Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TSA Travel Tips Tuesday – What Causes Shoes to Alarm Metal Detectors?



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 asked to 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:


See you next Tuesday with more travel tips!

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If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

Travelers Are Enjoying TSA Pre✓™ - Read What They’re Saying




We appreciate your tweets and your calls letting us know that you’re enjoying the many benefits of TSA Pre™. As the TSA Pre™ program expands, we are committed to providing the same quality of expedited screening nationwide.

If you haven’t heard of TSA Pre™, it’s an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved airline travelers to leave their shoes, light outerwear, and belt on. TSA Pre™ travelers can also keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on.

We’ve heard your requests for more TSA Pre™ locations and we are happy to announce more locations coming soon. To date we have rolled out TSA Pre™ at 97 airports. You can see the complete list by clicking here.

It’s also expanded to seven more air carriers (Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America). But, we’re not stopping at seven—we know there are other carriers that would benefit from TSA Pre™ and we’re looking for more opportunities to expand.

What’s next for TSA Pre™ you ask? We will be launching a TSA Pre™ application/enrollment process by the end of the year. If you want to apply, all you need to do is fill out the application online and visit an enrollment center. Check back on our website for more details to come. In the meantime, you can be eligible to receive TSA Pre™  benefits by applying for CBP’s Global Entry program, or through an invitation from your airline’s frequent flier program.

But don’t just take our word for it. Read about what the locals are saying about TSA Pre™:





Fast screening now available at TIA – Arizona Daily Star


To date more than 18 million passengers have enjoyed expedited screening as a result of the TSA Pre™ program. Click here to learn more about the program.

The passenger experience is important to us. We encourage you to continue to share your feedback about your TSA Pre™ experience on Twitter using the hashtag #TSAprecheck.



Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!


If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.