Many people wear boots with steel toe caps, particularly if they work as construction workers or industrial workers in some other industry where safety shoes are important. Particularly if traveling on a business trip for work, passengers may wish to wear their steel capped boots on a plane to save space as they would take up quite a large amount of space if packed in carry on bags.
The Quick Answer: TSA rules allow passengers to wear steel toe boots on a plane. Since steel toe boots will set off the airport metal detectors they need to be removed and placed in a tray for separate screening when passing through the security checkpoint.
This applies to any type of steel toed footwear you may like to wear including any form of steel toe boot, shoes with steel toes or composite toe boots.
Can you wear steel toe boots through airport security
With regard to steel toe shoes or steel toe boots, TSA rules state that they are permitted but you should follow the advice below.
Although you are permitted to wear boots with steel toe caps on a plane, when going through the airport security checkpoint you will have to remove them and place them in a tray to be screened by the x-ray machine.
The reason for this is that if you left them on your feet and walked through the metal detector it is inevitable that steel toe boots set off the metal detector alarm. You would then be subjected to further security checks by a TSA officer using handheld metal detectors and perhaps a pat-down.
You would then have to go back through the detector, remove the boots, place them in a tray and then pass through the metal detector again.
You may be also be asked to undergo further security screening by passing through one of the advanced imaging technology scanners, also known as millimeter wave scanners to see if you have any metal objects anywhere else.
So it is obviously worth avoiding all of this potential hassle by just removing them when you arrive at the checkpoint. Quite often, particularly during periods of heightened security, passengers are asked to remove their shoes and boots so they go through the x-ray equipment.
If you wear composite toe boots, such as those that have a kevlar toe area, then these may not set off the metal detectors. Remember that with any security issue the final decision rests with the TSA officer.
Tip: Since many steel toed boots, particularly the very high ones, can take a while to take off as they have many laces to undo. So don’t wait until you actually get to the checkpoint before starting to take them off as you will certainly upset the passengers behind you in the line who will have to wait for you. Instead start unlacing them as you queue.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers a very good service on Twitter and Facebook where you can ask a specific question about whether you can take something through the security checkpoint and they will respond quickly.
This is an example response to a passenger’s question regarding wearing steel toe boots:
Can you take steel toe boots in your carry on bags?
There are no restrictions on taking steel toe boots through a security checkpoint at the airport in your carry on bags, if there is enough room.
They can normally be left in your carry on bags when it goes through the x-ray equipment so you do not need to remove them and place them separately in a tray.
This is a response from the TSA confirming this:
Do you have to remove steel toe boots if you have TSA Precheck?
Although passengers with TSA Precheck do not normally have to remove their shoes it may be prudent to remove steel-toed boots to avoid any problems with setting off an alarm when passing through a metal detector.
This passenger with TSA Precheck asked the TSA Twitter service this question and this was their response:
Can you wear steel toe boots on a plane?
Any clothing, including wearing steel toe boots, that are allowed through the transport security administration checkpoint can also be worn while on board your flight too.
You can of course also remove them, particularly on a long flight, which may make you feel more comfortable and prevent getting your feet sore but hopefully, for the sake of the other passengers close to you, you do not have smelly feet!
Can you pack steel toed boots in your checked bags?
If you like to wear steel toed boots while away, perhaps due to work, then you can pack as many pairs of steel toe boots in your checked bags as space will allow as there are no restrictions on the number that can be carried.
You should have no problems if you wear steel toe boots through airport security and even wear the boots on a plane. Just remember to take them off for screening at the checkpoint. They can also be packed in your checked bags. Have a good and stress free flight.
Can I wear cowboy boots on a plane?
You will have no problems wearing cowboy boots through airport security (although you may have to remove them) and wearing them on a plane. However, don’t wear any spurs.
Do steel toe boots set off metal detectors?
Yes, the steel plate contained in the boots will undoubtedly set off the metal detector alarms as they will easily detect the metal so always take them off to go through x-ray screening.
Can you wear open-toed shoes on a plane?
You are allowed to wear open-toed shoes on a plane. Many styles of female shoes have open toes and they are worn on aircraft every day.
Can you wear gumboots on a plane?
Although gumboots (known as Wellington boots in the UK) wouldn’t be the most comfortable or elegant footwear to wear on a plane there are no regulations that state that you cannot wear them.
I have been traveling around the world by air since the early 70s and living overseas too. I worked for British Airways for a number of years and I am also a private pilot. About Me