Avoid TSA Issues: Don't Wear These Shoes to the Airport


(Image credit: Getty)

Navigating the lines at airport security is miserable, we all know it. But wearing the right things can be the difference between a not-so-great and an awful situation by the time you hit security. While my Birkenstocks are practically glued to my feet, a recent visit to the airport convinced me that they may be better off left in the carry-on

As a proud TSA Prechecker, I've come to rely on the fact that usually I can breeze through airport security in 10 minutes flat, laptop tucked into my bag and shoes still on. But, as I attempted to glide my way through the metal detector, I cringed as I heard the noise everyone in the terminal dreads most, an alarm.

While my Birkenstocks are undeniably comfy, it turns out they aren't exactly TSA-approved and my metal buckles had set off security. Now, I had to trod back, toss my shoes on the conveyor belt and barefooted (yep) go back through the checkpoint. What I considered my easiest pair of shoes turned out to be not-so-easy when it came to crunch time

As it turns out, there are lots of other shoes with hidden metal, apt to set off a metal detector. Take stilettos, for example; many have a metal rod in the heel, but it's tough to tell by simply looking at them. To avoid the germy possibility of striding barefoot through the airport, it's best to avoid anything that might set of the machines and instead stick to basic slide sandals or my footwear of choice, slip-on sneakers. And if you find yourself still needing to remove your shoes, make sure you have socks handy. 

Now that you know, avoid the TSA run-around and shop airport sandals below.


  • Any shoes with buckles or any other large metallic details
  • High heels, especially stilettos
  • Shoes you find uncomfortable (especially since your feet will swell in flight)
  • Keeping socks only in your suitcase
Aemilia Madden