Believe it or not, driving without shoes is actually legal in all 50 states in the US and no sanctions can be issued to someone caught driving barefoot unless an accident happens. The federal law and state laws don’t mandate the usage of any shoes in driving either.
There are advantages and drawbacks to barefoot driving though. Wearing no footwear at all may pose hazards to you, the driver, and others on the road. Keep reading as we discuss everything about barefoot driving.
Table of Contents
- Are There Laws That Prohibit The Type Of Footwear You Can Wear While Driving?
- Should You Drive Shoe-Less?
- What kind of shoes are optimal for driving?
- In Sum
Are There Laws That Prohibit The Type Of Footwear You Can Wear While Driving?
There are no federal or state laws that declare what drivers can or can’t wear when driving a car or any type of motor vehicle. Hence, it is safe to say that it is legal to wear any type of preferred footwear.
So technically, drivers are allowed to drive barefoot but, the question is should you actually do it? In the case where a police officer pulls you over and criticizes your footwear, know that the officer probably can’t site you specifically for what’s on your feet but if it happens to cause other infractions they might.
Should You Drive Shoe-Less?
While it’s legal to drive without shoes, many states don’t recommend doing so. For instance, the state of Ohio declares that “Operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with bare feet is permitted, but not recommended.”
Nonetheless, the preference and comfort of the driver is still the key factor to consider. Drivers are encouraged to drive with utmost comfort to avoid any distractions or mishaps while on the road.
So should you drive without shoes? Well, it all comes down to your comfort and skill. If you are comfortable driving without any shoes, then you can feel free to do it but keep in mind to always practice safety precautions.
Pros of driving without shoes
- Driving without shoes allows you to move your feet freely
Driving requires fast movements especially when things get out of hand. Driving without any shoes takes away all possible constrictions and hazards like loose shoelaces, and slippery soles. Certain footwear features like chunky soles or rigid toes can limit your feet’ movements.
Without these constrictions, the driver can easily react according to the urgency of the situation. As a driver, you should always have firm control over the brake and accelerator for total safety.
- Your feet are more sensitive to inputs from the pedals
Because some shoes like winter boots have thick heavy soles, drivers who wear them can have a hard time estimating how much pressure they need to put on the brakes or accelerator.
- Barefeet can provide a better grip than some shoes
In the situation when the driver is wearing slick-bottomed shoes like dress shoes or heels, it may be better to drive barefoot as those smooth soles can easily slide off the pedal and lose control. Heels also provide less support because of the elevated design putting the foot at an awkward angle in relation to the pedals.
Flip-flops are another footwear that doesn’t provide firm footing. While flip-flops are convenient and comfortable to wear in a number of places, driving with them may pose danger as they can easily snag on things in the footwell resulting in sudden braking, accelerating, or delayed reaction.
Just remember that using the best driving shoes play an important role in avoiding mishaps and pedal error.
Here is a list of shoes to avoid using when driving:
- High heels
- Large chunky boots
Cons of driving without shoes
- Bare feet can be slippery and moist with perspiration
Perspiration can make feet slippery, causing the driver to lose grip on the pedals. When this happens, the driver may not be able to hit the pedals effectively. The same hazard applies to socks or tights made from nylon. That’s why when driving it’s important to keep the contact point between your foot and the pedals as dry as possible and shoes generally do a good job at this.
- Barefoot driving may be perceived as distracted driving or negligent
If an accident occurs while you are driving barefoot, an officer may hold you liable for the accident and proclaim bare footedness as a cause of distracted driving. The court can always refuse to accept this statement but there are still possibilities that they will accept it depending on the case specifics.
- Local laws can prohibit barefoot driving anytime
The states, cities, towns, or municipalities have the power to create regulations against the practice of barefoot driving at any time. If you are unsure about laws and regulations, always consult with different local officials, especially when driving cross country.
What kind of shoes are optimal for driving?
The best shoes to use for driving are ones that are non-slip and provide the most grip. In most cases, that’s athletic shoes like sneakers or driving-specific footwear.
Sneakers used for sports or exercise are made to fit securely for mobility and are designed with soles that aren’t so thick that you lose sensitivity. They also tend to be light so you can move your foot easily from one pedal to another.
A bonus is, that sneakers can also be used for activities other than driving so you get the most from what you spent. Plus they look pretty good. These advantages make sneakers one of the best driving shoes to have.
If you’re looking for the ultimate driving footwear; driving shoes are designed with the understanding of the motions that your foot follows while driving.
They were initially designed for race car drivers then trickled down to sportscar enthusiasts. They have rubber soles for traction and flat soles for hitting pedals effectively. The heels are rounded off to provide easy pivoting between pedals.
If you are planning to buy shoes for driving anytime soon, here are some criteria you should look for in a shoe.
- Secure fit
- Flat sole
- Covers the entire foot
- Rubber sole
So while you can drive shoe-less, it’s probably not a good idea. There’s a reason why professional race car drivers arent all driving around barefoot, and have developed shoes specifically for driving. It’s because rubber provides a better grip than your barefoot. Sure you can get by occasionally but for proper driving safety, shoe up people.
What do you think shoe or no shoe?