Things have changed a lot since everyone used to dress up for airplane travel. In this day and age, men are more likely to be wearing casual trousers and women athleisure. In addition, some folks treat their seat space like their bedroom, slathering on moisturizer and digging into their snacks when they get hungry. It’s become a bit of a free for all.
But that doesn’t mean it should be. Being packed in together so closely with others calls for a semblance of decorum. We at Garmany Red Bank wondered what the experts would say. In Emily Posts’s 1922 book, Etiquette, she wrote that “to do nothing that can either annoy or offend the sensibilities of others sums up the principal rules for conduct under all circumstances—whether staying at home or traveling.”
So that brings us to the question of whether you should take off your shoes when you fly. These days, everyone seems to be doing it on long flights. But we’ve all had to deal with being near someone’s extremely odorous feet, and it’s awful. So should you leave them on? What do etiquette experts advise? Lizzie Post, Emily’s great-great-granddaughter and the co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, says it depends on whether or not your feet smell. If they don’t, you can take off your shoes—as long as you are wearing socks. “Bare feet are a bit inappropriate,” she says.
Be honest with yourself. If your feet are less than sweet smelling, leave those Ferragamos on. Your fellow passengers will thank you.