What Shoes To Wear On An Airplane?


As I will be flying East in a week or two, I have to plan not only what I will wear during my visit, but also my airplane garb. I’m very much the Sturdy Gal in transit. Grandes Dames have their pashmina throws, Artsy Cousins meditate so it doesn’t matter what they wear, Sturdy Gals fly in black yoga pants, black tee, and a black down-lined jacket that can be taken off and on easily as one becomes over-heated dashing towards gates. Oh yes, and we like lots of pockets for passport, reading glasses, and cash to buy bottles of water. Which are required after so much dashing.

All of which begs the question of shoes. I, as a good Sturdy Gal, abhor foot pain. However, as a High WASP I cannot bring myself to pair white running shoes with black clothing. Nor pink shoes, nor aqua, nor silver. Shudder. No, they’ve got to be black. Black trainers, as the British and their linguistic cousins would say.

And the shoes have to support the afore-mentioned dashing.

Which brings us to Pumas. I may be Sturdy, but not to the point where I can’t convince myself that these are cooler than Nikes. Why? Who can say. Perhaps the leaping cat, often an image of women on adventure? More likely, the simple unknown-ness of the brand. They are Chipotle to Nike’s Taco Bell. Extra avocado and all.

And if they’re not, don’t tell me. Style is more felt than seen. Especially on feet. Especially on feet in airplanes.

What do you wear to fly?

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59 Comments

  • 11/03/10
    5:22 am

    Reply

    Becca said...

    Usually ballet pumps out, Uggs home. Arriving back in England always necessitates warm, cosy feet!

    As an aside – I'm so interested in your perspective. We just don't have the same social set-up in the UK, and I find the American way of doing things fascinating!

  • 11/03/10
    5:25 am

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    Nelle Somerville said...

    I rock a driving mock almost every time I fly. Love that they are rubber soled and comfy but also allow me to wear trousers. I can be on planes with clients so try never, ever to wear jeans. :)

  • 11/03/10
    5:35 am

    Reply

    see you there! said...

    Unfortunately I ususally wear a frown. I don't really like flying and airports are awful these days. Sometimes I have to face the ordeal tho.

    That said, I need a pair of yoga pants. I have a pair of black loafers (brand?) that are well broken in and my best walking shoes short of sneakers. Like you, my white sneakers are only for exercise and never worn otherwise.

    Darla

  • 11/03/10
    5:40 am

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    Jan said...

    What I wear day-to-day – my loved separates and shoes that can be slipped off and on quickly in airport security lines. We are all seasoned travelers, and detest getting in line behind those that not only have worn hiking boots, but packed a 24 oz. bottle of shampoo in their carry on.

  • 11/03/10
    5:48 am

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    Miss Whistle said...

    I must be terribly old fashioned, but I just can't get used to people wearing sweats and yoga pants on the plane. Of course, I'll wear my jeans, but usually with a blazer or a coat, a scarf, and my trusty navy blue converse. But then again, as my mother says, I'm an Angeleno so I can get away with it. My mother arrives from England in a wool suit, silk scarf, proper shoes, etc and always manages to look impeccable after a hideous 11 hour flight.

    Your problem is a universal one. And I think black trainers are an excellent solution. Good luck. X

  • 11/03/10
    5:49 am

    Reply

    Rachel said...

    I wore nearly this exact outfit for a flight to DC last weekend to see my in-laws…black pumas, black yoga pants, gray tee, and dark gray fleece jacket. Airports make me anxious, I like to be comfortable. I always feel bad for business travelers in suits.

  • 11/03/10
    5:56 am

    Reply

    Elizabeth Hammond Pyle said...

    Layers!

    Its always so cold in flight but I get hot running to catch flights.

    And as Jan said, definitely slip off shoes.

  • 11/03/10
    6:19 am

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    Katja said...

    The shoes are good. I must be a Sturdy Gal, too – I wear these: Merrell Arabesque, but yours are more styling.

  • 11/03/10
    6:27 am

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    Class factotum said...

    A dress or a skirt. Jeans cease to be comfortable after several hours in a plane. Boots. I take a shawl and a jacket and plenty to read, plus food because it's not like the airline is going to give you anything to eat.

  • 11/03/10
    6:32 am

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    Tabitha said...

    My shoes come off the minute I sit down and then I nestle my tootsies in cashmere socks until landing time.

  • 11/03/10
    6:33 am

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    Paula said...

    Hi Lisa! I often end up with my hiking boots on my feet, only to save weight and space with the luggage. Mr Paula's mum likes to fly like an onion: 6, 7 layers, maximum weight-saving at the check-in counter.

    I once heard it is worth dressing up, in case you have problems and need some extra service. Last time I had problems I felt the suit my friend was wearing plus my LV purse on the counter DID help us out. (arriving 5 min. before take-off due to an accident on the highway) Since problems around the flights occur so often, I stay on the dress-up track. Maybe also because I dress down at work and like to dress up when I travel. :-)

  • 11/03/10
    6:40 am

    Reply

    Patsy said...

    I don't even like wearing yoga pants to yoga, they are not my best look ;-)

    I wear ballet flats or driving mocs on the plane. My much cooler little sister wears Pumas, so they must be chic and NYC-ish.

  • 11/03/10
    6:41 am

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    Marcela said...

    Love those Pumas. I wear comfortable dark jeans, a white/black t-shirt, a cardigan, black ballet flats and a scarf or pashmina.

  • 11/03/10
    6:50 am

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    DocP said...

    Flats, khakis, knit top, blazer (usually navy), pearl earrings

  • 11/03/10
    6:50 am

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    Adventures Along The Way said...

    Last time I flew, I wore a fitted tee, zip up fitted jacket, long slightly A line casual skirt, and red converse. It was the most comfortable travel outfit I have tried yet, and looked better than most of my previous ones too. :)

  • 11/03/10
    6:52 am

    Reply

    QueenBeeSwain said...

    incredible post!

    I go either two routes:

    jeans tucked into boots, tunic or cardigan, pashmina

    yoga pants and ballet flats, cardigan, pashmina

    just depends on how much I will have to book it in the airport and if I've overpacked ;)

    safe travels

    kHm

  • 11/03/10
    7:02 am

    Reply

    MaudeLowell said...

    I'm in LOVE with my AGLs!!

    Attilio Giusti Leombruni Ballerina Flat; Nordstrom

    I'm telling you, they are like slippers.

    Go try them on!!

  • 11/03/10
    7:03 am

    Reply

    Stephanie said...

    These days, I'm just happy to see someone on the plane who is well put together. It's a bit disconcerting to sit next to people who look like they've worn their pajamas on the plane. Or at least slept in their clothes. I may not always look my best getting off a long flight, but at least I try to be presentable. And yes, Pumas over Nike, and yes, they're black, for the same reasons. Though I usually just wear ballet flats and try to dash less.

  • 11/03/10
    7:17 am

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    Princess Freckles said...

    I love Pumas!

  • 11/03/10
    7:19 am

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    Anonymous said...

    Black gabardine pants, cashmere sweater, black trench and black Rabotin walking shoes with cashmere socks! Scarves change the look each day of the trip.

  • 11/03/10
    7:26 am

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    Marion said...

    Merrell Arabesques. Ancient black Burberry that can be a pillow, blanket…black stretchy pants from Lands End, turtleneck, did I say black? Highway bags are great-easy access for constant passport checks, can be scrunched into another bag if necessary. The LV stays at home.

  • 11/03/10
    8:22 am

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    Karena said...

    I love the Pumas and with your outfit, perfect. I like comfotable driving shoes, and usually wear slacks and layer a couple of sweaters( one loose, to toss off if needed)

    You are convincing me to go with the yoga pant ensemble!!

    Xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  • 11/03/10
    8:26 am

    Reply

    Holly said...

    Where did you get those shoes in that color??? I looked up the shoes but can't find them anywhere in that color! I am headed to China in Jan/Feb and want some comfortable flying shoes!

    And yes, Paula – you are right. It does help to dress up when flying. As snobby as it is, the gate agents and flight crew are much more willing to upgrade you and help you out if you look nice. Although behaving well always helps too ;-)

  • 11/03/10
    8:27 am

    Reply

    Deja Pseu said...

    I tend to wear loafers to fly (easy off/on) but those are super cute. Can you slip them on easily while standing? That's my primary yardstick for in-flight footwear.

  • 11/03/10
    8:41 am

    Reply

    Across the Pond said...

    Love those shoes! Anything that slips on and off easily but protects my toes against other peoples rolling bags! My favorite shoes for the airport are Privo by Clarks tennis shoes… LOVE! Super comfy, clean, and no laces to tie you up!

  • 11/03/10
    9:31 am

    Reply

    La Belette Rouge said...

    My narrative about Pumas are as follows: "The Italians were them so they must be chic. If they are chic enough for the Italians then they are chic enough for me.";-)

  • 11/03/10
    10:07 am

    Reply

    MBZ said...

    Ok, I won't tell you :)
    Own black, red, white and grey Puma's in a small Men's size, loving them for years. Totally cool.
    Ground chipotle from Penzey's? Great addition to spice cabinet for a killer Bloody Caesar.

  • 11/03/10
    10:22 am

    Reply

    Walking Barefoot said...

    Timely! Having just logged >40 hours on planes in the past two weeks, I like to think I've got it down to a science. The key is no belt, no metal, nothing binding. For the feet: Dansko clogs – supportive, good for dashing about, easy on-off in the security line.

    For the rest: Eileen Fisher stretchy wide-leg pants, and layered tank/ short-sleeve/ long sleeve knit tops + casual jacket. The pants are as comfy as yoga pants, but look like real trousers (and with the wide flowing legs, leave more to the imagination than yoga pants). The layered tops can easily accommodate arrival in the tropics, and over-air-conditioned planes.

    A few extra essentials: pashmina for sleeping or if it's *really* cold; eye mask; water bottle; Bucky neck pillow; melatonin to help adjust sleep/wake cycles.

  • 11/03/10
    11:45 am

    Reply

    Hill House Ramblings said...

    Oh dear. I wore heels on a plane once. Horrible, horrible idea.

    Now that I'm wiser…usually jeans and boots or jeans and ballet flats. I always bring a scarf with me just in case I get cold.

    I like the Pumas!

    H.H.

  • 11/03/10
    12:25 pm

    Reply

    Henley on the Horn said...

    I try to look nice on a flight, but choose comfortable shoes. Often I will wear my croc driving mocs by Cole Haan or TB ballet flats. The Pumas are cute!

  • 11/03/10
    12:57 pm

    Reply

    flwrjane said...

    I'm a claustrophobic flier so I wear a Xanax under my tongue, yoga pants, Uggs if it's cold, a cosy hoodie by Juicy to snuggle up.I also bring reading glasses and at least 4 books I never read because the Xanax knocks me out.

    Don't you hope you won't have to fly with me?

  • 11/03/10
    1:02 pm

    Reply

    Susan Tiner said...

    I wear sandals to stay cool, and bring a sweater to take on and off during the flight as I get alternately too hot and too cold.

    Your Pumas look nice and comfortable, but I would worry about taking up too much room if I wanted to take them off.

  • 11/03/10
    1:08 pm

    Reply

    the gardeners cottage said...

    hi lpc,

    i loved reading all these different comments. my fav one is mbz's. ha ha. my favorite movie of all time is the royal tenenbaums and richie tenebaum always carries fresh pepper for his bloody marys! i love it.

    i think your outfit is perfect. hopefully wearing puma's don't put you in the cougar category.

    i wear something similar to you in all black but with ballet flats. i want to look stylish but i'm more concerned with comfort on the flight.

    ~janet

  • 11/03/10
    1:08 pm

    Reply

    Town and Country Mom said...

    I go just a bit for the dressing up theory. My usual is blank ponte knit pants and black or charcoal tee with a charcoal heather cashmere cardigan because I am always cold on planes, and I can tie it around my shoulders at the gate or upon arrival. For shoes, I am happy with black Clark's with about a two inch heel. Extremely comfortable, and the best walking shoes I've ever had for wearing when I'm not exercise walking. For that, I like Privos, which I think are made or owned by Puma.

  • 11/03/10
    2:05 pm

    Reply

    Austyn said...

    Usually comfy dark jeans with either knee high boots or ballet flats, depending on the weather. Easy on and off. On top, a sweater, tank, or tee, also depending on the weather, and I always wear or carry a scarf in my bag. Pearl earrings. A whiff of perfume. Sometimes a newsboy cap, and blush. Great topic, I've enjoyed reading others' preferences.

  • 11/03/10
    3:44 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Becca – Thanks. I wish I knew more about the UK social set up for that matter. And I love the idea of going out shoes and coming back shoes.

    Nelle – I think a driving moc would make me happy, as long as there was padding in the sole. Often those are very thin-soled and I am kind of a stomper. But I agree, when I used to fly for business, I was often in a suit or suit-substitute.

    see you there – I love my Lululemon yoga pants. But they are pricey. And flying make me sad too, that's why I am so far over on the comfort spectrum.

    Jan – Scanning the line for the baggage scanners is an entire body of expertise in itself.

    Miss Whistle – An Angeleno:). I just can't stand the way jeans make me feel after about 2 hours. I can tolerate pain better than I can discomfort. I do not know why that is. I just try to make these the best yoga pants possible and make sure my hair is very tidy:).

    Rachel – Airports make me anxious too. Your outfit sounds fab to me…

    Elizabeth – I find that with layers I wind up futzing around, off, on, hot, cold, dropping pieces of cloth, and I do better with a binary set up. Either I'm in a tee or I have on some down. But clearly some of this is very idiosyncratic.

  • 11/03/10
    3:55 pm

    Reply

    Duchesse said...

    Matte jersey pant (like yoga but flowier; soe kind of tunicy top, Arche slip ons (ballet style or other flat), cashmere shawl and sleeping pills. Oh, and a sports bra, so much better to sleep in than an underwire.

  • 11/03/10
    3:57 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Katje – My sister is a big Merrell fan. She's Artier than me, also more urban.

    Class – If I had a great comfy skirt I'd wear it.

    Tabitha – Oh I agree. I take my shoes off the minute I sit down. If I'm flying business, I'm in their socks as quick as a wink. If I'm flying coach, I keep my own socks on while I sit and then pull on my shoes to walk around.

    Paula – Ha! Flying like an onion. That is hysterical. I just cannot do layers. I sweat and drop things. But I do try to make myself look as neat as I can. And I wear my good watch and carry my LV bag…

    Patsy – Some yoga pants are WAY better than others. My Lululemons look fairly presentable. I am honored to share something with your cool little sister.

    Marcela – Your outfit sounds perfect. Classic but not too fancy.

    DocP – I am impressed. You bring our average up! Nice way to take the laboring oar!

    Adventures – Wait. That I could do, I think. Red converse. I'd just have to reach down deep into my bag of impunity. How long was the skirt I wonder?

  • 11/03/10
    4:03 pm

    Reply

    The Preppy Princess said...

    You can guess my age, because even though I *have* (tense is important here) been known to wear snappy heels, cool flats and even boots on shorter flights, comfort has become increasingly important. Quite.

    So I have done a pair of super-soft and comfy Bass black suede almost flats, or a pair of Merrells.

    Hope you have a blast!
    tp

  • 11/03/10
    4:38 pm

    Reply

    lauren said...

    hmm. when i flew cross-country a few weeks ago i believe i wore a tie-dyed silk tunic and (this will shock you) my black skinny jeans with black patent ballet flats. washed silk: athletic gear for no-athletic-gear-outside-the-gym types.

  • 11/03/10
    4:39 pm

    Reply

    The Paper Tyger said...

    Either my comfy Tod's (ballet or driving moc) or a pair of easy to pull on tall boots. Always black and always a pashmina for layering :)

  • 11/03/10
    4:55 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    QBS – And how you want to look when you get off the airplane? Depending on the crew that will be picking you up?:)

    MaudeLowell – Those are nice-looking shoes. Like Varinas, only comfy:).

    Stephanie – I hope I'm not deluded in thinking that when I travel I look sporty but pulled together. Because even when I manage not to dash, there's still all that lugging to do.

    Princess Freckles – If you love them then I know they are more soigne than Nikes…

    Anon – Aha. You are up with DocP, taking the high road:). I have to say there is nothing like a cashmere sweater. If I could only have one piece of clothing that's what it would be. I am not familiar with Rabotin shoes. Thank you for the new reference.

    Marion – Black. Black addresses a myriad of sartorial sins in my opinion. But do tell, what is a highway bag?

    Karena – I hope you fly comfortably but feel put together:).

  • 11/03/10
    5:11 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Holly – I bought them at Nordstrom. Thanks for pointing out that they aren't on the Puma site. So now I have a link here that takes you to the Nordie site. Going to China? Ah. It's a big trip.

    Deja – I have to bend down and pull them up, or sit, but it's very fast. I trade support and a closer fit off against the easy on parameter. Shoes I can step into don't give me quite as much support as I like when I'm hauling computers and suitcases.

    Across the Pond – I looked up the Privos, they seem to be Clark's entry in the yeah they are comfy but they are still cool derby. Thanks for the resource.

    La Belette – A compelling narrative, rife with ripe archetypes.

    MBZ – Ha! I bow to your Puma collection. Although, come to think of it, I have another pair of black and green driving Pumas that are pretty wild for me:).

    Walking Barefoot – Now that is a possible alternative. I have never worn clogs. I have extremely high insteps and have always assumed clogs would hurt. And I usually shy away from Eileen Fisher just because of the dowdy problem. But for flying I might lift my embargo. I hope you had a great trip/great trips.

    Hill House – Ha! We all learn eventually:). One of the joys of passing through the decades.

  • 11/03/10
    5:17 pm

    Reply

    Michelle said...

    I'm a big fan of Pumas for travel…and any other shoe that avoids the dreaded chunky sole of most other athletic brand shoes.

  • 11/03/10
    5:24 pm

    Reply

    CDS said...

    I love pumas…they are lightweight and stylish. I really like these!

  • 11/03/10
    5:28 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Duchesse – I avoid flowy, just because I tend to get myself all tangled up in fabric:). And if I had to fly in an underwire bra I'd need more medication than just one Xanax. Oh. Dear. Me.

    TPP – Thank you. I wish you could come too. Now that would be a fun evening:). As we age, and comfort becomes more important, do you think it's because we are crabbier, or wiser, or both?

    lauren – you secret fashion-fiend you. had i seen you on the airplane i would have pegged you for a new yorker.

    The Paper Tyger – I'm in awe of all you young women wearing tall boots on planes. In awe.

  • 11/03/10
    6:52 pm

    Reply

    Anonymous said...

    OFF TOPIC WARNING: because I hate flying and avoid it at all costs.

    LPC, I wanted to sympathize with your extremely high instep issue — isn't it a nightmare? If one more shoe salesman tries to tell me that I have wide feet…well, he will see my extremely high instep at very close range. Ok not really, but it's very condescending, particularly when my narrow heel is swimming and flopping around in a normal width shoe. (Not that there is anything wrong with wide feet, but when your feet aren't wide, it grates because you know they have no clue about shoes and fit.)

    I've been eyeing Varinas but afraid to try them because of the instep issue. Sad to hear they aren't comfy. But maybe you should've gotten them in Wide…I kid. I'm actually excited you to see were able to fit in Louboutins. Another shoe I've been reluctant to try.

    And now back to flying.

  • 11/03/10
    7:54 pm

    Reply

    Lori said...

    I wear something comfortable and shoes easy to take off and put back on going through security and that are comfortable to do a lot of walking in. It would also depend on where I am going and the time of day and the length of my trip. I love flying but don't get to do much of it these days. :)

  • 11/03/10
    9:37 pm

    Reply

    The Ancient said...

    LPC —

    You wear a pair of Chanel flats, because that's what's you're supposed to wear under duress.

    What are you thinking?

    (Life's too short and too burdensome to travel with shoes you might not otherwise wear.)

  • 11/04/10
    1:05 am

    Reply

    Becca said...

    @Anonymous – I'm another one with high insteps and can highly rate Louboutins for my foot shape.

  • 11/04/10
    8:28 am

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    Lynn MacDonald said...

    I have Both Nikes and Pumas but was informed when I was in London that I must buy some Hogans as they are the only walking/travel shoe to have…so I now have them as well! Good post…I am a slob while traveling.

  • 11/05/10
    8:56 am

    Reply

    FootArt said...

    In my honest opinion i suggest that the comfort is what matters whether you wear sandals,slippers,shoes or boots.

  • 11/05/10
    2:21 pm

    Reply

    MBZ said...

    "Ha! I bow to your Puma collection. Although, come to think of it, I have another pair of black and green driving Pumas"

    Yikes! Un-bow asap. Two of them are Geox.
    Oh, and Crocs makes a roomy, suede Mary Jane most suitable for thick socks. Very comfy. Wear with white anklets and black ankle pants and pretend you're Yoko. Works for this Artsy cousin ;)

  • 11/05/10
    5:35 pm

    Reply

    Mardel said...

    Matte Jersey pants, pumas or other slip ons, layers, a shawl, knitting. If my hands are busy I am not wringing them.

  • 11/05/10
    6:35 pm

    Reply

    Miss Cavendish said...

    Eek–I think that my earlier pro-Puma comment failed! In any case, I think that Nikes are cool only as workout shoes and that sleek Pumas are the dernier cri with black yoga pants for running errands or flying. That's how I distinguish between my Nikes and Pumas and couldn't imagine crossing those boundaries I've set . . .

  • 11/05/10
    8:41 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Anon – Yes, I do have to be really careful about shoes. Ferragamos fit best of all. Stuart Weitzman is pretty good. And yes, Louboutins, at least the ones I got, are quite comfortable. My heel does slip out of almost everything. And I haven't worn a shoe with an arch strap in ages.

    Lori – I can imagine:).

    The Ancient – Well, my Aunt Priscilla thought Belgian loafers were a good substitute:).

    Becca – OK, multiple data points:).

    Lynn – Hogans, I've heard of those…

    FootArt – Well comfort is something.

    MBZ – I can just imagine myself as Yoko. My guess is that you pull it off far better than I do.

    Mardel – Yes! Another Puma wearer. In this case, with her Xanax.

    Miss Cavendish – Aha. I feel you have had the final, and authoritative, word.

  • 11/08/10
    11:31 pm

    Reply

    Olivia said...

    Yoga pants, wool socks, magenta pumas. And on top lots of layers – usually a long tank, a thin sweater and a shawl/open cardigan. And a scarf.

  • 11/10/10
    1:55 pm

    Reply

    The Broke Socialite said...

    Oh how your musings delight me! Seriously…if I were a WASP, I’d be you.

    xoxo,

    Your Favorite BAP

  • 12/27/10
    7:33 am

    Reply

    Heather said...

    I really like these Pumas. What kind of socks do you wear with them?

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