We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (2024)

This morning I hoofed it from the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park down to my new hotel, NH Collection New York Madison Avenue. I dropped off my luggage, then I walked west to the Neil Simon Theatre to pick up my tickets for MJ The Musical before strolling east on 42nd Street to get to Summit One Vanderbilt where I enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the Big Apple (where I’ll probably log another 10,000 steps before noon tomorrow). Still, I wasn’t worried about my feet. I treat them to flight attendant-approved footwear.

Why are flight attendants the next best thing to podiatrists in my book? They’re on their feet all day. Yesterday, I flew Qantas’ 16-hour flight from Auckland to JFK. I never saw any of the flight attendants sitting or even leaning against the lavatory. They were always standing or walking, and more importantly, doing it with gusto. Their secret? It isn’t Red Bull (I’ve guzzled gallons and have never grown a single feather let alone wings). It’s their shoes.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, airlines don’t give flight attendants footwear with their uniforms. Instead, flight attendants have to use trial and error to find the comfiest, cutest shoes that adhere to their airlines’ dress codes. But thanks to word-of-mouth — flight attendants love to share best practices — they usually succeed. The result? Walking a mile in their shoes isn’t painful, it’s actually pleasant. I recently polled several flight attendants to see which pair(s) they wear for travel, both for work and leisure, and below are the results.

One Frequent Flier Spills Their Must-haves for Staying Stress-free on Long Flights — Starting at $7

Hoka Bondi 8 Sneakers

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (1)

“They feel like walking on a yoga mat,” Favian Flores, a flight attendant for United, told me. He packs these APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association)-approved shoes because “consolidation is key” and he likes being able to wear them for sightseeing as well as for workouts. His bonus tip? “Opt for a white or off-white color to match all your outfits.” On Zappos, they come in 23 colors and have more than 2,700 five-star ratings. “I noticed many nurses wearing Hoka,” wrote one shopper who spent two weeks visiting her mom. “My feet had been hurting, so I gave them a try…and loved them. Just returned from a two-week vacation, walking much more than normal, and my feet feel great.”

NAOT Footwear Women's Argus Sneaker

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (2)

Meanwhile, Katie Storck, a Southwest flight attendant for more than a decade, told me not even a pair of Louboutins can get between her and her favorite sneakers. “They’re easy and quick to remove as well as being super comfortable for walking through airports and breathable to keep on your feet for long flights.” Despite the lace-up look, they’re slip-on and the knit fabric means they’re slightly stretchy, which comes in handy when your feet swell. The removable footbed “molds to the shape” of your foot, and the padded cups keep your heels from hurting. While they’re relatively new and only have one rating (albeit five stars) so far, NAOT has been in business since 1942.

Dansko Women's Professional Clog Slip-on

Jennifer Vincenzo McLucas’ mom didn’t retire from her flight attendant career until she was 76. These shoes were one of the reasons she lasted so long. “Her crewmates would be cranking about their aching feet, and she — at often twice their age — would be tootling right along.” Dansko’s “anti-fatigue rocker bottom” helps with stability, and the reinforced toe box is great for durability. Currently, they come in dozens of colors and styles. I had a fun felt confetti back in college and wore them all over New York City where I went to school. More than 70 percent of this clog’s ratings are perfect five-star ratings with most coming from professionals who work on their feet. “These shoes served me well in medical school,” said one shopper. “When I’m traveling, I have noticed that I prefer to wear these rather than tennis shoes. On the airplane, my feet swell and I constantly have to fiddle with my shoelaces to readjust. These shoes are great during security screening, fast to take off, fast to put on.”

Franco Sarto Women's Bocca Slip-on Loafer

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (4)

After 35 years of service, Delta flight attendant Hermann Ortiz can confidently say that rubber soles are the way to go. And Ortiz loves a slip-on. This particular pair of Italian-designed loafers for women features a reasonable 1-inch heel, a rounded toe, and 100 percent leather. It’s available in 11 colors and has nearly 3,000 five-star ratings. “I’ve been a flight attendant for over 20 years and these are the only shoes that don’t kill my feet after working 14-plus-hour nights on the plane,” wrote a flight attendant.

ECCO Men's New Jersey Slip-on Loafer

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (5)

Personally, Ortiz sports these slip-on ECCO loafers. “My flights are long haul, usually between 9 to 17 hours, so comfort is important,” he told me. They’re made with full-grain leather, the heel is 1.25 inches, and they have Ortiz’s favorite: rubber soles. Many of the more than 2,000 five-star ratings come from professionals who work on their feet all day. “These got me through three trade shows over three weekends in a row,” recalled one satisfied shopper who says they’re their “go-to” shoes for traveling because, in addition to being comfortable, “they look classy enough to wear with a suit, or to dress down with a pair of jeans.”

Clarks Men's Whiddon Step Loafer

When it comes to dress shoes, Flores doesn’t sugarcoat it. “They can often be uncomfortable,” he admitted before telling me that he prefers Clarks when he’s working. “They are affordable, durable, and the slip-on design without laces makes them incredibly convenient for traveling.” Available in four colors, they all feature Clarks’ removable signature OrthoLite footbed which minimizes shock impact and wicks away moisture. They have more than 1,000 five-star ratings including this five-star review by another flight attendant who wears them daily praising their “perfect fit.”

Soda Top Shoes Jaber Ankle Boot

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (7)

When it came to choosing a career, Allison Uno chose to follow in her flight attendant mom’s footsteps. She’s been servicing Hawaiian Airlines travelers for nearly 20 years now, and she has lots of opinions when it comes to footwear. When she wears pants while traveling, she prefers a pair of boots like these faux leather ankle boots with a nice chunky heel. They’re surprisingly lightweight for being so sturdy and having a 2.5-inch heel. Choose from nine colors, and know that because they’re slip-on, they’re perfect for going through TSA. Many of the 2,300 five-star ratings refer to a short break-in period, and they’re overwhelmingly positive. “Day two: I got 20,000 steps and could have kept going,” reads a review titled “Cute and durable.”

Dream Pairs Women's Chunky Heel Knee-high and Up Boots

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (8)

In the winter, you’ll find Storck rocking this look. “The chunk heel makes them comfortable for long days of work and travel,” she told me before confessing that she also wears them off the job. This particular pair has a 2.5-inch heel and features a soft, faux-fur lining and insole. The zipper makes them easy to put on and take off. They’re currently available in seven colors, and more than a few of the nearly 3,500 five-star ratings come from flight attendants. “Comfortable and classy,” described one flight attendant who appreciates all the compliments they get on these shoes. “These really are a dream pair of boots,” they said.

LifeStride Women's Rozz Mary Jane Pumps

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (9)

Come summertime, Storck is usually sporting these best-selling (they have more than 3,600 five-star ratings) Mary Jane pumps from LifeStride. “The block heels help increase the surface area your foot is applying pressure to and makes them comfortable enough to be on your feet for hours,” she explained to me. By far her favorite heels, they feature a 2-inch heel, faux leather upper, rounded toe, and adjustable buckle strap. Plus, they come in both medium and wide widths in three colors. “I can wear these for a three-day trip at work and not have pain or foot fatigue like so many other shoes,” wrote one flight attendant who says they’re also her favorite after trying “literally dozens and dozens of different kinds of shoes.”

Clarks Women's Emslie Lulin Pump

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (10)

When Uno wears her uniform, which includes a knee-length skirt, she opts for these practical 100-percent Mary Jane pumps. They’re made of leather and include Clarks’ signature “impact-absorbing OrthoLite footbed.” With a 2.16-inch heel, they make your legs look longer and give you added height, but they’re not so tall you risk twisting your ankle. Many of their 1,100 five-star ratings come from flight attendants. “Love these,” wrote a flight attendant in training, who said, “Now everyone from my class has ordered a pair, too.”

Rockport Women's Total Motion 75mm Pointed-toe Pumps

We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (11)

Siobhan Grogan, a flight attendant for JetBlue, has tried her fair share of Clarks and Naturalizers (two brands beloved by flight attendants) before ending on this 3-inch pair of heels which she told me “hit spot on.” More specifically, she said, “I have high arches, and I can walk through airports in these shoes and on the aircraft all day, sometimes 12 hours, and these heels are the best” On Amazon, they come in 20 different colors and materials including leather, suede, and faux snakeskin. Many of the 530 five-star ratings praise the removable padded insole. “It’s like walking in my slippers,” summed up one flight attendant who describes themself as a “self-proclaimed full-time fashionista.”

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We Asked Flight Attendants to Reveal the Shoes They Wear on Long Travel Days — Here, 11 Comfy Picks From $30 (2024)


What do flight attendants wear on their feet? ›

Most airlines require Female flight attendants to wear heeled shoes ranging from one to three inches. However, they can switch to more comfortable footwear after takeoff. In the winter months, female flight attendants can wear boots.

How long are you away when you are a flight attendant? ›

Attendants usually fly 75 to 100 hours a month and generally spend another 50 hours a month on the ground, preparing flights, writing reports, and waiting for aircraft to arrive. They can spend several nights a week away from home.

Are flight attendants allowed to chew gum? ›

Chewing gum when in uniform is not permitted. International uniform appearance standards apply when the premium cabin service is United Global FirstSM and/or United BusinessFirst®. Domestic standards apply when the premium cabin service is United First®, United Business® and on p.s.® flights.

What do flight attendants wear under their uniform? ›

Do flight attendants have to wear tights? Most flights that I have been on, they either wear dark colored (black or navy) tights, or sheer pantyhose in beige or tan. Some, however wear dress pants with a low heel shoe.

Why do flight attendants sit on their hands? ›

“The aim is to keep the body in a rigid pose, so that if there was any impact from an unplanned emergency, the body is damaged less," she continued. “This keeps body movement restricted so that there is less chance of injury if there was an impact."

Do flight attendants have period pads? ›

While the crew will not provide you with a sanitary pad, they may even have the audacity to ask you to de-board if you cannot manage by yourself.

Do flight attendants make good money? ›

As of May 12, 2024, the average annual pay for a Flight Attendant in the United States is $47,079 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $22.63 an hour. This is the equivalent of $905/week or $3,923/month.

How often do flight attendants go home? ›

They can expect to spend 65-90 hours in the air, and an additional 50 hours preparing the airplane, processing passengers during boarding and performing post-flight procedures. Typically, flight attendants work 12-14 days and log 65-85 flight hours each month, not including overtime.

How often do flight attendants get paid? ›

Many airlines pay flight attendants on a monthly basis. Some airline payment periods can be more frequent, but this often depends on the employment contract flight attendants are working under. How do you become a flight attendant?

Can you touch a flight attendant? ›

Don't touch the cabin crew—respect their space. If you require something don't poke us as we walk down the aisle (or throw anything at us—a colleague once had a loaf of bread thrown at her…). Simply say excuse me or, if we don't hear you and it's urgent, press the call bell or come to the galley.

Can flight attendants have bad teeth? ›

Natural Tooth Gaps: Natural tooth gaps are acceptable, but if a large gap is present, addressing it with braces before applying is recommended. Missing Front Tooth: Missing front teeth are generally not allowed, but if the gap is inconspicuous or at the back, it might be acceptable.

What is not allowed in flight attendant? ›

They can't drink when wearing their uniform

However, not drinking alcohol doesn't only apply to flight attendants on duty. “Flight attendants can't publicly consume alcohol in uniform,” says Ward. While flying, a top priority is to keep valuables safe. Follow these 7 tips to keep personal items safe while travelling.

Can female flight attendants wear pants? ›

In addition, the uniform helps identify cabin crew as approachable and willing to assist passengers while conveying professionalism and trustworthiness. While skirts were once a standard requirement for flight attendants, the trend has shifted to include pants and more practical options.

Do flight attendants have pads or tampons? ›

Do some airplanes have sanitary napkins/pads onboard when asked? Some airlines may have some sanitary pads onboard for emergency use, but it is best to assume not and pack your own. You may simply also ask the female flight attendant for assistance if you are not prepared.

Can female flight attendants wear the male uniform? ›

According to JetBlue's gender-neutral policy, flight attendants can pick from a combination of uniform pieces and wear what they feel most comfortable with.

What do air hostess wear on legs? ›

Compression socks

Sitting for a long time can restrict blood flow and make your legs swell. Compression socks are designed to help combat leg and foot soreness as well as prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots in the legs. Thankfully, they are so much more fashionable than in the past.

Do female flight attendants have to wear heels? ›

While many airlines still require flight attendants to wear heels as part of their uniform, there is no industry requirement for these shoes. In recent years, several airlines have relaxed their dress codes to allow for more comfortable footwear such as sneakers or flats.

Are flight attendants on their feet all day? ›

Flight attendants spend hours on their feet, moving up and down the aisle, attending to passengers' needs, and ensuring the cabin's safety. These long hours of standing and walking can take a toll on their feet and overall well-being.

Do flight attendants feet hurt? ›

Flight attendants still suffer foot pain, and finding shoes can still be difficult. Prolonged time on their feet in dress shoes puts flight attendants at an increased risk for painful foot conditions like: Plantar fasciitis. Morton's neuroma – burning pain or rolled up sock feeling under toes.

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