If you’re a flight attendant, you’ll know that finding the right pair of shoes is essential.
We spend hours on our feet at high altitudes, so it’s no surprise that many of us experience swelling and foot pain, as well as back problems due to standing up for long periods of time.
We’re also faced with that embarrassing issue of sweating - flight attendant shoes need to be moisture-wicking and breathable as well as comfortable.
Equally important is our appearance; we're expected to look polished and presentable at all times, no matter how tired we are, so ensuring our shoes look smart and stylish is also key.
This leaves us with quite a few boxes to tick when it comes to shopping for work shoes.
However, you can rest assured that there is such a thing as a shoe that is comfortable, breathable, and stylish enough for flight attendants - even if they are a little difficult to track down.
You can sit back and let us do the hard work for you though, as we’ve scoured the internet for the best shoes for flight attendants, and have put together a handy buyer’s guide so you can find the perfect shoe for you and put your best foot forward…
OUR TOP PICK
Clarks is a well-known British brand famous for its comfortable yet stylish shoes.
The Orabella Alice pump is an all-rounder: it has a sleek, simple design, low heel, and OrthoLite footbed for cushioned comfort - perfect for those long flights where you’re constantly on your feet.
These shoes feature cushion-soft technology for a plush, padded feel, and have great arch support.
They're a classy shoe for women of all ages, providing the elegant look of a high heel with the comfort of a pump.
They’re crafted from quality leather so will last you years, and will get softer and more comfortable the more you break them in, as leather molds to the shape of your feet.
The rubber outsole is highly durable and provides added traction and grip when getting on and off the plane.
- Clarks is a trusted British brand
- Sleek, simple design
- Low heel - 1.3 inches
- Cushion soft technology and OrthoLite footbed for comfort
- High-quality leather
- Durable rubber outsole
- Some buyers suggest these run small
Another great design from Clarks, the Un Cosmo Step pump has a slightly higher heel (2 inches) than the Alice and has a sleek and polished almond toe.
Constructed of premium leathers, the Un Cosmo Step is an easy slip-on style and has a chunky heel with a stacked look.
The linings are soft and breathable and feature Clarks’ removable OrthoLite footbed to reduce impact and provide cushioning and comfort.
These pumps feature a durable rubber outsole for added grip and traction and the leather has a polished finish to it, making it the perfect shoe for flight attendants. The price is also very reasonable.
- 2-inch heel is a perfect heel height
- Slip-on style
- Soft, breathable leather
- OrthoLite footbed
- Durable rubber outsole
- Almond toe
- Can feel loose on narrow heels
Aerosoles combine style and comfort, and we love the leg-lengthening effect these have thanks to the octagon heel which measures 3 ¼ inches, perfectly balanced with the subtly rounded toe of these pumps.
Don’t be fooled by the taller heel on these, either. Aerosoles boasts a patented “heel rest” technology which shifts your weight towards the heel to relieve the balls of your feet from pressure and strain, making these heels the perfect pair for flight attendants who often work ten-hour journeys.
They also feature a comfortable foam footbed to cushion your feet with plush padding, as well as arch support to reduce strain and breathable linings to wick moisture away from the skin and keep you feeling your best.
- Leg-lengthening effect
- 3 ¼ inch octagon heel for an elegant look
- Almond toe
- Unique heel rest technology
- Comfort foam footbed
- Breathable linings
- Leather outer
- The synthetic sole may be less durable
Danish brand ECCO is known for its embodiment of Scandinavian design: stylish, simple, and functional.
These softly sculpted dress pumps are demure and elegant with a low heel for maximum comfort and versatility.
They’re constructed from 100% leather so they’re guaranteed to last you for years to come, and the textured rubber heel provides traction and durability.
The padded, aerated footbed allows feet to breathe while providing support and cushioning throughout long shifts, whilst the flexible sole of these pumps provide a more contoured fit.
These pumps are a little more expensive than your average brand, but with ECCO you’re guaranteed quality and durability, which is worth investing in.
- Danish brand and design
- Low heel for comfort
- 100% leather
- Textured rubber heel for traction
- Padded aerated footbed for breathability and cushioning
- Flexible sole
- Slightly more expensive than average
If you prefer a pointed toe to a rounded almond toe, the Rockport Total Motion pump may be the shoe for you. It’s crafted from 100% leather and has a classic yet modern silhouette - perfect for work or play.
These pumps are built to provide all-day comfort thanks to the cushioned footbed with additional padding at the heel and forefoot.
Rockport’s truTECH and truTECH+ lightweight comfort systems deliver shock absorption at the heel and energy rebound at the forefoot, for comfort that lasts from the moment you slip these heels on, to the moment you take them off.
The flexible sole is also a great touch as it promotes greater movement and contours to the shape of your feet.
Constructed from smooth, soft leather, these pumps have a luxurious feel and a smart and polished look, perfect for work.
- Pointed toe for a modern look
- All-day comfort thanks to the cushioned footbed
- Additional padding at the heel and forefoot for reduced pressure
- Flexible sole
- 100% smooth, soft leather
- Slim, octagon 75mm heel
- Pointed toes can feel tight on some people
While male flight attendants will be looking for a classic Oxford shoe rather than a heel, the key requirements remain the same for both male and female cabin crew: you want a shoe that is comfortable, stylish, and smart.
Clarks’ Tilden cap Oxford shoe offers all of these components. The shoe is expertly crafted from 100% premium, full-grain leather, and has a subtle toe cap design for a modern look with a classic twist.
The Tilden Cap combines sophistication with plush comfort; it features discreet elastic gore panels for an easier fit without distracting from its elevated profile.
Inside, the shoes feature an impact-absorbing OrthoLite footbed to reduce the shock and pressure of every step, while the flexible TPR outsole provides a lightweight grip.
- 100% premium quality leather
- Ortholite footbed for shock absorption and comfort
- Stretch gore panels for added flexibility
- Durable TPR outsole
- Sleek and sophisticated design
- Trusted British brand
- 1-inch heel
- These tend to run narrow
Best Shoes for Flight Attendants Buying Guide
The style of shoe you opt for will largely depend on the uniform specifications of the airline you are employed by.
Many airlines require female staff to wear a low-heeled court or pump shoe, while some permit loafers to be worn with trousers or will allow orthopedic footwear if you provide a doctor’s note, but always consult your airline’s guidelines before choosing one of these styles.
Some airlines may also have restrictions on heel height for safety reasons, as nobody wants to respond to an emergency in six-inch heels.
Comfort and Fit
This should always be at the top of your priority list. If you’re spending hours on your feet working at high altitudes you must choose a shoe that fits you well and provides maximum comfort.
While heeled shoes don’t always appear to be the most comfortable, many modern designs feature cushioned insoles for added comfort and breathability.
It’s also a good idea to ensure you address any specific aspects of your foot type. For example, if you have wide feet or a narrow heel, a brand such as Clarks can be a good option to cater to these requirements.
Arch support is also important, especially if you have high arches, whilst a shoe with added stability is essential for those with flat feet.
Whether you agree with it or not, a significant part of being a cabin crew member is appearance, and most airlines have meticulous guidelines when it comes to what you can and can’t wear.
Choosing a shoe that is comfortable and stylish is important, as your shoes are going to be on display to passengers, particularly if you’re wearing a skirt.
Look for a shoe with an elegant, simple design, an almond or pointed toe, and a low yet defined heel. Even if you require an orthopedic shoe, you can still look for ones with a classic, sophisticated style.
Most good quality court or pump shoes are constructed from leather, and leather is naturally soft and flexible, so with time it’ll mold to the shape of your feet and will become increasingly comfortable.
Leather also has other benefits such as being more durable than synthetic materials and more breathable, too, however synthetic alternatives may be more affordable and can often be more lightweight than leather.
If you want your shoes to last a long time, investing in a good quality pair is key.
Leather is best for durability, and a rubber sole is also a good idea as these won’t wear down easily, plus they provide added traction when you’re getting on and off the plane or walking through the airport.
Well-known brands don’t always equal excellent quality, however, there are a few brands out there that are worth paying attention to due to their high-quality materials and comfort-centered designs.
Clarks, Hush Puppies, Aerosoles, and ECCO all offer a great selection of quality footwear that combines style and comfort with durability.
What to Look Out For
- Stylish, elegant design
- 100% leather materials
- “Court” or “pump” style
- Low heel
- Almond or pointed toe
- Plain black leather
- Durable rubber sole
- Breathable, cushioned insole
- Arch support
What to Avoid
- Heels that are too high or look too much like an evening shoe
- Suede or patent leather
- Any fringes, bows, straps, or buckles (depending on your airline)
- Cheap, synthetic materials
- Slippery plastic soles/heels
- Any color other than black
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best shoes for flight attendants?
While there is no perfect shoe out there that will suit every flight attendant, it’s essential that whichever shoe you opt for meets your airline’s dress code in terms of style, color, and heel height.
Most airlines require female staff to wear a low-heeled classic pump or court shoe, while men are usually required to wear an oxford shoe.
Cabin crew must wear shoes that meet their airline’s specifications, but you must also ensure your shoes are comfortable enough to wear throughout long shifts in the air.
This is especially important for female cabin crew members, as they will usually be wearing a heeled shoe.
You should look out for a good quality leather shoe which has a plush, orthotic insole, and a breathable inner lining.
Do flight attendants have to wear heels?
This depends on who you work for, but generally, most of the big airlines require female cabin crew to wear a low heel as part of their uniform.
Some budget airlines are less restrictive in their requirements and may allow staff to wear loafers or flat shoes, but most will only allow these in the case of a medical issue and if the crew member has a doctor’s note.