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Airport metal dectors and shoes

timekeeping

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Hello everyone,

I just acquired a new pair of shell cordovan Alden chukka boots, with the intension of wearing it while I'm travelling on business. Of course, to avoid premature wear, I take another pair of Bally oxfords to rotate (shoe trees included) along with a little shoe shine kit.

Bad mistake... For some reason (I'd say it's a steel shank in the arch area between the toe and the heel), the Aldens set off metal dectors at the airport. In the new, security conscious world, that means taking my shoes off and putting them thru the x-ray machine.

Now, I think we should compile a list of shoes that set off metal detectors. This list would be helpful for future shoe purchases. Don't be like me who finds out after it's too late.

To those more knowledgable on the topic of shoes, is there an explanation of why a some makers put so much metal in the shoes? Is it for a more solid construction? Or is it a sign of bad construction?
 

montecristo#4

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You should just assume that you're going to have to run your shoes through a metal detector when traveling, unless you're wearing slippers.

Therefore, the fact that Aldens have a steel shank really doesn't matter.
 

FIHTies

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I will second MC#4's comments. I have found that they now ask you to remove your shoes no matter what you are wearing. I travel in a pair of Born Shoes that I use as slippers usually and they make me put them through the xray even though there is no way that I am concealing anything in them. My wife recently bought me a belt that I almost killed her with last trip to Italy. The Buckle set off the detectors at every security checkpoint and I had to put that through as well. Shoes slip off. Belts dont
(Man there are so many loops...) I used to think she liked me
The world has changed. Get used to it. JJF
 

LA Guy

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Brian SD

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On my most recent visits to the airport I was asked to run my sneakers through the metal detector.

I always have horrible luck at the walk-through detectors. I've had to walk through several times because of a pair of button-fly jeans that kept getting picked up. I think they were Diesel Zathans...
 

faustian bargain

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that's why, when i travel, i wear nothing but pvc raingear and slush boots. i don't run through airports, i SLUSH through airports. /andrew - is still looking for airport-friendly aluminum foil skullcaps
 

dorian

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My wife recently bought me a belt that I almost killed her with last trip to Italy. The Buckle set off the detectors at every security checkpoint and I had to put that through as well. Shoes slip off. Belts dont (Man there are so many loops...) I used to think she liked me
One of my favorite things about a Ferragamo belt... you can simply snap the buckle right off. Security people do a double take, always providing me with an immature, made-ya-look sense of satisfaction.
 

JLibourel

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I note that Allen-Edmonds makes a point of stressing that their shoes lack shanks and therefore do not set off metal detectors.

I don't know if wearing them would do any good in my case. I ALWAYS trigger the blasted alarm. I think it's my gold teeth. I suspect my suspicious appearance has something to do with it too--a gray-haired, bespectacled man of obviously North European antecedents in his early 60s wearing a coat and tie--just the sort to fit the profile of a highjacker.
 

Bic Pentameter

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Oneonline retailer I visited a few months ago allowed for a search for "airport safe" shoes.

I was asked at a US airport last July if I wanted to take my dress shoes off. I knew they didn't have a metal shank in them, so I said I'd go through the detector without taking them off.

It may be a hassle, but I see no need to give up your aldens if you have chosen them to be your travel shoe because of comfort and versatility.

Bic
 

Kai

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I never remove my shoes in line. I know I'm going to "beep" anyway because of my watch, belt, etc., so I just walk through the detector, fully clothed, beep, and get hand wanded. That way, I can sit while removing and replacing my shoes. More comfortable and more civilized than trying to get undressed while moving through the line.
 

retronotmetro

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The metal shank is there to add rigidity to the shoe.  Some shoe companies have shifted over to nonmetallic shanks for airport friendliness, other makers have always used them.  I know AEs use some kind of nonmetallic shank, and Johnston & Murphy now actually advertises some of their shoes as airport-friendly.

I don't think the TSA people will force you to remove your shoes until/unless you set off the "archway" metal detectors.   However, they do encourage everyone to remove their shoes--and this can include sneakers.  I once saw a guy in flip flops asked if he would like to put his "shoes" through the scanner.    I have some shoes that have proven to be low-metal, and sometimes will wave off the TSA screeners, telling them the shoes are fine.

Personally, when travelling in dress clothes I carry a shoe horn and a pair of cheap slippers in my travel bag, then put my shoes through the scanner.  The way I travel, sometimes five or ten minutes at the checkpoint can make the difference between getting food before a flight or not, or getting an upgrade or not.  So I would rather go through "clean" than have the secondary search.
 

CharlieZircon

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I travel fairly regularly in Australia, and I haven't had the shoe thing happen - either setting the detector off or being asked to take them off. I wear a variety of shoes but obviously just lucky that none have the hidden metal bit. I do see a lot of women wandering around shoeless. I have only been beeped once, when I was wearing an outrageous size belt buckle, which I could unclip from the belt (yup taking off a whole belt would suck). I have noticed that sometimes guys just behind me wearing the same kind of buckle I get through with are beeped, and the theory I am working with is that for small amounts of metal body mass seems to dilute the effect that sets off the detector - I am about 94 kilos,and the other guys are a fair bit smaller.
 

marc37

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that's why, when i travel, i wear nothing but pvc raingear and slush boots. i don't run through airports, i SLUSH through airports. /andrew - is still looking for airport-friendly aluminum foil skullcaps
l'd like to see that, you sound like a legend.
 

marc37

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I travel fairly regularly in Australia, and I haven't had the shoe thing happen - either setting the detector off or being asked to take them off.  I wear a variety of shoes but obviously just lucky that none have the hidden metal bit.  I do see a lot of women wandering around shoeless.  I have only been beeped once, when I was wearing an outrageous size belt buckle, which I could unclip from the belt (yup taking off a whole belt would suck).  I have noticed that sometimes guys just behind me wearing the same kind of buckle I get through with are beeped, and the theory I am working with is that for small amounts of metal body mass seems to dilute the effect that sets off the detector - I am about 94 kilos,and the other guys are a fair bit smaller.
l wear metal shanked shoes and l never have to take my shoes off at metal detectors (l wouldn't anyway, stuff them). ln Australia the rules are more relaxed l think.
 

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