Is It Illegal To Drive Barefoot?

WRITTEN BY: Emily Retherford


Do you remember learning that it’s illegal to drive barefoot? A lot of people do.

But it’s actually an old urban legend that’s been around for decades. The fact is, it’s not illegal to drive barefoot in any state.

That said, some states have a few stipulations that drivers should be aware of before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Is it illegal to drive barefoot anywhere in the United States?

While there aren’t any state laws on the books that say driving barefoot is illegal, some cities may have laws against it. Because of this, it’s best always to don footwear when driving. 

As the table below shows, some states have also taken a semi-official stance on the matter.

Alabama, AlaskaYou can drive barefoot, unless you’re riding a motorcycle. All motorcycle riders must have shoes on.
Arizona, Arkansas, California, NevadaIt’s not illegal to drive without shoes on. However, if driving barefoot results in an accident, you can be charged with reckless driving and fined.
Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, WyomingIt’s not illegal to drive barefoot. However, the state’s official stance is that it’s considered unsafe.
MichiganMichigan’s official stance on driving barefoot is that it could give you more control than driving with shoes on.
TennesseeYou can drive barefoot unless you’re riding a motorcycle. All motorcycle riders must have shoes on.
UtahIn Utah, driving barefoot isn’t illegal but the Highway Patrol has deemed it unsafe.
VirginiaIn Utah, driving barefoot isn’t illegal, but the Highway Patrol has deemed it unsafe.

Why do some people think driving barefoot is illegal?

The misconception that driving barefoot is illegal likely stems from several reasons:

  • Safety Concerns: People may assume it’s illegal because driving barefoot can sometimes be considered unsafe. There’s a belief that your feet could slip off the pedals, or you may not have the same control or reaction time level compared to wearing proper footwear.
  • Urban Legends/Misinformation: The idea that it’s illegal to drive barefoot is a common myth circulated for years. And misinformation spreads easily, especially when it relates to something that seems plausible or is safety-related.
  • Advice from Authorities: Driving institutions or authorities sometimes advise against driving barefoot for safety reasons. This advice, while different from law, could lead to the perception that it’s illegal.

Is it dangerous to drive barefoot?

Whether driving barefoot is dangerous or not is subjective and depends on the circumstances. While there’s no widespread agreement, here are some potential concerns:

  • Control: Driving barefoot might provide less grip than wearing shoes, potentially leading to a foot slipping off a pedal.
  • Force: Applying the necessary force, especially in an emergency braking situation, could be more challenging without the solid sole of a shoe.
  • Injury Risk: In a car accident, bare feet are more exposed to possible injury from broken glass or metal shards.
  • Comfort: Driving for long periods barefoot can cause discomfort, which may distract you from focusing on the road.

On the other hand, some people argue that driving barefoot allows for better pedal sensitivity and control. It can prevent issues related to wearing high heels, flip-flops, or other footwear that might interfere with safe driving.

What are the best shoes for driving?

The best shoe for driving will differ depending on your comfort level. However, you should generally choose shoes with low or no heels. Ideally, you want shoes with a good fit and short laces. And you should avoid shoes with thick soles to mask how you feel the pedal.


Can you drive in high heels?

While driving in high heels is legal, it’s not recommended. Wearing high heels while you drive can cause your foot to slip off the pedal and decrease your sensitivity to the pedal.

Is it illegal to drive with both feet?

It’s not illegal to drive with both feet. Some people prefer it. Mostly, it boils down to how well you can control the car with both feet and your own comfort.

Can you drive in flip-flops?

You can drive in flip-flops. However, wearing flip-flops while driving could give you less control because the shoes are loose. Also, the shoe style makes slipping off the pedal easier for your foot.

Can you drive in socks?

It’s not illegal to drive in socks, so if you’re comfortable driving with only socks on, you can. However, driving with socks on still somewhat exposes your feet, so having shoes in the car with you is a good idea.

Find affordable insurance coverage today

While driving with or without shoes boils down to personal preference, driving with insurance doesn’t. Almost all states require you to carry car insurance. Use our online quoting tool to find the best rates possible in minutes.

Related content: