How many pairs of shoes do you need to pack for a cruise and what are the best shoes for a cruise. There are 3 essential cruise shoes but 5 that are recommended.

Best Shoes for a Cruise

When preparing for a cruise vacation you may be wondering what the best shoes for a cruise are and how many pairs of shoes should you take on a cruise. 

Shoes can easily take up a lot of luggage space and understandably you may want to limit the number of shoes you bring on a cruise. 

This article will cover

  1. Essential cruise shoes
  2. Additional recommended shoes for a cruise
  3. Shoes packing tips

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How many pairs of shoes should you take on a cruise?

The bare minimum is 3 but there are 5, maybe 6 types of shoes I’d recommend bringing on a cruise.  Those 3 essential types of cruise shoes are listed below.

Regardless which shoes you bring on a cruise, make sure they are comfortable.  Comfortable walking shoes are so important, your day exploring a beautiful Caribbean Island can easily be ruined if your feet are blistered and sore.

Shoes to bring on a cruise lists the 3 essential types to pack but includes 2 other types of shoes recommended for a cruise vacation.  Are these on your cruise packing list?

Essential shoes for a cruise

1.  Walking sandals

A good quality, comfortable walking sandal is a great choice for travel shoes.

Choose a sandal with a comfortable foot bed and good arch support.  Also one that has a heel strap, good traction, and is made from waterproof material.

A walking sandal can be worn around the ship as well as on most cruise excursions.  They are a great choice for exploring the shops along cobblestone streets, active shore excursions, or for any day that you will be doing any kind of walking.

Walking sandals are definitely one of the best shoes for a cruise and likely the ones you will spend the most time in.

Here are some different options, any of these would be a good choice for a cruise.

Teva Women's Tirra Sandal,Bering Sea,8 US

Skechers womens On-the-go 600 - Brilliancy Sport Sandal, Black, 6 US

Clarks Women's Mira Bay Flat Sandal, Stone Textile, 8 Wide

Click on any of the pictures to check price and different color options.

Skechers Men's Tresmen-Garo Open Toe Water Sandal, Chocolate, 10 Medium US

Teva Men's Katavi 2 Sandal, Black Olive, 11

Skechers mens Louden sandals, Brown, 9 US

TIP – Make sure to put sunscreen on the tops of your feet.  It is something that people often forget to do.  The last thing you want is a bad sunburn on your feet – ouch!

2. Runners/Sneakers

If your first thought is “I’ll just wear my sandals”, consider this.  Some of the cruise ship ‘s fun activities require close toed shoes.  Activities vary cruise ship to cruise ship, but if your ship has for example, rock climbing, a ropes course, zip lining, or laser tag you will need close toed shoes like runners. 

Certain adventurous shore excursions such as horse back riding, ATV tours and zip lining will also likely require you to wear closed toe shoes.

Most, if not all cruise ships have a fitness center, if a work out on a cruise vacation is in your plans then you will need gym shoes.

3. Dress shoes

Dress shoes are the 3rd essential type of shoes for a cruise. 

Cruise lines have a dress code that you will need to follow to dine in the main dining room. 

While each cruise line may be slightly different, on a 7 night cruise you can expect 2 formal nights and a “smart casual” or “resort casual” dress code for the remaining nights.  Check your cruise line’s website.

One thing to keep in mind with dress shoes for a cruise is that the cruise ship is always moving.  High heels, especially the stiletto  type heel is not the best choice for a cruise.  Low heels or a chunkier style might be best if you still want a heel.

DREAM PAIRS Womens Low Heel Pump Shoes, Black/Nubuck - 9 (Annee)

DREAM PAIRS Womens Nubuck Bridal Wedding Low Heel Pump Shoes, Black/Nubuck - 5 (Luvly)

DREAM PAIRS Womens Low-Chunk Low Heel Pump Sandal Gold/Glitter - 8

Here are some cute low heel options that would be great for formal night if you are needing new dress shoes. You can click any of the pictures to check price and see the different color options.

If you are looking for men’s dress shoes click the button below to see different style options.

Tip – Bring band aids for your heels in case your dress shoes start to rub.  A great travel hack.

This where it might be tough to limit your cruise shoes to 3.  It isn’t easy finding dress shoes that work just as well for casual outfits.

While you can get away with just walking sandals, runners and a pair of dress shoes on a cruise, I’d suggest pack 2, maybe even 3 other types.  I’ll explain below why you might want these other shoes.

Related posts:

What to Wear on a Carnival Cruise – Caribbean

16 Best Things to Take on a Cruise

What Toiletries to Pack for a Cruise

50+ Awesome Cruise Shirts

Best shoes for a cruise

Here are the 2 other types of shoes I recommend you pack for a cruise.

4.  Casual shoes

I’d also recommend packing a nicer pair of casual shoes for your cruise.  Ones that are in-between a walking sandal and dress shoes.  Choose casual shoes that can go with multiple outfits.  Your casual shoes can be worn on the non-formal nights.

Best shoes for a cruise – Women’s casual

Consider a dressier sandal or a cute wedge shoe.  You could wear these with a cute sundress or a nice maxi dress. 

Here are some stylish shoes that would be perfect for a cruise vacation. Click a picture to check prices.

Toms Women's Majorca Cutout Sandal - Natural Yarn-dye, 7.5 B(M) US

Naturalizer Women's, Areda Sandal Black 8 M

Lucky Brand Women's Mindra Espadrille Wedge Sandal, Natural/plat, 8.5

Plaka Palm Leaf Flat Summer Sandals for Women | Perfect for The Beach Walking & Dressy Occasions | Ivory | Size 8

This flat sandal comes in several different colors.

Men’s casual cruise shoe options

A slip on casual wear shoe like boat shoes (deck shoes) in a neutral color would be a great choice for men to wear on a cruise.

Hey Dude Men's Wally Washed Canvas Black Size 10 | Men's Shoes | Men's Slip-on Loafers | Comfortable & Light-Weight

Jousen Men's Casual Shoes Memory Foam Mens Fashion Sneakers 3 Eyelets Business Dress Sneaker (A81Q06 Yellow Brown 11.5)

Sperry Men's Billfish 3-eye Boat Shoe Dark Tan 9.5 M

Skechers Men's VOLGO Melson Canvas Slip-On Moccasin Shoe, Black, 11 Medium US

Click on any of the above pictures to shop check the prices on Amazon.

Tip – If you are buying new shoes for travel, be sure to wear them around the house first to break them in and minimize sore feet.

 5. Flip Flops

Even though you have packed walking sandals, it’s a good idea to pack a pair of flip flops, especially for a Caribbean cruise or another warm weather cruise. 

Flip flops are the best to wear with your bathing suit on the pool deck and for beach excursions with minimal walking.  They are just so darn easy to slip on and off. 

The above 5 are the shoes I’d recommend everyone pack for a cruise, this last type of shoes for a cruise are not essential but is a good idea for some people.

6.  Water shoes

Depending on what you plan to do on your shore excursions, you may want to pack a pair of water shoes.  Water shoes are best if you are planning on spending a lot of time in the ocean as they will help prevent cuts, scrapes and punctures from coral or glass. 

Consider water shoes for little kids to protect their feet from both the hot sand and any debris in the sand as they run up and down the beach.  They will stay on their feet better than flip flops or sandals.

Here are some water shoes options for the whole family.

VIFUUR Water Sports Unisex Shoes Black - 12.5-13 W US/ 11-11.5 M US (44-45)

Sunnywoo Water Shoes for Kids Girls Boys,Toddler Kids Swim Water Shoes Quick Dry Non-Slip Water Skin Barefoot Sports Shoes Aqua Socks for Beach Outdoor Sports,5.5-6.5 Toddler,Blue Octopus

Cruise packing tips for shoes

1. Packing cube for flat shoes

If you aren’t using a packing cube, be sure to put your shoes in a plastic bag for the same reasons as above.

Adwaita 6 Set Packing Cubes, Travel Luggage Packing Organizers (Blue)

2. Put a dryer sheet in your shoe bag

Putting a dryer sheet in your packing cube or bag of shoes will help with any shoe odor.


3. Pack your shoes first at the bottom of your suitcase

When packing for your cruise, put your shoes in first along with other heavy items.  This will keep them from squishing and wrinkling your clothes. 

Place the shoes in your suitcase where the wheels are, this way when you stand your suitcase up to carry or wheel it, your shoes are at the bottom.  This also minimized wrinkles.

4. Pack smaller items in your shoes

This is more for newer shoes or dress shoes that you haven’t worn that often.  You can use the space inside your shoes to pack things like socks and belts.

In summary the best shoes for a cruise are:

  • Walking sandals
  • Running shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Casual shoes
  • Flip Flops

I hope this has helped you prepare for your cruise.