Which are The Best Shoe Styles to Wear for Plane Travel


best shoe styles for plane travel

Many of us will be travelling in the next few month by airplane.  And with strict airport security measures it’s common practice to have to take off your shoes to go through security.   This means that you need to think about your travelling shoe selection more carefully before you leave, as hopping around attempting to pull off a boot  (and then falling over) isn’t the best way to go (believe me, this is experience talking).

The ideal is something that:

Is slip on and off so that you can take them off quickly and easily in the security line without holding those around you up.
Avoid shoes that have buckles and laces or are not easy to quickly take off, if you need to sit down to get your shoes off, then they are not the right shoes for airplane travel.

You also want a shoe that comfortable for walking around airports as there is often a long jaunt to the gate (some airports advertise 20 minute walks!)

best shoe styles for airplane travel


Ballet Flats

  • They work with both trousers and skirts/dresses, they are easy to slip on and off and if you find a pair that you think are comfortable then you can walk a long way in them.

Ankle Boots

  • Find a pair that slip on and off. You can wear them with opaque tights or your jeans.


  • Are a great alternative to ballet flats and are easy to take off and put on when going through airport security.

Slip on Sneakers

  • These are a comfortable casual version of the loafer that allows for lots of walking in the airports (and on holiday too) yet are easy to get on and off.

Sandals that don’t require buckling

  • You want a pair of sandals that are easy to slip on and off, though personally I find airplanes too cold for footwear where my feet aren’t covered, but I know that not all of you share my affliction!


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  • I have read that shoes are one of the most important things that can make a difference in an emergency, so I always wear closed-toe shoes (and make my family wear them, too) – I generally wear my danskos for flying – slip on and off, and would let me tromp through burning wreckage much easier than flip flops. (I hope to never test this advice, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind!)

    • I hope you never need to worry about being in a plane crash and shoes mattering! I just don’t like having cold feet in that plane air conditioning.

  • These are the best shoe styles, irrespective of where you are. I don’t understand heels at all. If you can’t walk for a mile in something comfortably, don’t wear it. I don’t see guys mutilating themselves in the name of style.

    • I do have friends who say heels are more comfortable -but they have high arches and much differently shaped feet than me, plus shorter calf muscles and tendons.

  • See, for me the space in my carry-on is more important than the bit of fumbling at the security line. If I’m including tall boots in my trip, I wear them since they take up so much space! And are heavy to carry. Two seconds with the zipper and they’re in the security bin. Maybe if I were less nimble at the unzipping stage it would be different, but I can do the crouch and unzip thing pretty easily. 🙂 Love your blog, Imogen! It’s made a real difference.

  • I’ve heard flight crew deciding not to upgrade someone because they were not wearing closed shoes.

    I recommend dressing at least as well as the crew (which can include casual and comfortable, just not sloppy) for good treatment on the flight.

    • How interesting. Kind of makes sense.

      I agree with other posters that health and comfort are primary when traveling.

      Imogen keeps us looking good with it all, eh?

  • Comfort, comfort, comfort………….. sneakers, trainers every time. Only once did I take my shoes off while flying and couldn’t get them back on again. Never did that again!
    Yes you won’t get upgraded wearing sneakers but I don’t want to travel enclosed in a pod anyway.
    A fashion shoe has a metal shank running the length of the arch and sneakers/ trainers don’t and it’s probably that shank that sets off the alarms.

  • I once wore pull on ankle boots and my feet swelled so much they were v difficult to get back on! After that it’s lace up or adjustable all the way, even if it’s Merrell walking shoes or sandals!

  • Once it dawned upon me that if I wear my Chuck Taylor’s sneakers very loosely laced, but still tied, I found that I can quickly pull them off and on in security, and they are the best for racing to the next gate during a very short layover. Until I figured that out, I wore similar to your suggestions.

    • I’d be tripping over the laces as my feet are so narrow I end up with lots of extra laces hanging over the sides of all lace up style shoes.

  • As a 75K a year flyer – wear shoes that you can wear with socks. Bare feet in the security line gross me out and people who have to slip on socks hold up the line.
    Also leave the boots at home if they don’t fit in your luggage and are not quick on and off. I do not care if the wearer doesn’t mind the time it takes to take them on and off, they are holding up the people behind them. If I know I will have PreCheck the rules are different, but I try to be considerate of others in line.

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