After selecting the perfect cruise itinerary, the next big decision for cruise travelers is what to pack for a complete cruise wardrobe in a suitcase with a 50-pound weight limit. Even the most experienced travel packers get stumped when it comes to shoes. Shoes take up the most space in a suitcase, yet everyone needs day shoes, eveningwear, and walking or workout shoes. So many shoes, so little space.
Fortunately for cruise travelers the shoe designers of the world have heard your pleas and have risen to the rescue. The shoe offerings for this cruise season look as though the masters of design walked off the runways of Paris, kicked off the stiletto heels, and dreamed of going on a cruise vacation. The result is an exciting offering of a whole new generation of boat shoes versatile enough to wear on an airplane, a cruise ship deck, or with evening wear in a specialty restaurant on the most elegant ships.
Some might call this genre of shoes boat shoes, deck shoes, skate shoes, slip-on sneakers, or just sneakers. Whatever the fashion lingo, they are comfortable, anti-slip on wet decks, and so stylish that these shoes can cross needs across a cruise wardrobe to solve the shoe space conundrum.
The reliable slip-ons of the 1950s are still available in new fabrics. Keds uses lace and the classic Vans are updated in metallic and pebble embossed leather. Even Dr. Scholl’s has a therapeutic entry into the fashion arena with white-on-black polka dots.
All of the favorite daywear designers have put the thick, white, rubber soles in their line-up. Donald Pilner, Stuart Weitzman, Steve Madden, Tory Burch, Ted Baker London, Cole Haan, Michael Kors, Tods, Salvatore Ferragamo, Vince, and Coach have jumped on board season after season with metallic quilted, animal-look fur, snakeskin embossed and woven or perforated leather boat shoes that comfortable, stylish travelers will want to constantly wear. These are shoes that may never see the inside of a suitcase.
CTH favorites for versatile wear are the age defying, Michael Kors, all-over silver studded, black top shoes that float through airport security and the Alexander McQueen silver-eyelets on black. Rebecca Minkoff and Givenchy offer very tailored black and white options for day into night wear. Stuart Weitzman has created silver camouflage. No one would dare call these stunning shoes sneakers.
For more studs and excitement in animal prints there are boat shoes from Christian Louboutin, Saint Laurent, and Jimmy Choo. Marc Jacobs has taken his doggie face from the popular ballet flats and embossed the little, lovable, heart shaped eyes on boat shoes. Perhaps for next season Marc Jacobs will bring the kitten faces to the water.
High fashion shoe designers have plunged into boat shoes with an eye-candy display of creativity. Versace gives travelers pink patent leather with a jeweled Medusa medallion. Fendi moved from a cautious shoe with their trademark logo last season to the stealth monster-eye boat shoe in black with golden eyes or in cobalt blue for this exciting season. Givenchy put a lovable Bambi on black leather for its version of skater sneakers. The CTH favorites are the offerings from Attilio Gusti Leombruni, which include perforated leather in a quilt design, petrol studs with a black sole, and crystal embellished shoes.
On cruise formal nights there is no longer a reason to revert to stiletto pumps. Prada goes black-tie with black-jeweled tops on black rubber soles. Miu Miu, Kate Spade, and Gucci sparkle in crystal and gems. Paul Green enters in slinky black sequins.
Shoe designers have realized that there is no limit to the fabrics and adornments that can be worked into boat shoes. The broad-top shoes have become an artist canvas for fashion design. Cruise travelers can discover that these shoes will travel to the most exotic ports in style.
A wise person once said that the secret to life is comfortable shoes. Since a cruise vacation is a fun venture, every pair of shoes should be comfortable and fun. With all the offerings to choose from, multi-purpose cruise shoes can be a personal signature item, whether they are soft lace, tailored leather, or outrageous with gems and studs. After all, having space in your suitcase means more room for souvenirs.