5+ Reasons Why You Can’t Drive Barefoot

Driving barefoot is legal but not recommended for safety reasons. Bare feet lack grip, risk injury from glass, track water to pedals, cause foot cramps, and may lead to accidents.

why you can't drive barefoot

Okay, so the funny thing is that people have claimed that driving barefoot is illegal for decades. The truth is, you won’t find a single law in the US saying you can’t. But you shouldn’t.

We will check out why you should avoid driving barefoot, as tempting as it is.

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Is it OK to drive barefoot?

Define “OK”…because it depends on what you mean.

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For the most part, it is legal to drive without shoes on. But it is not recommended for a whole host of reasons.

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Drive Barefoot

First things first, you can’t drive barefoot because you put yourself and those in the vehicle in danger because it causes all sorts of possible chaos.

Feet Have to Have a Grip

Your pedals are made of steel backing plates and friction material. Your bare feet provide some traction, but any shoes are better than no shoes.

Human feet are naturally sweaty, too. When you drive barefoot, you risk slippage that can result in a car accident.

Is it illegal to drive in flip-flops?

It’s perfectly legal to wear flip-flops while driving. While not perfect foot protection, flip-flops are better than trying to operate with no foot protection at all. 

But, there is an added layer of danger that comes from flip-flops, too. The flexible bottom can get caught under the pedal while your foot is atop, leading to an accident.

Shoes Can Stop Broken Glass


You want all the foot protection you can get while driving, and shoes are where it’s at. While it doesn’t provide a ton, shoes are the best way to prevent broken glass and debris from puncturing or penetrating your feet.

A large shard of glass can separate you from your toes. Wearing a pair of shoes while driving can keep that from happening.

Can you drive better barefoot?

Absolutely not. Rubber pedals require grip, and metal pedals are slick. Only shoes can provide those things along with safety.

Your Feet Track Water 


Foot sweat may or may not happen. But rain and dew will for sure coat your naked feet and render them useless.

Wet shoe rubber will still grip the pedals, but wet foot bottoms won’t.

Why is driving barefoot not recommended?

The number #1 reason that driving barefoot is a no-no is because if your feet slip off of a pedal at the wrong moment, it can lead to disaster. If you don’t wear shoes for your safety, wear them to protect other drivers.

Inconvenient Foot Cramps

You’re curling your feet to some degree if you’re driving barefoot. You have to apply pressure with the ball of your foot for an extended time, which can lead to cramps and muscle spasms.

If you have to curl your foot, you can’t use it to drive.

Just a Pain in the Foot to Drive Barefoot

Older vehicle models and those with stiff clutches will require you to exert a lot of foot power. The pressure will build until it becomes painful. 

It won’t cause irreparable harm unless the foot ache leads to a car wreck.

Is driving barefoot actually illegal?

You can legally drive a vehicle barefoot in all fifty states.

Alabama does have one exception. You can’t operate a motorcycle barefoot, but you can drive anything else without shoes.

Four states do have civil fines in the case of reckless driving or an accident where a driver was barefoot.

Why do so many people believe driving barefoot is illegal?

Funny story; we don’t really know. It’s been an urban myth since we don’t know that either.

It isn’t a bad thing that people think it’s true. It prevents accidents because most people are less likely to drive barefoot, with the threat of hefty fines and jail lingering over their heads.

Why can’t you drive barefoot?

  • Bare feet don’t have the needed grip.
  • Naked toes are at a greater risk of injury from glass and debris.
  • They get wet and track that wetness to the pedals.
  • Foot cramps and spasms can cause distractions while driving.
  • Sharp pains aren’t good for you or road safety.

Illegal vs Ill-Advised

Is it illegal to drive in socks?

It’s legal to wear socks while driving. But…

While socks are better than naked, they aren’t by much. Socks can slip against the pedals and cause an accident. The best foot protection when driving is always going to be a shoe.

Is it illegal to drive in high heels?

It’s legal to drive in high heels. But…

High heels are a hazard when driving. It’s hard to walk in them, much less drive. The way a high heel is constructed is not compatible with brake and gas pedals.

Throw an extra pair of tennis shoes into the back of your vehicle for times like this because it’s often better to drive barefoot than in a pair of high heels.

Is it illegal to drive in ski boots?

It’s legal to drive in ski boots. But…

Just take them off before you get behind the wheel of your car or truck. The clunky and bulky boot limits your leg’s range of motion. 

By nature, ski boots add tons of foot protection, but not behind the wheel. You’ll find it challenging even to find the pedals with your heavy boots on.

Is it illegal to drive in ice skates? Roller skates? What about rollerblades?

We don’t have laws to protect the stupid.

So, just don’t do it. And the reason the question has to be answered at all is because social media have made challenges a thing, and people do real dumb crap for clout.

A Couple of FAQs

Are you insured if you drive barefoot?

Because it’s legal to drive barefoot, there is no explicit rule about going without shoes related to car insurance.

However, if it leads to an accident and there is doubt of fault, it will likely fall on you because of the fact you were driving barefoot.

What are the best shoes for driving?

Shoes with no heels or low heels are safe to drive in. You want to avoid driving in footwear with thick soles because you want to feel what is going on down there.

The best shoe for driving is one that you are comfortable in and is proven safe. 

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