The Best Sandals at Sea: 9 Essential Styles
Casual, formal, comfortable, cute … our picks help narrow your choices. They’re all perfect for cruise getaways — you just have to decide which pair is perfect for you.
Born in the Spanish Pyrenees and popularized by old Hollywood stunners like Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly, this resortwear staple is defined by its braided jute sole. Variations on the classic style abound, from ankle ties to peep-toe wedges; this pair’s leather strap, anchor print, and contrasting red stripes give the original design a fun sailing spin.
Hope espadrilles, $60, Sperry Top-Sider, zappos.com.
You’re going to need a style you can wear with everything, a true multitasker that will complement a number of outfits, day and night. Go with a neutral hue, a low heel, and refined details like an ankle strap, an almond-shaped toe, and a hint of gold trim.
Parisi sandals, $119, talbots.com.
3. Sporty Orthotic, Elevated
We’d all walk around in podiatrist-designed sandals if there were chic options.This style is kind to your feet — and your back and knees — so you can make your way about the ship comfortably, pack in the shore excursions, and dance the night away.
Amber sandals, $80, Vionic® with Orthaheel® Technology, zappos.com.
4. Evening Shoe
When clad in satin or peau de soie, any sandal silhouette can become special occasion-ready. Add a slender, 4-inch heel — or higher — and crystal accents, and you’ll have every black-tie dress code covered.
Roslyn sandals, $89, ninashoes.com.
5. Mediterranean-Inflected Flat
Conjuring the French Riviera, Santorini, and Capri, a flat sandal with colorful, vaguely ethnic embroidery or beading — and laces that snake up the leg or ankle — has Bohemian, Euro-chic appeal.
Gabriele flat sandals, $150, houseofharlow1960.com.
This shoe gives you the height of a slim, elegant heel — without the foot or back pain. Wedge-heel styles are blissfully walkable, come in a range of casual to dressy iterations, and no other shoe has such a flattering effect on the leg.
Orsola wedges, $100, Circa Joan & David, zappos.com.
7. Fancy Flip-Flop
Rubber flip-flops are de rigueur on cruise ships, but if the scene is as relaxed as it is high-class, then dress the part: Jewels and other embellishments instantly elevate a casual thong to the height of glamour and sophistication.
Silver Rhinestone thong sandals, $16, amiclubwear.com.
This footwear is very ’70s bombshell, perfect for disco night or a performance of “Mamma Mia.” This taupe leather style also wins points for versatility — pair with a floaty chiffon midi skirt or the season’s high-waist shorts. (Yes, they’re back in vogue!)
Chunky Heel Platform sandals, $40, lightinthebox.com.
9. Nautical Novelty
Anchors, lobsters, whales, sand dollars, regatta flags … if there’s any time to sport a seaside/sailing motif, it’s definitely during your cruise. Crisp and classic prep, maritime stripes are a perennial favorite and wear like a neutral.
One Woman Cabana sandals, $40, modcloth.com.
Vionic and Orthaheel are registered trademarks of VCG Holdings Ltd.
Join The Discussion
What shoes do you like to bring on your cruise?