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Aug
29

Swollen feet? Here’s what you do.

Alright, I have bad legs.

Not like ugly, shapeless, flabby things, but like blow-up at ten-thousand feet things. And, of course, they’re getting worse with age.

It used to be that I could fly back and forth to Indonesia in a week, smoke a pack, drink a case and barely have to take off my heels, but now, Oh, dear, now, I don’t know what to put on.

Houston, we got a problem

Houston, we got a problem

It happens somewhere over the mid-west, possibly New York, no, before New York, when my ankle disappears, small dark blue veins come flooding the forefront and all my toes look like mini-hot-dogs.

Last year I wore sandals thinking that might be best. But they kept swelling and swelling even as I tried to walk it off, go up and downstairs, stretch, nothing worked.

swollen feet

swollen feet

This year I wore Nikes. I watched them fill, stretch and rip before my eyes. So what are the best shoes to fly long-distances in?

Who would know better than the people in the sky, right? And so when I saw this piece on what seasoned flight attendants wear, I couldn’t wait to read, pick out the best bits and pass them on to you. So here you go, the holy grail on shoe selection for long flights.

virgin ladies

virgin ladies

“We’re on our feet 13 hours a day, sometimes six days a week,” says a North Carolina-based flight attendant who has worked for a regional carrier for more than four years.

Flight attendants choose their shoes based on a number of factors, including their individual budgets, foot problems and the rules of their airline. For instance, Virgin Atlantic flight attendants are issued liquid-red heels. But most flight attendants in the United States are allowed to buy what they like as long as they stay within certain guidelines.

the look

the look

Typically, that results in crew members rotating between two sets of shoes: a snappy-looking pair to wear in the terminal, where appearing polished is a job requirement, and a more sensible, affordable pair that they change into for the service portion of a flight.

After all, high heels and turbulence are not a winning combination. And regularly hitting the brakes on a drink cart can scuff, even rip, the tops of their shoes.

What follows are some of their favorite shoes and brands, ideas you can steal for your own weary soles.

Skechers called Men’s Work: Exalt - Closer

Skechers called Men’s Work: Exalt - Closer

His picks? A leather loafer by Skechers called Men’s Work: Exalt – Closer ($65), which has a soft fabric lining, a removable cushioned insole and a shock-absorbing midsole, and Timberland’s Pro Five Star Ashford Lace-Up leather shoe ($110), which the company’s Web site notes was designed for restaurant and hospitality industry professionals and has “anti-fatigue technology” meant to support and cushion feet.

An added plus—they do not set off metal detectors.

This is handy, and not only for flight attendants. It’s useful for fliers enrolled in the T.S.A. PreCheck program, which can enable frequent travelers who have been prescreened to pass through security without removing their shoes as long as they do not trigger the detectors.

Should a pair of shoes pinch or rub the wrong way, some air crew stick maxi pads in his loafers.  Sounds super gross but a good thing to remember when your’e walking around Rome and your toes start to blister.

One shoe brand popular among flight attendants is the go-to choice of many chefs and doctors, who are also on their feet for many hours: Dansko, from about $80 to $150. To some flight attendants, these clogs are heaven during a flight, enabling them to sidestep not only foot pain, but back aches, too.

dansko

dansko

Some flight attendants, however, say Dansko clogs lack style.

Aerosoles, Naturalizer, Clarks and Rockport brands are also favorites on the flight attendant’s list of best shoes ranging from about $85 to $140.

aerosoles favored by flight crew

aerosoles favored by flight crew

Most flight crew carry a pair of flats and advises passengers to do the same.  Dr. Scholl’s “fast flats,” can be rolled up and stashed in a handbag and are a great show to wear on a flight.

Avoid peep toes, they might pinch or squeeze, and don’t wear sandals when flying. Your feet get cold.

Most flight attendants strongly advise against wearing uncomfortable shows as well as flip-flops because of bigger issues like emergency landings. I do find it a little sad though that they all think the shoes I wear on a daily basis are ugly.

Scholl Flight Socks

Scholl Flight Socks

And then I remembered something. The sock. When I was pregnant I used to have to wear those compression stockings. And guess what? They make them to the knee for people who fly. Alot. And the good news is I can wear my Dansko clogs AND the stockings and when I land I still have an ankle.

So that’s my advice to you: Compression sock, Dansko clog.

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