Honestly, I Cringe Every Time I See These Shoes at the Airport

I recently took a couple of warm-weather trips to Mexico and then Los Angeles, both of which offer a significant beach culture. But in my opinion, that doesn't make it a good idea to consistently wear the controversial sandal style that I kept seeing on people's feet during my travels. 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, so I reached out to the experts themselves and chatted to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein and Delta travel agent Stacey Townsend. Farbstein pointed out that while you can certainly wear flip-flops to an airport, "even though they are thin-soled, 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.

Townsend told me, "flip-flops are great to slide on to head down to the pool, but 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's so much bacteria. Wearing flip-flops, you can get blisters and then bacteria can get into your feet." Yikes, right?

So with that in mind, here are six celebrity-approved shoes that are far more sensible for the airport. See which celebs travel in them and shop the styles below.

1. Pool Slides

These Are The Worst Airport Shoes, Hands Down: Rihanna at the airport


Gotham/Getty Images

Style Notes: If you really want to wear rubber sandals, take note from Rihanna and go with pool slides instead. Even better, wear them with socks (it's okay—it's cool now).

Shop slides:

These are a lot sturdier than most of the rubber slides on the market.

2. Sneakers

These Are The Worst Airport Shoes, Hands Down: : Alessandra Ambrosio at the airport



Style Notes: Alessandra Ambrosio proves that you truly can't go wrong with just wearing a pair of cool trainers at the airport. Comfy and cool, they're the perfect footwear of choice for travelling.

The perfect supportive shoes for exploring a new destination.

This colour combination will go with so many outfits.

3. Low Block & Kitten Heels

These Are The Worst Airport Shoes, Hands Down: Jessica Alba at the airport



Style Notes: Want a little height? Low-block or kitten heels will do wonders for your outfit and comfort level, especially if you're wearing loose-fitting clothing like Jessica Alba.

Shop low heels:

On nights out, these double as a great evening shoe.

4. Ankle Boots

These Are The Worst Airport Shoes, Hands Down:  Kate Bosworth airport outfit



Style Notes: Ankle boots are a great option for when you want something that has the sturdiness of sneakers but with a more polished look. I love how Kate Bosworth has styled hers with a relaxed mini dress.

Shop ankle boots:

I'm desperate for a pair of subtle cowboy boots.

The stretch ribbed ankle panel makes these boots extra-comfy.

5. Loafers

These Are The Worst Airport Shoes, Hands Down: Karlie Kloss at the airport


Niceguy/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Style Notes: 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, as demonstrated by Karlie Kloss.

Shop loafers:

Suede pairs always look chic with lighter layers such as linen. 

6. Leather Flats

These Are The Worst Airport Shoes, Hands Down: Jasmine Tookes


Getty Images

Style Notes: If you've decided to wear flats to the airport, do yourself a favour and choose something with more polish and structure than flip-flops—a simple leather sandal in the warmer months like Jasmine Tookes, or ballet pumps when it's cooler out are just the ticket.

Shop leather flats:

A sleek sandal option for both days and nights away. 

There isn't an outfit these won't go with.

This story was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Next Up: Experts Agree: These Autumn/Winter 2023 Fashion Trends Really Count

Opening Image: Getty Images