Is It Illegal to Drive Without Shoes?

Whether you’re in a hurry or just wanna pop over to the nearest fast food joint, driving barefoot is actually pretty tempting. Besides this people also love driving in flip-flops! Each year many car accidents happen as a result of such practices.

But is it illegal to drive without shoes?

Well, contrary to popular belief driving barefoot is technically not illegal in any of the states in the US. But, you must be in a position to carry out all the maneuvers while driving without delay or problem.

There isn’t, as of yet, any law in any of the states that state clearly anything about driving barefoot. So, if you want to visit the nearest drive-through restaurant without any shoes, no police will fine you for that at least.

However, we do not advise anyone to drive barefoot or with flip-flops since it can cause some problems, and it isn’t really the safest thing to do.

Why You Shouldn’t Drive Without Shoes?

The ability to control a car or a bike and bring it to a stop immediately is essential for road safety. When driving, you must be able to maneuver your vehicle without delay.

So if there is something that delays your reflex ability, like being barefoot or wearing something odd then it might cause you to earn some tickets from the traffic police.

Why You Shouldn't Drive Without Shoes

If wearing impractical footwear hinders a driver’s ability to control the vehicle, putting himself and others at risk, then it becomes illegal to do so.

There are some other important reasons for not driving barefoot. So bear with us a bit more.

1. To Apply Pressure to the Clutch

You’re already aware of the fact that the clutch pedal in the car requires a driver to put a lot of pressure on it. On a manual car, this clutch is relatively small, and as a result, if you’re barefooted, it will be a lot harder to put pressure on it properly.

If you’re wearing a shoe, then you can distribute this pressure evenly from the ball of your feet through the sole of the shoe. When it requires a quick response, being barefoot might not be too helpful in applying this pressure.

2. Slipping Feet

When you wear shoes, you experience greater friction between them and the clutch pedals. Its rough surface doesn’t let the shoe slip off while applying pressure.

On the other hand, when barefooted, your feet could get sweaty after applying repeated pressure on the clutch. In case of any emergency, these sweaty feet have a high chance of slipping off the pedal or not applying enough pressure. As a result, it becomes much more difficult to control the car.

Of course, you don’t want to fall under such situations, do you?

3. In Case of an Accident

You know when there is a car accident, broken glasses and debris are flying everywhere. In the case of such an unfortunate event, any driver will be at a greater risk of sustaining injury if he’s barefoot.

Besides, the person might need to walk a long way too. Having no shoes at all in such a case is highly impractical.

4. What If You Need to Push the Car?

Let’s face it, any veteran driver will admit to being stranded on the highway because their car suddenly broke down. Imagine yourself in this scenario, what if you have to push the car for some time? Can you do it barefoot?

Pushing a car will require a lot of strength and friction on your feet, and doing it without any footwear will probably tear your foot skin or injure you in any other way. You don’t want that.

So Are There Any Guidelines?

Yes. Even though driving barefoot has not been made illegal in many states yet, there are guidelines suggested by many authorities for the safety of the driver, vehicle, and other people.

The RAC has provided some guidelines as to which type of shoes one should wear behind the wheel. They are as follows:

  • Sole of the shoe shouldn’t be thicker than 10 mm, and neither should it be too soft or thin.
  • Shoe should provide the driver with enough grip to put sufficient pressure on the pedal.
  • Ankle movement must not be limited too much by the shoe.
  • It should not be too heavy, so much so that the driver has trouble moving the feet.
  • Shoe shouldn’t be too broad so that it doesn’t accidentally press two pedals at once.
  • RAC has also declared women’s shoes with high heels and flip-flops to be unsuitable for piloting a vehicle.
  • Light, flimsy and impractical footwear, as well as sturdy and robust shoes, should be avoided.
  • The shoe should not create any type of hindrance whatsoever in maneuvering the pedals of the car or the bike.

It is overall very important to have a good grip in order to apply much pressure onto the pedals of the car, and it cannot usually come without a good pair of shoes.

Which Shoes Should You Avoid?

Recent research says that almost 40% of the women drive in high heels while 39% have admitted to having driven wearing flip flops as well. Of males, 27% have admitted wearing flip-flops, and 22% drove barefoot.

So you can see that a large number of people have worn footwear while driving. This is not uncommon for people to have problems in controlling the breaks wearing such things.

Driving the wrong kinds of shoes could make you lose control of your car and get involved in an unfortunate incident. In addition to high heels and flips flops, wellies or heavy-duty work boots are also not appropriate for safe driving.

Although all of these are not illegal, in the interest of everyone’s safety, you should put on the correct pair of shoes, which seems most convenient to you while you drive. Details read

Can I Be Fined for Wearing the Wrong Footwear?

Since it is not illegal, you won’t be charged for wearing the wrong kinds of shoes while driving, but there is a catch. Depending on the circumstance, the traffic police could check if the shoes you’re wearing were in any way, shape, or form caused a problem in driving.

So, if the police stop you for erratic driving and deem your footwear to be the cause, he can fine you for that.

While we’re at the issue, it might be beneficial as well to inform you that, in case of an accident due to inappropriate footwear, the insurance company could reduce the amount of money paid out in the claim. This is a major loss for anyone.

Final words

Shoes or no shoes, your own safety begins with yourself first. Bearing this thought in mind, should you be wondering, “is it illegal to drive without shoes”? We don’t think so.

Although there are no prohibitions against it, driving barefoot doesn’t make it the right choice. So for your and everyone’s safety, it is better to wear appropriate footwear behind the wheel.


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