How Do You Feel About Bare Feet on a Plane?

I believe — deeply — that male toes shoes never be seen in the office.

On Friday I tweeted that the same applies to airplanes.

I don’t ever want to see male toes on a plane. Thank you.

That was Friday. On Sunday I realized that women can take “comfy feet on the aircraft” too far as well.

Do you agree with me — does this go too far? Or are you one of the folks that do this, and would you care to enlighten me about what makes it ok?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, you said you never want to see *male* toes, but presumably female toes are ok for you. That seems quite selfish. There are likely females that would like to see male rather than female toes. Are your preferences somehow superior to theirs?

    If you don’t like feet, see a shrink.

  2. Are you a true Libertarian or not?!?! I don’t need people encroaching on my right to bare my feet like my right to bare arms. If people are forced to hide their feet, then we’ll be forced to wear burkas and then we’ll have to hide our guns and then they’ll take away our guns. Where does it stop? And why are you spying on someone’s feet and publishing them on the internet just like this government is doing with all our phone calls?!?! If anyone tells me to do whatever I don’t want to do then they’ll be looking at a ‘View from the barrel of my Gun’. You dissapoint me Gary.

  3. I don’t think bare feet are any worse than sandals. Probably better. Bare feet are probably cleaner than sandals that have walked through goodness knows what. I think it is all about whether you want to see someones ugly toes or not. Some people have nice feet and toes, others do not. I’d prefer not to have to look at anyone’s bare feet, but in a pinch I’d vote for keeping ugly feet and toes covered.

  4. I would say that its only appropriate if it is a cute girl with clean and pretty feet.For all I care she doesn’t have to wear anything,Hey that wouldn’t be to bad a flight!
    What do you guys think?

  5. Propping her feet on the bulkhead says she cares little about the comfort of others and the airline’s property. But, based on the appearance of her feet, she doesn’t care about them either.

  6. @Jerod I am not the government. I don’t seek to legislate an end to bare feet. I just seek public shaming.

  7. @Gary – methinks @Jerod is Jerod Litella, Emily’s kid brother. The right to bare arms?!?! Never mind.

  8. What about socks on socks — the ones in an amenity kit? How are those supposed to be correctly used anyway?

  9. What is worse than bare feet, when the person with the bare feet pulls out the nail clippers and goes to town.

  10. Saying you don’t ever want to see “male” toes in the office or on an airplane suggests it’s relevant in some way. Like if you had said you don’t ever want to see “Asian” toes on an airplane, that’s presumably a piece of info you think is relevant to your reaction.

  11. It’s just feet. What’s the big deal? You should try to further rationalize your fear or at least figure out why you’re so repulsed with feet that your willing to use this platform reaching thousands to complain about such a silly little thing.

  12. oh i forgot to mention i sat next to a kid DXB-IAD and he went to the bathroom barefoot, and then proceeded to dangle them precariously close to my legs. jSO NASTY.

  13. What’s with the people who say “socks are not better.” Come on! It usually way to cold in planes so I take off my shoes and put on an EXTRA, thick pair of socks, and that’s the only way to stay warm. What’s wrong with socks?

  14. I take my shoes off on long flights. Leather shoes and feet don’t get along for 10 hours in a warm plane. I could care less about others’ bare feet, as long as they aren’t on my seat back.

    I have much more disdain for large, overweight, smelly, or loud people. Hate children and old people too.

  15. What is exactly wrong with seeing naked feet? Have you ever been at the beach or the pool? How do you cope? It’s too cold for me to be barefoot, but it’s a relieve to be able to take my shoes off, so I leave the socks on, until I want to walk around.

  16. Clean, odor-free, bare feet are fine with me.

    What principle underlies your objection? Hygiene? Propriety? Is it okay with you to sit next to someone wearing flip flops but upsetting when the foot wear is off?

  17. Not OK unless for medical reasons. If for medical reasons, I would make sure the feet were cleaned up a short time before flight time. (bottom line: make sure feet does not smell!!)

    I used to weigh 300+ lbs (I now weigh 165-170) and wore diabetic socks so I would not have to go bare footed.

    In most cases, bare feet is in BAD taste on the airplane!

  18. I don’t care that much about others but it definitely doesn’t amuse me. I keep my socks on and put the airline ones on top of them.

  19. Now wouldn’t this be a wonderful question to throw open for discussion in a class on feminism and patriarchy? Female flesh is a public consumable; male flesh should be out of sight and out of mind.

    Beyond that, propaganda for the sandal industry? 😉

  20. Hmmm. I guess if you and companions are the only ones in business/first as I was last night on Thai, I guess it’s Ok….maybe even if it’s half full…but not if your feet smell. That’s almost as bad as one other unclean odor I have encountered on a flight..I won’t say exactly what it was here, but it was female and you can use your imagination.

  21. Get your feet shoes or no shoes off the wall. If you did that at my home or in my office, I would kick your a$$ out.

  22. I agree totally. Bare feet is not considerate of others nor is it even elegant.
    In addition, there is no excuse even for bulkheads. Consideration of others is key to living beautifully with others in every circumstance.

  23. Right on Andrew!!! I don’t care if you are wearing sock or not presuming your feet are clean and don’t smell, but putting your feet on walls is disrespectful. Would you do that in someone else’s home?!?!?! There is never a good reason to put your feet up on the bulkhead. If you are worried about DVT, take a walk around the cabin every so often.

  24. I agree with you. Completely disgusting. How selfish and inconsiderate some people are, it always amazes me.

  25. It’s summertime. I wear sandals 99% of the time. So you’re guaranteed to see my toes whenever I fly. But I do keep the sandals *on* and don’t put them up on the bulkhead, any more than I would on the wall or furniture anywhere…

  26. What makes it wrong?

    Your socks are just as dirty as your feet are. And your shoes are even more dirty still.

  27. you always struck me as kind of libertarian. so why not, ‘hands off my…’ wardrobe choices?

    i think aside from smell, what can others really say?

  28. I totally agree with others, feet should not be bare on a plane and certainly not propped up on a bulkhead wall. Others that put their shoes up there should be corrected as well. It always bothers me when I see this and they are marking the wall up. To me its disrespectful to another’s property and to those around them. Didn’t your Momma teach you better?!

  29. Flips flops can be MORE gross IMO. I have no problems with bare/clean feet as long as they aren’t placed “up” on near somebody’s face/head, or on the headboard.

  30. I don’t care much, I’ll keep MY shoes on and those who want bare feet can walk around in who knows what…are the floors on planes ever cleaned? Ever? And if they are cleaned is it just some sort of floor sweeper? They can’t be deep cleaned/shampooed all that often.

  31. First of all, bare feet at the office are just plain unprofessional. Period. If anyone chose to show up a the office in sandals, I would send them home to get a different pair of shoes.

    Outside the office, people can theoretically do as they please, but I believe bare feet touching communal areas is not sanctioned by our culture. In Thailand? Totally different matter.

  32. I used to go barefoot in the office. Much like on a plane, if I am barefoot I will keep it to myself. I also walked barefoot around campus and to class when I was in college. I don’t do a lot of walking around publicly barefoot anymore, but if I want to walk or run barefoot I am going to do so. There are places I won’t, certainly.

    Bare feet are just like any other body part. You don’t want my elbow in your face because it’s invading your personal comfort zone, so I don’t stick my elbow in your face. I have no problems with you walking around in dirty, ratty shoes with dirt and grime all over them, so that’s the same general principle. I wear sandals every opportunity I get, and they’re easy to slide right off.

    I don’t stick my bare feet up on the bulkhead wall, nor do I walk to the lav with them. My legs are way too long to do anything else with them other than have them on the floor. I make no apologies for this, and will continue to do so shamelessly. If you have a problem with that, then I suggest you stop looking at the ground and focus on something else.

  33. There are 2 separate issues – shoeless (bared or socked), and feet on walls/chairs/armrests/etc. because we shouldn’t be shoes nazis, the former shouldn’t be an issue if there are no odors, although I would never do because it’s gross. the later is really bad form, especially putting your feet on someone’s armrest, with or without shoes.

  34. I may not like to see other people’s feet on a plane, but, if they’re clean and not touching me, then it’s my own irrational fault; and men and women should certainly be treated equally on the propriety of dress. it’s 2013, afterall.

  35. Feet are gross. The last thing I want to see on a plane is bare feet. Even worse would be the person who sat in my seat before me putting their bare feet all over places I touch. I don’t want that.

  36. I often take my shoes off on long flights but my feet are NEVER out of their socks. Bare feel on a plane is like bare feet in s restaurant- yuck That goes for men and women.

  37. I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s just feet. As long as they don’t smell I have absolutely no problem with it.

    Also on longer flights the feet can swell up if they are in the shoes the whole time. This has happened to me.

  38. Interesting. Can’t say I’d want someone’s feet (with or without shoes) anywhere near me on a plane but a little intrigued by the discussion about social norms and shoe-wearing. Most people in public places wear shoes, sure. But I never figured that was because of a negative hygienic impact of bare feet on that public place. I figured it was because in most public places, though probably less so in beaches, large parks etc, there are glass fragments, stones, filth that would have a negative impact on your feet….?

  39. oh, yuck! at least put on some ‘footies’
    If that were a guy’s pair of feet, I’d just assume he’s an ‘oaf’, but a woman…. well, she should know better.

  40. NOT OK!

    what’s worse are those who go into the bathroom with bare feet!
    This happens all the time on Sydney to LAX flights
    and vice versa.

    We all know how the bathrooms start off nice…then get worse and worse toward the end of the flight.

    Heck not even half way thru my shoes stick to the floors in there. Down right gross!

  41. The issue for me is less the bare feet (though still not a fan) and more the placement on the bulkhead. Generally not ok with pax over the age of 12 putting feet in any condition up on the bulkhead; not a classy move.

    Also this woman has big time cankles.

  42. I really don’t like wearing shoes but my dad always told me to wear them on the plane in case it catches on fire! I slip my shoes off but never put them on anything but the top of my shoes. Just thinking of all those dirty shoes from so many places peeves me. Even in socks once put back in the shoe its growing whatever in the shoe. I see people go into the bathroom barefoot too- double yuck. i do love to go Barefoot in the right places. I think it is totally unfair that for women it is more acceptable. There are many men with nice feet. Usually the ones that don’t wear shoes much!

  43. I secretly hope a cute guy sits next to me in sandals so I can see his bare feet.

  44. Well, feet on the wall, with or without footwear is inappropriate in my book.

    Gary wouldn’t be happy with me for most of the year, though. Sandals (Tevas) and shorts from about Mid-March until it’s too cold here (Boulder, CO) in the fall. Planes are mostly too hot so I revel in shorts & loose t-shirt while flying.

  45. I won’t even wear sandals. I know most of the time, you would not have a problem, as far as a crash landing or something. But I like to have socks and shoes on, when I go on any type of ride. That’s just in case I have to maneuver over rough terrain. Look at what happened at LAX the other day, when That Guy started shooting. I can run alot faster in socks and shoes than I can with sandals.

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