Are you planning a trip to Hawaii and are unsure of what shoes to wear? One of the biggest mistakes tourists coming to Hawaii make is wearing the wrong types of shoes (that and forgetting to put in the sunscreen). This will lead to sore feet, which will put a damper on your entire trip. In order to enjoy your visit, paring the right shoes with the right Hawaiian activities is essential!


Footwear for the Polynesian Cultural Center  

While it is very common on the Hawaiian Islands to go barefoot or wear flip-flops (locals call them slippers), you should never spend the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center or any of the many outdoor activities across our island without the proper footwear. Make sure you wear some good walking shoes or sneakers! Wearing closed-toe shoes is also helpful to ensure the tops of your feet do not get sunburned.   

Sneakers are the best shoes to wear during your visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Exploring the 42 acres of the Center, while wearing the right shoes, like sneakers or closed-toe shoes, will help your day to be comfortable and fun.


Footwear while hiking  

The North Shore has many amazing hikes. Some with waterfalls, some without. For any hikes with water, wear hiking sandals or waterproof trail-runner shoes. Make sure the shoes you wear for hiking have good traction so you don’t slip on the trails. Do not wear flip-flops while hiking. Remember to break in any shoes you plan on hiking in! To find places to hike on the North Shore, check out this article: 

hiking shoes photo

Hiking sandals or waterproof trail runner shoes are great for hiking on Hawaii islands. Buy the style that won’t let you slip on the trails. 


Footwear for the beach  

Hawaii has many beautiful beaches. Some have sand, some have rocks and some have coral. Do some research on the beach you plan to visit in order to see what kind of shoes to wear. For sandy beaches, wear flip-flops that you can take off easily. For rocky beaches or beaches with coral, bring water shoes with thicker soles. For more info on beaches to visit on the North Shore, click here:  

photo of a good backstrap shoes to wear on a rocky beach

One example of a good back strap footwear to wear on a rocky path or beach.


Footwear for other activities  

Are you planning on doing some shopping? Maybe you are looking forward to touring a pineapple plantation? For these activities, wear nice walking shoes or sneakers. Wearing closed-toed shoes will ensure the tops of your feet won’t get sunburned, however they should be lightweight and the material needs to be breathable.

You can also wear flip-flops for leisure activities, like shopping. However, if you will be walking a lot, make sure your shoes have some arch support. The most important consideration is to make sure they’re comfortable.  

Flip-flops are an open type of footwear worn for shopping and walking. In other words, flip-flops are commonly worn for casual events and walks and seldomly worn for formal occasions. .


For more information on dressing for your trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center, check out this article: 

For more tips about your visit to the Center, read this article:

To discover other great Oahu based activities, visit these links:,


Bio of Sloane Tipton, Brigham Young University – Hawaii student and Guest Blogger

Sloane is majoring in business management at Brigham Young University –  Hawaii and is from Arizona. When she isn’t studying or working, you can find her at the beach or hanging out with friends.