Combatting Swollen Feet After Flying

Ever stepped off a plane only to find your shoes uncomfortably tight and your feet swollen? This common issue affects many travelers, but fortunately, it's manageable with the right approach. How can you tell if your foot is swollen during a flight and what can be done about it? At Clove, we're committed to supporting your journey with practical tips and tailored products designed to enhance your comfort during and after your flight. Let’s explore why swollen feet occur and how you can effectively manage this discomfort to stay comfortable on the go.

Causes of Swollen Feet After Flying

If you're wondering, "Why do my feet swell when I travel?" The main culprit is often the prolonged periods of sitting during flights which can lead to fluid retention in the lower limbs. This is because being stationary can restrict blood flow, causing blood and other fluids to pool in the feet. Additionally, the cabin's low pressure doesn't do us any favors either—it can further affect circulation, contributing to the foot swell after a flight.

Another cause of swollen feet during a flight, or anywhere else actually, is the way your legs may hang while seated, which can constrict veins and limit blood flow in the legs, exacerbating swelling. For those at risk, such as pregnant travelers or individuals with heart disease or varicose veins, these effects can be more pronounced. It's also worth noting that dehydration, paradoxically, can worsen fluid retention. When the body senses a lack of fluids, it may hold onto what it has, leading to increased swelling.

Prevention and Management Techniques

#1 Stay Hydrated

Keeping well-hydrated is crucial in preventing swollen feet. Water helps thin the blood, which can improve circulation and reduce the likelihood of blood clots and swelling. Aim to drink plenty of water before and during your flight, and avoid diuretics like caffeine and alcohol which can lead to dehydration.

#2 Perform Simple Leg Exercises

Engaging in gentle leg exercises can stimulate blood flow and prevent fluid from pooling in your lower extremities. Try ankle circles, foot pumps, and knee lifts periodically throughout the flight. These movements are not only helpful in maintaining circulation but also in keeping you active during those long sitting periods.

#3 Take Short Walks

Whenever possible, take a walk up and down the aisle. Walking is one of the most effective ways to encourage blood circulation throughout the body. A quick stroll every hour or so can make a significant difference in how your legs feel both during and after your flight.

#4 Elevate Your Legs

If possible, try to elevate your legs by resting them on a carry-on bag under the seat in front of you. Elevating your legs helps reverse the effects of gravity and improve blood flow back to your heart.

#5 Choose Aisle Seats for Easier Mobility

Booking an aisle seat can be a strategic choice for those prone to swelling. It allows easier access to get up and move around frequently during the flight without having to disturb other passengers.

Each of these techniques offers a proactive approach to managing and preventing swollen feet during flights. Try adding some if not all these practices into your travel routine to enhance your comfort and health on your journeys.

Footwear and Comfort

Choosing the right footwear is also key for flying. Opt for shoes that offer good arch support and cushioning—like sneakers. These can significantly improve your comfort levels, especially when paired with compression socks.

Speaking of which, wearing compression socks during flights is especially useful, as changes in cabin pressure and prolonged inactivity can exacerbate swelling issues. A quality pair will apply gentle pressure to your ankles and legs, promoting blood circulation and reducing the risk of swelling.

Clove's Solutions for Post-Flight Comfort

At Clove, we work relentlessly so that you can do things like step off your flight feeling as good as when you boarded. Both our men’s sneakers and women’s sneakers are specifically designed for comfort and support, ideal for those long flights and even longer shifts at work. And let's talk some more about our compression socks. Available in stylish options like the Ocean Fade, these socks are not just functional; they're a statement of care and style. They help manage swelling and improve circulation, making them a perfect addition to your travel and work wardrobe.

Swollen feet after flying can be more than just a minor annoyance—it can be a sign that you need to take better care of your circulation and overall leg health. With Clove's expertly designed products and a few smart travel habits, learning how to help swelling feet becomes significantly easier, whether you're in the air or on the ground.


  1. Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates. Preventing Swollen Feet During Travel. 
  2. Clark Podiatry Center. Prevent Swollen Feet While Flying. 
  3. Medical News Today. What to know about swollen ankles from flying.