I’ve had many over zealous TSA agents insist on inconsistent rules with my shoes. But the one part they have in common is that my shoes should either be placed straight in a bin or flat on the belt. These are the shoes I am wearing.
Shoes: Please remove shoes before entering the screening technology and put them directly on the belt to go through the X-ray machine instead of in a bin with other items.
The reasoning? TSA says:
It is safe, easy, and gives officers a better look.
But these are just the shoes I’m wearing. Not all the shoes I’m traveling with.
Let’s think about this for a second. My shoes are supposedly potentially dangerous, so I should make it as easy for the TSA to scan them as possible. Okay–let’s say I buy into this.
But what about my carry-on?
When we flew to Pensacola, I had three pairs of heels stuffed into my suitcase. And yet, the TSA agent made sure I placed my shoes directly on the belt so they could get a better look.
What makes the shoes on my feet more inherently dangerous than the three pairs in my bag? And what’s there to stop me from switching shoes after security?
Rather than the shoes being inherently dangerous, I think the shoe policy is inherently silly. But it doesn’t look like change is coming anytime soon.
That’s why I’m glad I have TSA PreCheck. With PreCheck, I don’t have to take off my shoes–as long as they won’t set off the sensor.
What would set off the sensors? Shoes with metal posts in the heels can.
That’s why I make sure I wear one of my comfortable shoe picks through security. They don’t need to come off my feed and I don’t have to worry about whatever rule the TSA has on worn shoes today.
Of course, the rules overall can change any day. Some passengers have been confused by TSA not requiring people to remove shoes.
The rules can change on a day-to-day basis while they try things out. Even though I qualify for PreCheck, I had to pull all my portable chargers one day (and never had to do it since). So none of this is predictable for the future!