The golden age of air travel is over…"THANK GOODNESS!”  These are the words that were uttered by the feet of flight attendants from that era. While this era had leg room and meals on planes, it also had tortuous standards for flight attendant shoe gear. During the golden age of flying, flight attendants were required to wear painful heels while in flight.  Thank goodness those standards have changed, but change does not mean that finding a comfortable shoe is easy. 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 (heel pain)
  • Morton’s neuroma – burning pain or rolled up sock feeling under toes
  • Painful leg swelling and varicose veins
  • Bunion pain – bump behind great toe that can become painful from wearing dress shoes for prolonged time
  • Hammertoe pain – tight fitting shoes can rub on curled toes
  • Capsulitis/metatarsalgia – aching pain in pad of foot

Selecting shoes can be difficult because style and comfort are important. Unfortunately, comfortable shoes do not always fit the dress code. A great example of a good flight shoe that is therapeutic and fashionable is the Dansko clog. Most airlines actually reference this option because of its history of stylish look and comfort for attendants. 

Dansko shoes work great as flight shoes because of several factors.

  • Fit – Danskos fit the wearer’s foot while allowing a more natural gait. The heel actually lifts when walking just like it would when barefoot
  • Arch support – Danskos have built in arch support allowing for reduced risk of conditions like plantar fasciitis by stretching the arch of the foot and reducing overloading of any one part of foot.
  • Durability – Danskos can take the abuse of long hours of pushing 200 pound carts, getting toes stepped on by passengers, and thousands of trips up and down that aisle.
  • Appearance – they come in the traditional clog but many other stylish designs that fit the black or navy dress code that is often required by airlines.

While other shoes are available that meet flight requirements, they often do not create enough arch support. Sometimes a physician will make a custom orthotic to treat foot pain that can be placed in your current shoes and can alleviate pain. 

Pain that persists for several days after a shift is not normal. If this occurs sometimes evaluation by a podiatrist will be required to determine proper treatment for your pain. There is no need to suffer needlessly, get evaluated and get fitted for a great pair of flight shoes so your feet can begin to feel like the golden age of flying is now.  


Photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels

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