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A lot has been made of people who are inconsiderate fliers. Hell, there’s a well-regarded Instagram account that publicly shames such people.
As the self appointed travel expert in these parts, I’m here to dispel these rumors. Because I’m one of those people. If a flight is longer than two hours, you can bet your Economy flying ass I’m letting my dogs out to run around the yard.
No, I don’t place them up on the wall if I’m sitting first row or jut them between armrests to poke into other people’s personal space. I’m not an animal. I do however remove them from my shoes and place them on the ground. And yeah, if I’m wearing socks I walk around the cabin in my socks. Fucking sue me.
Do you know why I remove my shoes on a plane? Swelling. If you spend extended periods of time in the seated position at high altitudes, blood pools in your leg veins and causes your feet and calves to swell. This can lead to more serious issues like blood clots or deep vein thrombosis.
Here is my three-pronged strategy for taking my shoes off on a plane:
1. Slip-on shoes.
Slip on shoes allow you to quickly slide your feet in and out while in your seat without drawing too much attention. They’re more comfortable and — believe it or not — there are some stylish options out there: Allbirds, Flyknits, Vionics etc. I also keep my feet planted either firmly on the ground or on top of my shoes. This means no crossing my legs or stretching them out into the aisle, this isn’t my living room couch. I personally don’t have to remove my shoes while going through security but slip-on shoes can help other people (lesser people) here too.
2. Compression socks.
It may seem counterintuitive but a quality pair of compression socks help promote blood circulation in your legs. They also reduce inflammation/swelling and when removed after a long flight make your legs feel rested and ready to go. I tried them for the first time on a flight from Singapore to San Francisco, one of the longest flights in the world (16 hours), and haven’t flown without them since. I also see no issue in walking around the cabin wearing my compression socks either. And that’s because…
3. I’m hygienic.
Seriously, check the records. If you’re seated next to me on a flight, chances are extremely high that I just got out of the shower and you could eat your sausage and egg biscuit off my soles.
I’ve never had any major issues when taking off my shoes on a flight. I’m usually in my compression socks and in the rare instances my feet are bare I keep them under the chair in front of me. In the few instances, I’ve received sideways looks from someone I insist that they enter my personal space to smell my hair. After they’ve sampled my scent and are sitting dazed, waving in a semicircle like somebody about to be knocked out in Street Fighter, I offer to buy them a bag of Bugles.
Which I serve off my toes. .