I Cringe Every Time I See These Shoes at the Airport

I don't know about you, but I tend to look at people's shoes a lot, especially when I travel. Over the course of the past year, there was a particular shoe style I kept seeing on people's feet. If you're thinking flip-flops, we're on the same page. What kills me is that there are so many shoe trends out there that are just as easy and comfortable as flip-flops but are significantly more protective of your feet.

I wanted to know how flip-flops rank on the airport practicality spectrum for travel shoes from the experts themselves, so I reached out to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein and a flight attendant for a major airline. While you can certainly wear flip-flops to an airport, Farbstein pointed out that "they are thin-soled, [and] they still will need to be removed at the TSA checkpoint, which typically means bare feet on the floor." So making the security process easier certainly isn't a valid reason to wear them.

The flight attendant told me, "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. They offer no support, which is basically my worry." I asked what she thought of wearing them to the airport and flying in them, and she responded, "I mean, it's gross. There are so many bacteria. Wearing flip-flops, you can get blisters, and then bacteria can get into your feet." Yikes, right?

Instead of flip-flops, here are six shoe styles that are much better options for the airport. See which celebs travel in them and shop the styles below.


You truly can't go wrong with just wearing a pair of cool sneakers to the airport.


(Image credit: Backgrid)

On Alessandra Ambrosio: Louis Vuitton bag; Common Projects Original Achilles Sneaker ($411)

Pool Slides

If you really want to wear rubber sandals, go with slide sandals instead. Even better, wear them with socks. (It's okay—it's cool now.)


(Image credit: Gotham/Getty Images)

On Rihanna: Raf Simons jacket; Off-White sweatpants; Dior bag; Puma x Fenty shoes

Low Block Heels

Want a little height? Low block heels will do wonders for your outfit and comfort level.


(Image credit: Backgrid)

On Alicia Vikander: Louis Vuitton bag; BY FAR shoes

Ankle Boots

Ankle boots are a great option for when you want something that has the sturdiness of sneakers but with a more polished look.


(Image credit: BJJ/Backgrid)

On Kate Bosworth: Miu Miu bag and shoes


Loafers are probably the shoes that I wear to the airport most often. I love how easily they slip on and off and that they perfectly complement jeans and leggings alike.


(Image credit: Niceguy/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

On Karlie Kloss: J Brand Maria High Rise Photo Ready Jeans ($189); Hanes x Karla The Crew Tee ($30); Christian Louboutin shoes

Sturdy Sandals

If you must wear sandals to the airport, do yourself a favor and choose something with more polish and structure than flip-flops.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

On Jasmine Tookes: Louis Vuitton bag

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated. Next up, 30 Cute Bottoms That Were Made for Travel

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.