Photo Courtesy of qa.shpnc.nc.gov
Some travelers, by policy, are not required to remove their shoes, but if their shoes alarm during the screening process, or if they require secondary screening for another reason, they might be askedto remove them. So let’s take a look at what can cause shoes to set off a metal detector:
- Shoe Shanks - Many shoes have what’s known as a shank, which is embedded between the insole and outsole. It’s there for support, and can be made of steel, Kevlar, or fiberglass. If it’s steel, there is a chance it could cause your shoes to alarm. Here are some pictures of shoe shanks if you’re wondering what they look like.
- Nails - Cowboy boots and a variety of shoes have nails in the heal.
- Zippers, Buckles, Eyelets, D-rings, and Hooks - Some shoes and boots have large metallic zippers, buckles, eyelets, D-rings, and hooks.
- Steel Toes - Steel toes in shoes and boots.
- Roller Shoes - If you’ve ever seen someone suddenly begin to skate in their tennis shoes, you’ve seen roller shoes. A wheel pops out of the heel and allows the shoes to double as roller skates. The wheel mechanism can cause the shoes to alarm.
- Light Up Shoes - Light up shoes have wires and a battery that can cause an alarm.
So, now that you know what can cause shoes to alarm, let’s discuss some alternatives:
- Airport Friendly Shoes - Some brands offer “airport friendly” shoes that are manufactured without metal. If you have trouble finding a pair, a quick internet search should do the trick.
- Slippers & Flip Flops - If you have a pair of shoes that you know will alarm, you can pack them in your carry-on bag and wear slippers or flip flops through the walk through metal detector. After security, you can put your favorite shoes on.
The following groups may not be required to remove their shoes during screening:
- TSA Pre✓® Expedited Screening
- Screening for Active Duty U.S. Service Members
- Screening for Passengers 12 and Under
- Screening for Passengers 75 and Older
- Passengers Who Cannot Remove Their Shoes
See you next Tuesday with more travel tips!
TSA Blog Team
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