With Ricardo Moreira da Silva, Ph.D. (Skypro Product Diretor)
Our feet are a crucial part of our bodies that we always seem to neglect. Feet support the body’s structure, absorbing ground impacts, ensuring the venous blood return and many other vital functions – which is why we should give them the care they deserve.
The main goal for professional shoes is to protect feet from everyday hazards, especially those in work environments. Ultimately, things are not as straightforward. There are other factors in play that make it difficult to choose the right kind of shoe. For example, flight attendant shoes are a crucial part of a steward or stewardess’ dress because they sell and uphold the image of the airline. Moreover, airline officials – who are first in line for the safety, protection and health of their workers – have limited technical knowledge when it comes to selecting the best shoes for a hazardous workplace. The wrong decision can lead to higher occurrence of injuries or foot deformities and permanently influences the health of their workers.
An article from the Daily Mail stated that that airline bosses, city banks and West End department stores are operating on ‘sexist’ dress codes that force female staff to wear high heels . At the same time, union chiefs said that ‘inappropriate footwear’ leads to long-term foot and back problems. Furthering this debate, a scientific study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery reports that high heel-related injuries have doubled between 2002 and 2012. In 2002, there were 7.097 related injuries for women in the U.S, and in 2012 there were 14.140 .
Even in cases where the worker buys its own shoes, their first instinct is to go after good design and aesthetics. An article published in the New York Times stated that flight attendants choose their shoes based on a number of factors, including their personal budgets, foot problems and the rules of their own airlines. But most flight attendants in the United States are allowed to buy what they like as long as they stay within certain guidelines .
SKYPRO works directly with Universities, Technical Institutes (Footwear, Leather and Textiles), Testing Laboratories and Podiatrics, together with its own team highly experienced and specialized in footwear, leather goods, polymeric materials, leathers, textiles to develop the best shoes for airline professionals. Our conclusions are in agreement with other research centers, such as the Healthy Footwear Group  or the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) in defining a list of important recommendations to consider when choosing the right professional shoe:
- Wearing leather shoes (preferably cow leathers), while avoiding suede, synthetics or light fabrics
- Good fitting. Spacious last (shoe mold) to accommodate for feet swelling
- Anti-skid properties (tested according to the EN ISO 13287 international standard)
- Free of dangerous chemical substances (within REACH limits)
- Proper breathability. Only use materials with good water vapor permeability and absorption
- Long-term comfort. Foams that ensure cushioning throughout the shoe’s life cycle without losing its thickness
- Anti-static systems (for electrostatic charges dissipation)
- Good thermal insulation
- Comfortably footed with good shock absorption and anti-fatigue properties;
- Women should not wear a shoe with a heel higher than 6.35 cm (2 ½ inches)
- There must be a 10mm space between the shoe’s toecap and your longest toe.