this thing's incredible

This Padded Foot Sling Makes Economy Feel Like First Class

Thanks to this gizmo, I was able to sleep for four to six hours at a time on my flight to Singapore. Photo: courtesy of the retailer

Some people can fall asleep anywhere. I’ve watched longingly as friends of mine have passed out on short subway rides, intermissions during musicals, and in corners of noisy parties. I am not one of those people. Even on road trips and cross-country red-eye flights, I’m wide awake. So when I booked a 20-hour flight to Singapore and Hong Kong, I knew I had to somehow force myself to sleep.

I was skeptical when I stumbled onto the goofy-sounding Sleepy Ride footrest on Amazon, but after reading a handful of glowing reviews, I decided $20 was worth a test run. The description claimed that the weird foot sling alleviates swelling and soreness by elevating your feet, which I hoped would save me from having to walk around the plane once an hour to avoid blood clots. (My grammy’s stern advice.) I paired it with light compression socks to double down on swelling prevention.

The 21-inch-long, 7-inch-wide footrest is made of plush memory foam, but is flat enough to fold up neatly in a little pouch that I tucked into my backpack. The straps are adjustable and hook around the tray table in front of you so that it becomes a foot hammock, rocking gently with the motions of the plane. However, it does not jerk the seat of the person in front of you — I clipped and adjusted it carefully without moving my fellow passenger’s seat at all. And it works on both twist-to-lock and clipped-closure tray tables.

There are a few ways to rest your feet in the Sleepy Ride. I found the most comfortable to be either crossing my ankles and letting my feet sit in the sling, or spreading my legs slightly and having my calves rest more than my feet. I am five-one, so legroom has never been a problem for me on planes, but since my feet don’t always touch the ground, sometimes the blood pools in a weird way and makes my legs feel heavy and sore. With the combined forces of compression socks and the footrest, I had zero pain, pressure, or swelling, and was able to sleep for four to six hours at a time. It was the closest thing to a first-class experience that I could get in economy, and I spent all the money I saved on salted egg yolk chips, novelty chopsticks, and, of course, lots of street food.

Sleepy Ride Airplane Footrest
$20 at Amazon

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Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine
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This Padded Foot Sling Makes Economy Feel Like First Class