In collaboration with the regional Finnish company Karhu, Finland’s flag carrier Finnair created a pair of unisex, casual sneakers that flight attendants can don as part of their uniform.
The Helsinki-based airline provided an explanation for the choice to create the black synthetic leather sneakers with blue accents, noting that it wasn’t unusual for a flight attendant to walk up to five kilometers during a 12-hour journey.
“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 went with a model of running shoe that was first introduced in the 1970s, but that has now been improved with more padding and an antibacterial liner to stop sweaty, 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.
Later this year, Finnair personnel will be the only ones to wear the Karhu-designed sneakers, but Prinssi notes that front-line employees, such as flight attendants, have previously been permitted to wear simple black sneakers to work for a number of years.
In reality, a rising number of airlines are letting flight attendants and pilots skip the conventional look of high heels and dress shoes in favor of casual sneakers. Finnair is one of these carriers.
While some airlines, such as Japan’s Zipair, Iceland’s Play, and Ukraine’s Skyup, permit cabin crew to wear shoes all the time, Germany’s Eurowings began a limited experiment of permitting them on flights on specific days last year.
Although the trend has also caught on at Spain’s flag carrier Iberia, where specifically branded sneakers are also available for cabin workers, the sneaker trend is typically limited to low-cost carriers.
The existing uniform, created by Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen, is paired with the new Karhue footwear at Finnair.
Pohjalainen claims that she chose dark blue as the uniform’s predominant color because it evokes thoughts of safety. The uniform was designed to combine tradition and modernity.