so having good deck shoes is a cruise must-have. Look for shoes with non-slip soles that easily transition from the pool to restaurants.

For men: boat shoes, loafers, or slip-on sneakers work well

For women: flats, water shoes, espadrilles, or sandals with straps are comfortable options

2. Pool/Water Shoes

Pack a pair of shoes specifically for the pool and hot tub that can get wet and provide protection. Look for sandals with good traction or water shoes made of mesh or quick-drying materials. Having shoes you can wear in the water prevents injuries or picking up germs on your feet.

3. Evening/Dress Shoes

Formal nights, gala dinners, and cruise ship performances will require more stylish shoes. Be sure to bring evening shoes that work with your formal attire.

For men: loafers, oxfords, or dress boots are recommended

For women: heels, wedges, dressy sandals, or ballet flats in neutral colors

4. Walking/Excursion Shoes

When you get off the ship at various cruise ports, you’ll likely do a lot of walking during shore excursions. Pack sneakers or comfortable walking shoes with good arch support. prioritize lightweight and breathable shoes that won’t cause blisters.

5. Sandals

Having a stylish pair of sandals is great for tropical or beach cruise destinations. Opt for neutral colors that can be dressed up or down. An ankle strap helps keep sandals securely on while walking on the ship.

6. Flip Flops/Slides

Pack a pair of flip flops or slide sandals to wear around your cabin or for a quick jaunt to the pool. They should be easy to kick off.

Cruise Footwear Considerations


Think about the climate you’ll be sailing through – warm weather cruises call for lightweight shoes and sandals, while Alaska or Northern Europe cruises require warmer shoes and boots. Check the itinerary for how much time you’ll spend outside versus indoors.

Dress Code

Most cruise ships have suggested evening wear guidelines, ranging from smart casual to formal nights. Make sure you have formal footwear that aligns with the dress code to avoid being denied entry!

Cruise Footwear

Port Excursions

If you plan to get off the ship and be active at ports, pack proper footwear for the excursions you have planned – hiking, biking, beach visits, city touring, etc. Water shoes also come in handy if doing water sports.

Space Limitations

Cruise cabins have limited storage, so choose versatile shoes in neutral colors that can be re-worn easily. Limit bulky shoe options.

Non-Slip Soles

Ship decks can be slippery with water and rain, so shoes with rubber traction or non-skid soles are a must for safety.

Boat Shoes: The perfect slip-on shoes for walking the decks that look sharper than sneakers. Go for leather or mesh styles.

Loafers: Classy, comfortable, and lightweight – ideal for both casual and dressy nights. Look for slip-on or lace-up leather loafers.

Sneakers: Pack one pair of nice white leather sneakers that can be paired with jeans or trousers. Avoid bulky athletic sneakers.

Oxfords: Choose black or brown leather oxfords with non-slip soles for formal nights and events requiring dress shoes.

Sandals: Leather or canvas slide sandals work well poolside. For evenings, try leather sandals in black, brown, or tan.

Flip Flops: Useful for the pool deck, spa, or wearing in the cabin. Opt for thin, basic styles.

Top Women’s Cruise Shoes

Ballet Flats: Pack neutral colored ballet flats that match everything from daytime sundresses to cocktail attire.

Loafers/Smoking Slippers: These classically stylish shoes work for casual wear but still look sharp for evening.

Wedges/Espadrilles: These add height while remaining comfortable for all-day wear. Great for sightseeing at ports.

Sandals: Bring an assortment of flat, dressy, and casual sandals for day and night. Ankle straps are best for walking on the ship.

Water Shoes: Have a pair specifically for water activities and shore excursions. Mesh and quick-dry materials work best.

Pumps/Heels: At least one pair each of nude and black heels should be packed for formal nights and elegant dining.

Flip Flops: Pack a basic pair for poolside or wearing in your stateroom.

Kids Cruise Footwear Tips

For kids, choose shoes with Velcro closures or slip-on styles for ease getting on and off. Since kids’ feet are still growing, opt for slightly bigger sizes they can grow into and avoid designer shoes – they will likely get trashed!

  • Athletic sneakers for playing on deck
  • Closed toe water shoes for safety by the pool
  • Sandals for port days and casual dining
  • Dress shoe or ballet flat for formal nights

Final Cruise Footwear Tips

  • Pack shoes you’ve broken in – brand new shoes risk blisters
  • Include shoe accessories like spanx for heels or insoles for comfort
  • Bring shoes cleaners wipes to keep white soles looking fresh
  • Allow shoes to air and dry fully between wears to avoid odors
  • Check cruise docs for any footwear restrictions at ports or venues
  • If concerned about space, limit to 1 pair per ship activity type

Having the right footwear for a cruise makes all the difference in comfort and style. Follow this guide to ensure you bring versatile options that take you from the pool deck to formal nights with ease and class. Focus on quality over quantity and your feet will thank you after those long days exploring on and off the ship!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Cruise Footwear

Q: What kind of shoes do people wear at cruise?

A: Cruise passengers tend to wear very casual, comfortable shoes during the daytime like water shoes, sandals, sneakers or boat shoes. For evenings and formal nights, dress shoes like heels, loafers or oxfords are more common.

Q: Do you wear shoes on a cruise ship?

A: Yes, shoes are required to be worn in all public indoor areas of a cruise ship including restaurants, theaters, shops, and casinos for health and hygiene reasons. Shoes are optional only in pools, spas or your personal cabin.

Q: What do you wear on your feet on a cruise?

A: During the day, shoes like flip flops, pool slides, sneakers or sandals are typical. In the evenings for dining, passengers wear flats, heels, dress sandals or loafers to match their attire. Having versatile shoes for daytime activities and evenings is key.

Q: What shoes for men on cruise?

A: Recommended cruise shoes for men include boat shoes, loafers, leather sandals, canvas sneakers, oxfords or dress boots. Focus on comfortable, versatile shoes with non-slip soles that work for casual and formal settings.

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