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The Most Comfortable and Best Shoes for a Cruise (14 Options)

When packing for your next family cruise, the shoes you pack may not be the first thing you consider. After all, you’ll want to make sure you have everything that you need for formal nights, themed dinners, shore excursions, and ship activities. For me at least, shoes are the last thing I consider.

It’s important, however, that you pack the right and best shoes for a cruise. There are limited options to purchase replacement pairs of shoes on a cruise ship. In addition, you’ll actually be doing quite a bit of walking, and will want to be comfortable. Some areas of a ship may be a little slippery (especially the stairs and pool deck), so it’s important that you pack shoes with good grips.

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Four pairs of shoes on a cruise ship balcony

The Most Comfortable and Best Shoes for a Cruise (14 Options)

Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Shoes for Your Next Cruise

Packing shoes can be annoying because they often take up lots of space in your luggage. Because of that, I generally recommend that you wear the biggest shoes that you are bringing if you run out of room in your bags.

We also recommend packing your shoes in shoe bags, which can keep your dirty soles off of your clothes. These can be purchased in many stores, and there are some options on Amazon. They are different from a packing cube – instead, they are more of a reusable bag.

For the purposes of this post, we are looking at cruises to the Caribbean or other warm-weather destinations. If you are sailing on an Alaskan cruise, you will most likely need warmer shoes.

Before you go, I recommend looking at your cruise itinerary to make sure you know what type of dress code you may have to follow. While I never recommend overpacking, sometimes it’s best to bring an extra pair if you aren’t sure if you’ll need them. If you are doing a strenuous excursion like Dunn’s River Falls, for instance, you’ll need a pair of shoes with good traction. This list doesn’t include those specific types of shoes.

In addition to the types of shoes, you’ll want to make sure you pack shoes that match your cruise outfits. I generally bring shoes in a neutral color – like black, tan, white, and navy blue. Most of the shoes we have listed below come in different colors, so choose one of the color options that work with most of your clothes. Some cruise lines are more formal than others so do some research before you purchase shoes and/or pack.

If you are buying any new shoes for your Caribbean cruise, it’s a good idea to buy them in advance and try them out. One person’s comfortable pair of shoes may be your uncomfortable shoes. Break them in before walking long distances on vacation.

Here are some of the types of shoes you should consider packing for a cruise, as well as some of our favorite specific shoes. If you have a favorite that we didn’t include, leave us a comment below.

Comfortable Walking Shoes

You’ll want to have some comfortable walking shoes for your cruise. In general, these are shoes that you can wear when touring the local port areas on cruise excursions, for working out, and whenever you may need some extra arch support. You’ll want something that is easy to walk in, and steady on the cobblestone streets you may encounter in ports.

I typically wear sneakers/running shoes to fly, and on my first day on the cruise. While I usually only wear them again when I need to, they are good to have. This is especially important if you have any action activities on your agenda – things like zip lining or rock climbing where you’ll be required to wear close-toed shoes.

I wouldn’t recommend buying any new shoes specifically for this purpose. You are likely to have the perfect pair of sneakers in your closet. However, if you are looking for new shoes, I really love my On Cloud sneakers, which are extremely comfortable for travel.

I own the On Cloud 5 shoes, and these are what I wear for theme park touring, neighborhood walking, flying, and for the first day on a cruise. Hoka is another popular running shoe brand, I find they have good arch support and are comfortable for running. Both of these brands offer different styles.

Dark clouds over infinity pool

Flip Flops and/or Water Shoes

There’s a lot of water associated with cruise ships, especially when you are sailing into the warm weather. You’ll want to have some sort of flip-flops or water shoes to wear when on the pool decks, going into the hot tubs, visiting the spa, or going to a beach in port. Again, be sure these aren’t too slippery.

If you have more adventurous water activities on your agenda, like snorkeling, for instance, you may prefer a more solid water shoe than flip-flops. I generally just bring one pair of flip flops, but if you plan to wear them for most of the vacation, you could bring more than one.

Here are some shoes we’d recommend:

Dress Shoes

Depending on the cruise line you are sailing on, the dress code for the formal night may vary. There may also be a dress code specific to any specialty or deluxe dining that you have reserved. In general, flip-flops are generally not allowed, although dressy flip-flops are sometimes accepted. High heels can be a good idea, as long as you feel comfortable walking in them.

I generally wear somewhat casual, comfortable sandals as my dressy shoes on a cruise. Here are some of my favorite options:

  • Sam Edelman Bay – these are my favorite – they are very versatile shoes and while they aren’t too formal, they are dressy. They work with both more formal and casual outfits
  • Fit Flops – another one of my favorites – there are different styles, including some dressier ones
  • Jack Rogers – these are a great choice, they are a classic warm-weather sandal
  • Tory Burch Miller Sandal – these are almost iconic sandals that look great with shorts and dresses
  • OluKai Moku Pae – these are men’s dress sneakers not dress shoes but can pass as dressy and are a good choice
Various flats in a circle

Ballet Flats

If you are bringing other dress shoes, you may not need ballet flats. But they are easy to pack and very versatile. I generally like wearing them when my feet are tired from wearing my other shoes and I just want some flat comfortable shoes. Here are some of our favorite ballet flats:

Four pairs of shoes on a cruise balcony overlooking the water.

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