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. 

espadrille cruise sandal fashion style clothing

Photo by Sperry Top-sider

1. Espadrille

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,

talbot cruise sandal fashion style clothing

Photo by Talbots

2. Workhorse

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,

vionic cruies sandal fashion clothing style

Photo by Vionic

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,

nina cruise sandals heels clothing fashion

Photo by Nina 

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,

house of harlow cruise sandal fashion

Photo by House of Harlow

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,

Photo by Circa Joan & David

6. Wedge 

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,

ami cruise sandal fashion clothing style

Photo by AMI Clubwear

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,

platform cruise sandals fashion clothing style

Photo by Light in the Box

8. Platform 

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, 

modcloth cruise sandal style fashion

Photo by Modcloth

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,


Vionic and Orthaheel are registered trademarks of VCG Holdings Ltd. 


Join the discussion

What shoes do you like to bring on your cruise?

1 Comment

Posted by meghad23

I just got 2 pairs of sandals from Sketchers that have the Yoga Mat foam soles. They are SUPER comfortable (Tested at work) and you can get them where they look fancy enough to wear with a dress. I got one brown, and one black!

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