Which Footwear is not Safe for Driving?

Last Updated on August 19, 2023 by Chase Reiner

Footwear like flip-flops and sandals, slippers and loose-fitting shoes, high heels and stilettos, thick-soled shoes, and boots, etc. are not safe for driving. These types of footwear can hamper pedal control, delay reaction times, and lead to accidents. Opt for flat, well-fitted shoes for safer driving.

Overview of Which Footwear is Not Safe for Driving

Type of FootwearReasons for Being Unsafe
High HeelsHigh heels can put the foot at an unnatural angle which may affect pedal control, and run the risk of slipping off the pedals or getting caught under them due to their narrow base.
Flip FlopsKnown for their loose fit, flip flops easily slip off and can get lodged under the brake or gas pedals, causing a delay in driver response time.
Heavy BootsThe thick soles of these boots can reduce the driver’s ability to feel the pedals, potentially decreasing reaction speed and control.
Platform ShoesSimilar to high heels, they alter the angle of the foot and possibly obstruct accurate pedal pressing due to their width and height.
Bare FeetAlthough not illegal in many places, driving barefoot can cause sweaty feet to slip off the pedals or cause discomfort that distracts from safe driving.
SlippersSlippers are potentially dangerous as they can easily slip off, become wedged under pedals, or tear while driving.

Understanding the Risks of Unsafe Footwear

Wearing unsafe footwear while driving can pose serious risks due to compromised control, reduced reaction times, and impaired driving ability. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the risks associated with unsafe footwear:

  1. Impaired Pedal Control:
    • Footwear with thick soles, such as platform shoes, can make it challenging to accurately gauge pedal pressure, leading to unintended acceleration or braking.
    • High heels can prevent full contact with pedals, causing difficulty in maintaining consistent pressure and control.
  2. Delayed Reaction Times:
    • Bulky or uncomfortable footwear can hinder quick movements, delaying your ability to respond to sudden changes in traffic conditions.
    • Heels or shoes without proper grip may slip off the pedals, causing a delay in your reaction to emergencies.
  3. Decreased Sensitivity:
    • Shoes that are too tight or constricting can reduce sensitivity in your feet, making it harder to feel the feedback from the pedals and road surface.
    • This reduced tactile feedback can lead to overcompensation or underestimation of pedal pressure.
  4. Limited Range of Motion:
    • Footwear with rigid or restrictive designs can limit the range of motion in your ankles and feet, affecting your ability to make precise pedal movements.
  5. Distraction and Discomfort:
    • Uncomfortable shoes can divert your attention from the road as you constantly adjust your feet for comfort.
    • Shoes that cause discomfort might lead to distracted driving, as your focus shifts from the road to your feet.
  6. Risk of Accidents:
    • Inadequate pedal control, delayed reactions, and impaired driving ability increase the likelihood of accidents, both minor and major.
    • Unsafe footwear can contribute to collisions, especially in situations requiring sudden stops or evasive maneuvers.
  7. Difficulty Operating Manual Transmission:
    • Operating a manual transmission vehicle requires precise coordination between the clutch, brake, and accelerator pedals.
    • Improper footwear can hinder this coordination, leading to jerky gear shifts, stalling, or other driving issues.
  8. Interference with Vehicle Features:
    • Bulky shoes can inadvertently press buttons, levers, or switches on the dashboard or center console, causing distractions or unintended changes to vehicle settings.
  9. Legal Implications:
    • Some states have specific laws against driving barefoot or in certain types of footwear that may hinder safe driving.
    • If involved in an accident, wearing unsafe footwear might lead to questions about your driving behavior and contribute to legal complications.

Are There Laws for What to Wear While Driving in the USA?

In the USA, there are no specific federal laws that dictate what to wear while driving. However, individual states may have regulations pertaining to driver attire for safety reasons. For example, several states prohibit driving barefoot or with inappropriate footwear that might impede pedal control. While not universal, these rules aim to ensure driver comfort and control. It’s recommended to check your state’s specific laws to understand any requirements regarding footwear and attire while driving.

Which Footwear is not Safe for Driving?

Flip-Flops and Sandals

The Hazards of Driving in Flip-Flops

Wearing flip-flops while driving can pose several hazards that can compromise your safety on the road. Here are a few reasons why flip-flops are not suitable for driving:

  1. Slippage: Flip-flops have the potential to slip off your feet easily, especially during sudden movements or when applying pressure to the pedals. This can cause a distraction and hinder your ability to control the vehicle effectively.
  2. Lack of Stability: Flip-flops lack ankle support, which can affect your balance and control while operating the pedals. The loose fit and lack of structure can lead to incorrect pedal placement and potential accidents.
  3. Inadequate Grip: The thin and flexible sole of flip-flops may not provide sufficient traction on the pedals. This can lead to slips and difficulty in applying the right amount of pressure to the gas, brake, or clutch pedals.

Why Sandals are Not Suitable for Driving

Similar to flip-flops, sandals also come with their own set of risks and are not recommended for driving. Here’s why:

  1. Limited Ankle Support: Sandals typically have an open design and do not provide adequate support for the ankles. This lack of support can affect your ability to maneuver the pedals accurately and maintain control of the vehicle.
  2. Potential Footwear Malfunctions: Sandals with loose straps or no back can get caught under the pedals, impeding your ability to brake or accelerate effectively. This can lead to delayed reactions and dangerous situations on the road.
  3. Reduced Foot Grip: Sandals with slippery soles can impede your foot’s grip on the pedals, increasing the likelihood of slips and pedal control problems. This can compromise your ability to respond swiftly in emergency situations.

It is crucial to prioritize safety while driving by choosing appropriate footwear that provides stability, grip, and proper support for your feet. 

Which Footwear is not Safe for Driving?

Slippers and Loose-Fitting Shoes

The Dangers of Driving in Slippers

Slippers hold the same potential dangers as sandals: they’re not secured around your ankle and could slip right off while driving. This lack of stability can hinder your ability to control the pedals and increase the risk of accidents. Additionally, slippers provide insufficient pedal traction due to their loose-fitting and malleable nature, making it difficult to apply the necessary pressure on the pedals.

Why Loose-Fitting Shoes Can Interfere with Driving

Loose-fitting shoes, such as flip-flops or other open-back footwear, are also not recommended for driving. The lack of secure ankle support can lead to the shoes slipping off or getting caught under the pedals, which can be highly dangerous while operating a vehicle. These shoes can impair your ability to properly pivot your foot between the brake and gas pedals, affecting your reaction time and overall control of the vehicle.

It’s important to prioritize the safety of yourself and others on the road by wearing appropriate footwear that provides stability, pedal traction, and ease of movement while driving. 

High Heels and Stilettos

The Problems with Driving in High Heels

Driving in high heels can pose several safety risks, including:

  • Reduced control: High heels can limit the amount of control you have over the pedals. The heel of your foot should rest on the floor of the vehicle to have good control, but with high heels, your foot is elevated, making it challenging to apply the brakes or accelerate quickly.
  • Unstable point of contact: The small and unstable point of contact between the heel of the shoe and the car’s floor can easily slip out of place, especially during sharp braking. This can lead to accidents or the heel getting caught in the floor mat.
  • Difficulty in applying pressure: Many high heels have pointy, narrow toes with slippery soles, making it even more challenging to apply pressure on the pedals effectively.
  • Risk of pressing two pedals simultaneously: Platforms and wedges can increase the distance between your foot and the pedals, increasing the risk of pressing two pedals simultaneously or not applying the right amount of pressure.
driving shoes

The Risks of Wearing Stilettos While Driving

  • Fatigue: Hovering your foot between the accelerator and brake while wearing stilettos can lead to fatigue, as it eliminates the critical contact and pivot point needed for effective and safe reaction time.
  • Lack of control: Stilettos, with their long, thin heels, can make it difficult to have proper control over the pedals in an emergency situation. Your heel could get caught or slip under the pedals, reducing your ability to react quickly.
  • Unsafe foot positioning: Driving in stilettos often means balancing on the heel of the shoe, with the heel of your foot elevated. This unstable foot positioning can make it challenging to slam on the brakes or execute precise pedal control.

Wearing high heels or stilettos while driving is not only uncomfortable but can also compromise your safety on the road. It’s important to prioritize road safety over fashion and choose appropriate footwear when operating a vehicle.

Thick-Soled Shoes and Boots

Why Thick-Soled Shoes Are Not Recommended for Driving

Wearing thick-soled shoes while driving can pose several challenges and safety risks. Here’s why they are not recommended:

  • Thick soles can increase the distance between your foot and the pedals, making it difficult to apply the correct amount of pressure and potentially causing pedal errors.
  • They can make it challenging to feel the pedals properly, leading to delayed reactions and slower braking or acceleration.
  • Thick-soled shoes may get caught or stuck under the pedals, hindering smooth foot movement and potentially causing a delay in responding to road conditions.

It is important to choose shoes with thinner soles that provide a better pedal feel and control. Vehicular safety should always be a priority when selecting footwear for driving.

The Challenges of Driving in Boots

While boots are a popular footwear choice for their style and durability, they may come with their own set of challenges when it comes to driving:

  • Boots tend to be heavy, which can affect the pressure you apply on the gas pedal and make it difficult to maintain a relaxed ankle or ensure smooth and sudden movements.
  • The design of boots, especially those with thick and chunky soles, can restrict ankle movement and make it easier for your foot to slip off the pedal or miss the pedal altogether.
  • Boots with really wide soles may press on both the gas pedal and brake pedal at the same time, compromising your control over the vehicle.

If you choose to drive wearing boots, it is crucial to select ones with thinner soles that provide a better pedal feel and enough room to maneuver your ankles properly.

Remember, ensuring proper footwear when driving can significantly contribute to your safety and overall driving experience. It is always recommended to prioritize comfort, control, and safety

Driving Barefoot

The Debate Over Driving Barefoot

The topic of driving barefoot has sparked a debate among drivers. Some believe it’s comfortable and provides better control over the pedals, while others think it’s unsafe and may lead to accidents. The truth is that there is no law against driving barefoot in the United States, and it’s up to individual preference. However, it’s essential to consider the potential dangers before deciding to drive without shoes.

The Potential Dangers of Driving Without Shoes

While driving barefoot may offer more flexibility and a better feel for the pedals, it’s essential to be aware of the potential dangers:

  1. Lack of Protection: Shoes provide protection to your feet in case of an accident or when stepping out of the vehicle. Without proper footwear, you may be at risk of injury from broken glass or other hazards.
  2. Reduced Grip: Your feet may become slippery due to sweat, especially in hot weather. This can affect your foot’s grip on the pedals and increase the risk of accidents.
  3. Lack of Support: Shoes provide support to your feet and ankles, which is crucial for long drives. Without proper support, you may experience fatigue or discomfort, making it harder to stay focused on the road.

It’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before deciding to drive barefoot. If you choose to drive without shoes, ensure that you are comfortable and confident in your ability to operate the pedals safely. 

ideal Shoes for Driving

Ideal Shoes for Driving

When it comes to driving, not all types of footwear are created equal. Wearing the wrong shoes while behind the wheel can compromise your safety and increase the risk of accidents. On the other hand, choosing the right shoes can improve your driving experience and ensure better control over the pedals. Here are some characteristics of safe driving shoes and some recommended types of footwear for driving:

Characteristics of Safe Driving Shoes

To ensure optimal safety while driving, it’s important to choose shoes that possess the following characteristics:

1. Secure Fit: Safe driving shoes should fit securely around the foot, providing stability and preventing slippage.

2. Flat Sole: Shoes with a flat sole allow for even pressure distribution on the pedals and help maintain better control.

3. Adequate Traction: Shoes with good grip and traction minimize the risk of your foot slipping off the pedals.

4. Freedom of Movement: It’s crucial to choose shoes that allow for freedom of movement, especially in the footwell where the pedals are located.

Recommended Types of Footwear for Driving

Here are some types of footwear that are considered safe and ideal for driving:

1. Comfortable Tennis Shoes or Running Shoes: These types of shoes fit securely to the foot, have a flat sole, and provide good traction on the pedals.

2. Driving Shoes: Originally designed for sportscar enthusiasts, driving shoes are slip-on moccasin-type shoes with rubber soles. They offer better grip, pedal traction, and a pivot point to move your foot between the brake and accelerator pedals.

It’s important to note that sandals, flip-flops, high heels, and shoes with thick soles or pointy toes should be avoided while driving as they can impede proper control and increase the risk of accidents.

Remember, wearing the right shoes is a simple yet essential step in ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road. So, always choose appropriate footwear before hitting the road.

For more information, you can visit GEICO Living for additional driving shoe recommendations and safety tips. 


When it comes to driving, it’s important to wear the appropriate shoes to ensure safe and comfortable driving. While there are many shoe options available, there are certain types of footwear that are not safe for driving. Here are some tips to help you select the right shoes for driving:

Tips for Selecting the Appropriate Shoes for Safe Driving

  • Choose shoes that securely attach to your foot and have a flat sole with adequate traction.
  • Opt for comfortable tennis shoes or running shoes that fit securely and provide even pressure on the pedals.
  • Consider driving-specific shoes like slip-on moccasins with rubber soles and grommets for better grip and pedal traction.
  • Avoid wearing shoes that don’t secure to the heel, as they can cause interference with braking or accelerating.
  • Steer clear of shoes with a loose fit, malleable soles, or high heels, as they don’t provide the necessary traction and can affect your ability to pivot your foot on the pedals.
  • Be cautious with new shoes, as leather or wood soles can be slick and slippery until they’re broken in.
  • Keep in mind that driving barefoot may affect your braking time, but it can be a safer option compared to wearing inappropriate footwear.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your footwear enhances your driving experience rather than putting you at risk. Remember, safety should always be a priority when getting behind the wheel.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *