Finland’s flagship airline Finnair has developed a pair of casual unisex sneakers with local Finnish brand Karhu that can be worn by flight attendants as part of their uniform.
Explaining the decision to develop the black synthetic suede sneakers with blue detailing, the Helsinki-based airline said it wasn’t unusual for a flight attendant to walk up to five kilometres during a 12-hour flight.
“There’s also the ground distance to and from the gate, which is substantial in some airports. It all adds up to long days on the feet,” the airline said in a story posted on a blog on its website.
Finnair chose a style of running shoe which was first released back in the 1970s, although the design has since been updated with additional padding and an antimicrobial lining to prevent sweaty and smelly feet.
“The attractive shoe combines black synthetic-suede uppers with dark-blue detailing in a look that complements the sleek Nordic-inspired design of Finnair’s uniforms,” the airline said in a statement.
“As a fellow Finnish brand that also has a long history, Karhu was the perfect partner for this project,” explained Finnair’s brand development manager Lotta Prinssi.
The Karhu-designed sneakers will be rolled out exclusively to Finnair employees later this year, but Prinssi points out that frontline workers, including flight attendants, have already been allowed to wear plain black sneakers at work for several years.
In fact, Finnair is one of a growing number of airlines that are allowing flight attendants and pilots to ditch the traditional look of high-heels and dress shoes for comfortable sneakers.
Last year, Germany’s Eurowings started a limited trial of allowing cabin crew to wear sneakers onboard flights on certain days, while other airlines, including Japan’s Zipair, Iceland’s Play and Ukraine’s Skyup, allow cabin crew to wear sneakers all the time.
The sneaker trend is generally confined to low-cost carriers, although the trend has also caught on at Spain’s flag carrier Iberia where specially branded sneakers are also available for cabin crew.
The new Karhue sneakers at Finnair will pair with the existing uniform designed by the Finnish artist Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen.
The uniform was intended to fuse tradition with the modern, and Pohjalainen says she chose dark blue as the main colour in the uniform as it invokes feelings of safety.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.