Last Updated on February 6, 2022
I generally advise wearing comfortable walking shoes, sneakers, or athletic shoes when you fly.
But some travelers like the idea of wearing sandals on the plane.
So can you wear sandals to the airport and on the plane?
Let’s take a look.
Wearing Sandals Through Airport Security
You do still need to take off shoes at airport security, even sandals.
It’s the soles of shoes that the TSA is most interested in scanning with their x-ray machine.
So even though sandals have straps rather than uppers the TSA will still want you to remove your sandals at the security checkpoint to check the soles. The thicker your soles the more concerned the TSA will be and making sure nothing is concealed within the sandal.
In terms of speed through the checkpoint, I can always kick off my sneakers and put them back on without touching the laces. I’ve never had a pair of sandals that weren’t more tricky to take off and put back on again.
Also, if you’re not wearing socks this will mean you are walking around barefoot in the airport. Of course, socks with sandals aren’t the most fashionable look.
Backless sandals like flip-flops are less than ideal if you end up needing to run to catch your flight.
If you do wear sandals make sure they have a proper back and won’t fly off your foot if you need to make a dash to catch your flight.
If you want to avoid taking off your sandals at airport security then you can sign up for TSA Precheck. Those high fliers get to keep their sandals on at the checkpoint since they are vetted prior to flying to make sure they are not a security threat.
Over 75’s are also often permitted to keep their shoes or sandals on at the security checkpoint even at the standard lane.
Airline Dress Codes & Sandals
In the past airlines used to have strict dress codes.
These days you are unlikely to get in trouble with flight attendants for wearing sandals on your flight.
You might upset some of your fellow passengers like Eric:
The question isn’t whether sandals are allowed on planes, they are. The question is are they gross or trashy and do you care what other people think?
Here’s a little debate I found about wearing sandals on a flight:
You can wear sandals on a plane but some passengers don’t like to see other people’s bare feet.
To an extent, the social acceptability of your sandals will depend on your destination. If you are on an economy tourist flight headed to the beach lots of people will be wearing shorts, sandals, and leisurewear.
Don’t panic, but keep in mind that you should be wearing shoes that are suitable for a rapid evacuation of the plane.
If there is a fire in the cabin everyone needs to leave the plane quickly because of the threat of smoke inhalation.
You don’t want to be losing a sandal in the middle of a scramble for the exit.
Remember that if you pack your shoes in checked luggage there is a chance that your checked suitcase could go missing. If you wear sandals at the airport and your bag gets lost your sandals will be the only footwear that you have left.
In my experience sandals are more likely to break than other types of footwear. If a strap breaks you’ll want to make sure you have an extra pair of shoes to change into in your carry-on luggage.
The Bottom Line
Yes, you can wear sandals on a plane. You will still need to remove them when going through airport security unless you are in the TSA PreCheck lane.
Some passengers don’t think that sandals are the appropriate dress for wearing on a plane. It depends to an extent on the type of sandal you are considering. Flips flops get a bad rep, but a more dressy sandal won’t raise too many eyebrows.