I recently took my first couple of warm-weather trips of the year to Mexico and then Los Angeles, both of which offer a significant beach culture. But in my opinion, that doesn’t make it okay to wear the controversial sandal 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 styles 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 from the experts themselves, so I reached out to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein and a flight attendant for a major airline. Farbstein pointed out that while you can certainly wear flip-flops to an airport, “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, to which she responded, “I mean it’s sort of gross. There are so much 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 style 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.
If you really want to wear rubber sandals, go with pool slides instead. Even better, wear them with socks (it’s okay—it’s cool now).
Want a little height? Low block heels will do wonders for your outfit and comfort level.
Ankle boots are a great option for when you want something that has the sturdiness of sneakers but with a more polished look.
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.
If you must wear thin sandals to the airport, do yourself a favor and choose something with more polish and structure than flip-flops.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.