Of all the things that are bandied about these days to do with driving law and driving standards, you’d never think that they’d come after your shoes. Your driving instructor will always check on what shoes you’re wearing to drive, and you might not believe them at the time, but it makes a huge difference.
The question ‘is driving barefoot illegal?’ has been around for ages, but the conclusive answer is: no. However, it has to be said that it’s not always advised, you’re according to the DVSA, the driver’s responsibility is to make sure that if you do, you are able to operate the controls safely - so definitely not with wet feet. The DVSA also recommend that ‘suitable’ footwear is considered - so while it’s not illegal, it’s definitely not the best course of action.
The rule of thumb is to adhere to this checklist when choosing footwear to drive in:
The sole can be no thicker than 10mm
But the sole cannot be too thin or soft
They must provide enough grip so your feet don’t slip off the pedals
They cannot be too heavy
They must not limit your ankle movement
Be narrow enough to to avoid pressing two pedals at once.
This may sound pretty strange, but when you think about it - you wouldn’t go out for a run in flip-flops or heels, and that’s exactly the same for driving.
It’s important to mention though, that while small, impractical shoes are dangerous for driving, it’s exactly the same for shoes are too clunky or large. As we all know, day-to-day driving can require a lot of finesse and fine movement in your feet and anything that restricts that, or makes it hard to do is definitely not suitable.
Despite this, however, these guidelines definitely don’t stop people from ignoring them. In a survey by confused.com it was revealed that 40% of women admit to driving in heels, 39% have chosen to drive in flip-flops and 27% say that they go barefoot.
Male drivers are just as bad, with 27% admit to driving in flip-flops and 22% say they’ve driven barefoot.