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?

  1. DJP_707 said,

    It’s not OK in my Book. Even if you on vacation keep your dam shoes on while on the plane. I saw this last week on a Delta flight in first class out of ATL.

  2. hangingchad said,

    Agree wholeheartedly. IMO socks aren’t any better. The only way you can get away with bare feet is with sandals…

  3. Michael said,


  4. AAron Solar said,

    Bulkheads should be made out of razor blades.

  5. Billiken said,

    What’s really interesting is when people in bare feet use a lavatory on an aircraft. That isn’t water on the floor, folks.

  6. Jacob said,

    What exactly makes it not okay? Does it harm other passengers in any way?

    Air travel can be uncomfortable and with pressure changes and DVT not wanting to wear constrictive footwear is understandable.

    Provided someone’s feet don’t smell, I don’t see any harm. Feet are likely cleaner than the soles of shoes, anyway.

  7. Jason said,

    If they don’t smell and aren’t in area where people eat, ie on a table, then to each their own. Seems more like a personal dislike of feet rather than any particular reason.

  8. MissyD said,

    It’s not like anyone is eating lunch off the bulkhead. As long as the feet are well groomed, or the socks are clean, I don’t care.

  9. Joelfreak said,

    This comes up every year or so. There is NOTHING inherently unclean about feet. Your shoes are washed less than your feet are. If someones feet are not clean, they shouldn’t be put up anywhere, but the same can be said for their shoes, their hands, and their body in general. I don’t know why some people (not just you Gary) think that feet are magically things that are any dirtier or grosser than any other part of the body.

  10. Cory said,

    I don’t care at all. If you’re creeped out be feet, nothing can be said about that. But if you’re worried about it from a sanitary perspective, I think that bare feet should be so far down the list of concerns on an airplane as to not even register. Shoes are probably dirtier than bare feet anyway.

  11. Orange said,

    Bare feet should never be displayed on an airplane. Ever.

    I’ve seen people walk barefoot into airplane lavatories, and that’s really disgusting (for them).

  12. Jon said,

    SO nasty. i tweeted male feet on saturday. https://twitter.com/jonk/status/343436671993397248/photo/1

  13. Marshall Jackson said,

    I once wore flip flops on a plane…. and it felt uncomfortable because I hid my well-maintained feet most of the flight. Something about it just ain’t right. But flip flops on a plane, firmly planted on the floor is one thing. This is just low class, and unacceptable in MJ’s book. The end.

  14. Linda T said,

    I always bring slippers (the kind that they give you in hotels) on long flights. That way I can take my shoes off. I would never walk around in just socks and certainly not barefoot on a plane. When I see it I wonder what people are thinking?

  15. mommypoints said,

    Thought of you when I saw this exact same thing repeat on our flights back from Hawaii over the weekend. The lady had on flip flops, but took them out to relax her feet on the bulkhead in F. I can see why you would do it if you are tired and wore sandals/flip flops, but that doesn’t mean it is a smart idea.

  16. Gene said,

    Why the sex discrimination?

  17. Matt said,

    I see nothing wrong with this, provided that the feet are clean and do not smell bad.

    What exactly is the problem?

  18. AM said,

    No smell – no foul! :)

  19. Odin said,

    Indeed – what makes it OK for one gender but not the other? Incredible that this would even be thinkable without the outrage meter pegging. Shame, shame.

    That said, I think it shows no class at all to be barefoot on a plane whatever your gender, but I see scummy people behaving badly on planes all the time. Flip-flops, bare midriffs, “wife beater” tank tops, the list goes on.

    People, you disgust me!!!

  20. Nate said,

    No! Grosses me out.

  21. E said,

    I don’t care just as long as they do not put where people eat or sleep, socks or sandals is fine.

  22. Susan said,

    Cefinitely a big no-no. I don’t care if you take your shoes off…but at least have some socks to slip into if you do. And feet do not belong on a bulkhead above the magazine rack.

  23. Tom said,

    I agree with @AM: no smell, no foul. I never take my shoes off as I don’t feel great about MY feet on the airplane floor or the lav floor. But when I travel with my son, his shoes are off within 2 seconds of taking his seat, then tucked up under him, and the only time they are back on is to hit the lav. No problemo.

    The only time I have a beef about feet (or shoes) on a plane is when the *#$%!@ behind me thinks it is okay to put his/her nasty feet on MY ARM REST. WTF?

  24. ArkansasTraveler said,

    I didn’t own my first pair of shoes until I started grade school (well I didn’t regularly wear shoes until I started grade school), so I have no problem with bare feet in general; however, they do not belong on walls, tables, chairs or anywhere except floors.

  25. Darren said,

    An airplane is not your home – keep those bare feet covered and off the bulkheads/armrests/etc.

  26. Pat said,

    Just saw the same rude behavior from a guy in 1st class on a United flight IAH-PHL this week. It is not a beach, dammit…

  27. DonT said,

    Yuck. It’s a medical fact that feet sweat more than most other parts of our bodies.

  28. Jesse said,

    It’s gross. Keep your shoes on.

  29. Colleen said,

    Horizontal feet: fine

    Vertical feet: no-no

    Regardless of gender. It’s a bulkhead issue.

  30. Jeremy said,

    Those appear to be cankles.

  31. Phil said,

    bare feet NOT OK

  32. Nik said,

    Yeah, wow, decorum, manners, class… Dying fast it seems.

    Wasn’t there once a concept of acceptable attire for things that involve leaving the house? And, like, the bulkhead is a *wall*. No feet on the wall.

    If I ruled the world, it would be required to wear closed-toe shoes while flying, no shorts except tropical-to-tropical flights, shoes may only be removed on flights over 3 hours or so. No gym clothes either.

    Which airline is it that has “no infant class”? Maybe they could implement a dress code for J and F. I think I might actually go out of my way to fly someone for that, especially if it’s a really over the top dress code. :)

  33. beachfan said,

    There is a real DVT risk to cramped bulkhead seats. I don’t see an issue with sock covered, non-smelly feet.

    I do see an issue with DVT.

  34. beachfan said,

    I alos agree that the gender bias is peculiar.

  35. Explore said,

    It’s not OK unless they’re female and stunning (which these aren’t). I make the decision about what passes muster.

  36. DaninSTL said,

    No bare feet. If your on a long overseas flight you should apply foot powder and wear non-cotton socks to avoid smells. Then and only when sleeping should you be allowed to remove your shoes and no bare feet.

  37. Jeff said,

    I don’t particularly like flying next to overweight people who encroach on my space, people who smell bad, people who sleep and snore, people who are eating food with an odor, etc, BUT, the fact is that you are essentially using public transportation, and therefore you have to deal with certain things that other people do that bother you.

    If you want to travel without other annoyances and by your own rules, then get your own plane. Otherwise, other people around you aren’t going to do exactly what you want, and you have to learn to live with that. There is no rule about shoes, so people can do as they please. If you don’t like it, ignore it. Taking pictures of someone else and posting it on a blog is more rude in my book.

  38. easy victor said,

    As one who wears sandals to the office almost every day, I would have to disagree with the office part of your statement. But, on an airplane, if you want to put your feet up, you need to have clean socks on your feet if for no other reason than hygiene.

  39. nsx at flyertalk said,

    “Taking pictures of someone else and posting it on a blog is more rude in my book.”

    Not to mention the residuals. ;)

  40. Gary said,

    What gender bias? Point here is I corrected my gender bias, I started off with “no male toes” and wound up with “this woman’s feet really shouldn’t be doing this…” I am quite clear that it’s inappropriate for both men and women to put bare feet up on the bulkhead.

  41. alan barak said,

    if it’s 3:00 a.m. upstairs in the Delta DTW-NRT 747 , you’re in your jammies and you wake up for a bottle of water or something out of the snack basket by the galley, don’t feel you have to pull on socks, or even the kit slippers. just go.

    hmmm speaking of go, i would suggest the undersized slippers for the head — but not because anyone might be looking.

    and, come to think of it, tevas or flip flops ought to be just fine for the run down to guam or saipan. c’mon. it’s the tropics.

  42. jeann said,

    Some kind of foot covering, anything … bare feet: inappropriate!

  43. robert kauffman said,

    Feet are not like hands they are walking on the ground and assumed contaminated. Your feet have touched the floor and I don’t care if we just washed that floor it’s contaminated. That’s what the Food Safety Inspection Service says. They are the ones who keep your food safe to eat. Feet=dirty. Case closed

  44. Linda said,

    Those bare feet may have started out clean but probably walked on bare floor when their shoes were placed on the belt for the TSA screening. I made that mistake once and it just felt nasty. Now I always wear socks when I fly. And I take nylon slippers for long flights. I’ll wear them in my hotel room anyway.

  45. Mary said,

    Gross and tacky.

  46. reeder said,

    Ditto Tom. The feet on my arm rest, poking into my elbow is rude. And somewhat gross. I’m fine if you keep you stranger feet to yourself but would prefer if you didn’t accost my elbow with them, thanks!

  47. Lou said,

    The issue is WHERE the feet are, not whether they’re covered. Bulkheads, armrests, up in the air (how is putting your calf on my headrest comfortable) are unacceptable due to their location – in the shared environment. However, bare feet in your foot well… go ahead; that’s private space (as much as it exists).

    In an airplane I call private space anything below seat-cushion height. Stacks of readings, your suitcase out, shoes out, that’s all fine because I can not or can barely see it. Those things above seat height are in the public viewing area and that should be a zone of maximum politeness so we can all enjoy our ride as much as is possible.

    Gary, can you do an article on people who clip nails next, or the ones who paint their nails so we can all vent about that too?

  48. Charles said,

    I diffrentiate between naked feet and socks. Feet are not there to be seen. This does not lend lie to what should be obvious; naked feet and socks are quite similar in the germ department. Both might smell, be sweaty and both can absorb or shed germs.

  49. Debt Blag said,

    I take off my shoes, but wouldn’t remove my socks. It has more to do with me being self-conscious about my feet.

    I don’t mind as long as other people’s feet don’t smell, but a problem may arise that other people are never really sure if their feet smell or not…

  50. Jorge said,

    That woman’s feet are a replica of Godzillas!

  51. J.C. said,

    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.

  52. Jerod said,

    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.

  53. Toni said,

    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.

  54. Big Boy said,

    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?

  55. Kristin said,

    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.

  56. Gary said,

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

  57. Colleen said,

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

  58. Joel said,

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

  59. JetAway said,

    Very cheesy-figuratively & literally.

  60. Kevin said,

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

  61. Blokus said,

    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.

  62. Alex said,

    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.

  63. Jonathan Khoo said,

    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.

  64. Uri said,

    Socks OK?

  65. Cindi said,

    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?

  66. Scott said,

    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.

  67. Aldus said,

    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.

  68. David said,

    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?

  69. chemist661 said,

    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!

  70. Jakub said,

    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.

  71. Robert said,

    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? ;-)

  72. traderprofit said,

    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.

  73. Andrew said,

    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.

  74. Joe said,

    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.

  75. setho said,

    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.

  76. David Drayer said,

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

  77. rob said,

    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…

  78. Andrew said,

    Ok Rob you’re good to go with me :)

  79. Joe said,

    What makes it wrong?

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

  80. Danny said,

    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?

  81. Steve said,

    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?!

  82. ed said,

    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.

  83. Sice said,

    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.

  84. AAExPlat said,

    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.

  85. Cory said,

    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.

  86. T said,

    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.

  87. steve said,

    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.

  88. kathy K (will run for miles) said,


  89. Ken said,

    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.

  90. michael B said,

    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.

  91. Vanessa said,

    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.

  92. Scott said,

    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….?

  93. cmt said,

    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.

  94. mike said,

    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!

  95. Chas said,

    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.

  96. Jeremy said,

    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!

  97. Jason said,

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

  98. How Do You Feel About Bare Feet on a Hotel Wall? - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] Last month I asked how you feel about bare feet on a plane. […]

  99. Rob said,

    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.

  100. Miles said,

    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.

  101. Jon said,

    Personally I think people taking their shoes off on a plane is fine PROVIDING they have socks. Fair enough if some people can’t stand feet then keeping socks on should be done out of courtesy regardless of the gender.
    To be honest it’s still showing bare flesh that should normally be covered, you wouldn’t expect shirts to be taken off on the plane.

  102. Joelfreak said,

    Really Gary? Haven’t we beat this to death already?! Every year at least we have this same post, and the same fight in the comments section…*sigh*

  103. kimmie a. said,

    If the freebie airplane socks are worn–which pretty much guaranties fresh and no odor–then there is no problem.

  104. Paul said,

    While I find bare feet disgusting, it’s not like planes are clean (even in First). I bring Clorox wipes and wipe down everywhere I will touch something. What’s worse is the asswipes who cough over everything without covering their mouth – or piss on the bathroom floor/seats. Some real pigs in this world – and they seem to congregate in airplanes.

  105. Mike said,

    OK for bare feet in your seat – but never walking around and absolutely not in the bathroom! On long haul flights, it can get uncomfortable, swelling, etc… So long as feet don’t smell, to each their own.

    What’s with the feet issues….2nd or 3rd time you’ve raised this. Maybe other issues?! : )

  106. Lively said,

    105 comments? I thought you were giving away a lounge pass or something!

  107. Liz said,

    Sooooo disgusting! NO!

  108. Add A Comment

home | top

View from the Wing is a project of Miles and Points Consulting, LLC. This site is for entertainment purpose only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

Advertiser Disclosure: Many (but not all) of the credit card offers on the site are from banks from which we receive compensation if you are approved. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards other than in banner advertising (we do not currently control the banner advertising on this blog). We don’t include all US credit card offers available on this site. Instead, I write primarily about cards which earn airline miles, hotel points, and some cash back (or have points that can be converted into the same).

Editorial Note: The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine and not provided by any bank including (but not limited to) American Express, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, Barclaycard or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.