Why You Should Never Walk Around A Plane Without Shoes On

After a long day at the airport and dealing with the hecticness of travel, sitting back and relaxing once you've boarded your plane feels like a reward. You might even take your shoes off for additional comfort and forgo wearing them during your flight. However, going shoeless on a plane is surprisingly controversial; some individuals are here for it, others not so much. Regardless of where you stand, for sanitary reasons, you should think twice before you decide to ditch your shoes and socks on a plane.

Although airlines became serious about their sanitation practices during the pandemic, that doesn't mean their protocols are perfect or consistent. Going shoeless or barefoot could expose you to various unpleasantries. For example, the water you see on the floor in the airplane bathroom could very well be urine.

In an interview with HuffPost, public health expert Jagdish Khubchandani explained, "This is a very unhygienic tendency with potential for infection if someone has skin cuts and injuries on their foot. Also, you stay with the germs on your skin from the restroom for the entire flight unless you wash your feet, which doesn't happen much." 

Moreover, the airplane's carpet is rarely cleaned, so walking on it, especially barefoot, could be a vacation health hazard. Think funguses, viruses, fecal matter, and more. If you must take your shoes off to be more comfortable on long flights, you can bring disposable slippers to wear. They protect your feet and are usually easy to pack in a carry-on bag.

Going barefoot during security is just as bad

Another word of advice? Avoid going barefoot through security, too. Let's say you remove your shoes during airport security and are barefoot while you wait in line. While this might not seem like a big deal, it should be avoided for the same reason you should keep your shoes on a plane. Speaking to The Washington Post, podiatrist Ebonie Vincent said, "You could also pick up fungus, not to mention the millions of germs and bacteria that you could transfer to carpets, inside hotel rooms or homes and cars, which serves as a danger to other people." One example of a fungus that could be unknowingly contracted at security is athlete's foot.

This infection causes rashes and itchiness in the feet. Likewise, going barefoot heightens the possibility of coming into contact with something that could cause abrasions on the feet or more severe infections. So, what can you do to keep your feet safe? If you're wearing shoes without socks, bring a pair to put them on while you go through security. Alternatively, if you decide to go barefoot, pack a wipe to clean your feet before slipping your shoes back on. However, consider wearing the right shoes for your flight to avoid all of this in the first place.

Ditch wearing flip-flops at the airport or on a flight

You might think that specific shoes, such as Crocs, sandals, and flip-flops, might be a good idea to wear as you travel to your destination. After all, they provide comfort and convenience. However, this is not the case. In fact, these, and especially flip-flops, are the worst things to wear to an airport. Besides the possibility of having to go barefoot during security, they are a safety risk as much as they are a sanitation risk. If the airport or plane has an emergency evacuation, wearing flip-flops could slow you down. Or, they could quickly come off and leave you without any protection on your feet.

For this reason, it's advised to wear sneakers or close-toed shoes. Regardless of your footwear, if you decide to take off your shoes or socks during a flight, consider keeping them on while you take off and land. Again, this ensures you and everyone on board can evacuate quickly if something goes wrong. Moreover, if you insist on not wearing shoes or socks, be mindful of where you place your feet. If not, you risk disturbing fellow passengers or going viral on social media.