7 Shoes Our Editors Would Never Wear to the Airport, and 4 They Definitely Would


Given the time of year, much of our current office conversation centres around holidays right now: where we’re going, what we’re doing and, naturally, what we’re planning on packing and wearing. This consideration, however, isn’t reserved for when we reach our destination. A big part of the planning process (for a fashion editor, anyway) also involves deciding what to wear to the airport and to travel in. While we all have our own preferences—one of my colleagues says she always travels in jeans, while another swears by roomy dresses—something we all seems aligned on was what shoes we’d wear to the airport and, also, the pairs we wouldn’t.

After our chat, we had settled on seven shoe styles we’d never think about wearing to the airport or on a plane, and agreed on four shoe types that we would wear instead. The ones we vetoed were:

  1. Heels: While we conceded that a block heel may have its place, anything with a skinny, stiletto-style heel is something our editors would avoid. “Heels are the last thing I want to be wearing when I’m lugging a case around for what feels like miles,” said affiliate editor, Florrie Alexander.
  2. Flip Flops: While sandals aren’t completely off the agenda (as you’ll later read) one style we’d all avoid is close-to-the-ground flip flops. In my own personal opinion, there’s something icky about having to use a plane loo when your feet are so exposed.
  3. Pointed Toes: Far from a practical shoe silhouette, we all agreed pointed-toe shoes should be avoided given the amount of walking you’ll likely be doing whilst also trying to navigate carrying luggage and pushing trolleys. “There’s nothing more disappointing than stubbing the toe of a pointed shoe, and chances of doing so are pretty high when you’re at the airport. They also end up looking pretty tatty if you do,” says fashion editor, Remy Farrell.
  4. Complicated Boots: While there is a place for boots in our “good shoes to wear to the airport” section of this article, we need to preface this by saying that any boots with intricate fastenings (i.e. that you can’t pull off your foot in three seconds flat), they’re going to be more hassle than they’re worth when you hit the security line.
  5. Mules: Mules are tricksy at the best of times—when you’re at the airport, the last thing you need is for your shoe to come flying off as you’re dashing to your terminal or gate (or, indeed, when you’re climbing the external stairs to the aircraft). Heeled mules are especially out of the question.
  6. Gladiator Sandals: We’re talking about the studded and embellished gladiator sandal variety. This is another security line nightmare.
  7. Wedges: They might feel sturdier than stiletto heels but the last thing you need before jetting off is to trip and hurt yourself all because you were wearing a towering shoe. Plus, you know you’ll also be asked to take these off at security, so why bother wearing them in the first place?

AND NOW, THE BEST SHOES TO WEAR TO THE AIRPORT, ACCORDING TO OUR EDITORS

1. STRUDY SANDALS

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“When I’m flying in the summer, I always wear sandals, because I really don’t see the point in wearing another shoe that I’m then going to completely forget about when I reach my destination,” says Editor-in-Chief, Hannah Almassi. “While I agree flip flops might not be the most practical option, I do think chunkier sandals—those with decent straps that keep them firmly on your feet and footbeds that actually offer support—are a safe bet. Of course, you might be asked to take off styles with metal buckles when you get to security, which is why I always wear them with socks initially, too. I hate the thought of walking through there barefoot, but I’ll usually just whip off my socks when I’m rejoined with my sandals on the other side.”

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2. TRAINERS

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We all agreed that trainers are the best all-rounder shoe to wear to the airport. “Comfort is my principle concern, not just when I’m at the airport, but going about my day-to-day life,” says Alexander. “There’s no way I’m getting on a plane in anything else”. Even Almassi and myself—editors who rarely wear trainers—concede. I wore some New Balance on my last flight and not once did I complain about my feet being cold or sore, which, as my husband would tell you, is what I usually won’t stop saying after a day spent travelling.

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3. BALLET FLATS

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Although I know trainers are a solid airport shoe option, for me, I still prefer wearing ballet flats. They look elegant, work better with my overall aesthetic and there’s a much greater possibily that I’ll wear them when I reach my destination, too. Mary jane styles are excellent too as the addition of the foot strap keeps them secure on your foot, which is ideal as I always seem to have to dashj to the gate before takeoff, likely having been distracted by the nearest Pret.

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4. PULL-ON BOOTS

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Of course, not all airport visits happen in the summer months and, let’s face it, after September, sandals are completely out of the question if you’re departing from anywhere in the UK. So, in the winter, it makes sense to travel in boots. Not only are they the warmest shoe option at that time of year, but wearing them on your person means that they won’t take up valuable room in your suitcase. However we recommend to heed this warning: “Only choose boots you can pull on and off,” says Farrell. You know they’re going to have to come off at security—if I can’t get them off whilst standing up at home, they’re definitely not going to be the ones I wear on travel day. Thankfully, there are plenty of styles on the market that are chic and nail that brief.

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