The Shoe Mistakes Flight Attendants Never Make When Traveling


(Image credit: Marc Piasecki/GC Images)

As fashion editors, we can (and do) give travel wardrobe advice until the cows come home, but there's no one on the planet with more wisdom on this subject than those who literally travel for a living: flight attendants. And unlike the rest of us, they have to stand the majority of the time that they're traveling from city to city, so who better to reach out to for shoe advice? We tapped four flight attendants who have logged hundreds of thousands of miles in the air to tell us what the travel shoe mistakes they'd never make are, and their responses were definitely worth noting for your next trip to the airport. Read on for their tips and to shop the shoe styles that each recommends.

Madeline Mandeville, Delta Air Lines flight attendant

"I wouldn't wear any shoe that's hard to get off and on because it's a pain when going through security. Always wear close-toed for multiple reasons, but especially if it's cold on the plane, and always bring socks for a long flight! Always comfortable shoes in case you're connecting and walking from gate to gate in a big airport. Good loose tennis shoes or booties are always easy!"

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Jessica Parr, London-based flight attendant

"Never wear snug shoes on a flight, as feet swell. I always go up half a size because of this. Also, a solid heel for max comfort, and put in insoles that are a good fit with your arches. And always break them in before wearing them for a long flight."

Follow: @thelayoverlife_

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Mahealani Kiana Puha, Delta Air Lines flight attendant

"Getting through security is a hassle, and unless you have TSA PreCheck, don't wear lace-up shoes or you'll be that person at security waiting to unlace your shoes. They are also not very comfortable on the planes due to your feet expanding in the air. Always wear a shoe that isn't tight and lets your feet breathe, otherwise, your feet will be uncomfortable for hours. If you choose to wear flip-flops, make sure you bring a pair of socks to wear on the plane. Your feet will get cold due to them being next to the airplane's walls near the heat escapes. Also, no one likes to see bare feet."

Follow: @mahealanikpuha

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Stacey Townsend, Seattle-based flight attendant

"As flip-flops are great to slide on to head down to the pool, as a flight attendant, they are not my footwear of choice when exploring a new city. Flip-flops offer no support, which is basically my worry. There's [also] so much bacteria. Wearing flip-flops, you can get blisters and then bacteria can get onto your feel."

Follow: @staceyrtownsend

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Next up, read all about (and shop) the bottomless Mary Poppins bag that this editor won't travel without.

This story was published at an earlier date and has been recently updated.

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.