We’re all guilty of being in a rush sometimes, especially during those hectic school runs or that mad dash to the shops before they close – admittedly, the last thing on our minds is the kind of footwear on our feet.
You may assume it’s perfectly fine to wing it when it comes to driving shoes, but there’s actually more to it than meets the eye. While your summery flip-flops or sandals may be just the thing when the sun comes out, driving in them is risky business and could actually land you a £5,000 fine, on top of some fairly hefty license penalties.
Is it illegal to drive in flip-flops? Can you drive barefoot? These are just a handful of things you may be wondering. We have the answers to some of these most commonly asked queries, so you have the lowdown on the official rules of the road.
Keep it to the code
Your theory driving test may be a distant memory since you were a budding, young driver, but that doesn’t mean that all of the safety tips and driving laws go out of the window as soon as you skip away from the test centre with certificate in hand.
Dust off your old Highway Code and turn to Rule 97, which states that drivers must ensure that “clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”.
So, is it illegal to drive in flip-flops?
In simple terms, no.
A common misconception is that being caught red-handed wearing flip-flops when driving means you’re actually breaking the law, but this isn’t entirely accurate. But, if this choice of footwear puts yourself, your passengers and other road users at risk or causes an accident, you could be charged with ‘driving without due care and attention’.
It’s worth noting that careless driving carries a £100 on-the-spot fine, as well as three penalty points on your licence. Although this might not seem like the end of the world, more serious cases can bag you a maximum £5000 fine, up to nine penalty points and even a driving ban – yikes!
Flip-flops or other unsuitable footwear might not provide the same amount of grip as other types of shoes and could slide off the pedals or become stuck underneath them, affecting your ability to brake if needed, so make sure you leave these overly flexible shoes at home.
Ditch the sky-high stilettos for sensible shoes
Those sparkly stilettos may be your new favourite purchase, but they’re an absolute no-no when it comes to driving. Platform wedges should also be avoided at all costs due to both their platform heels and chunky soles.
To be able to press the car pedals with sufficient pressure, your heel needs to be resting on the floor to achieve the correct position – high heels elevate the heel and so reduce the driver’s ability to measure the pressure being applied.
Can you drive barefoot?
As we’ve mentioned, the type of footwear worn isn’t actually against the law. But what about no footwear at all?
Drivers need to be able to bring their vehicle to a stop and this can be hindered if shoes aren’t worn. As the clutch pedal on a manual car is fairly small and thin, it requires the driver to use a lot of pressure on the ball of their foot. The sole of a shoe helps to distribute this pressure so going barefoot might not be in your favour. Using the pedals without wearing shoes can also cause feet to sweat, which increases the risk of slipping off the pedals. If you, unfortunately, find yourself in a collision or accident without shoes, you’re at risk of increased injury to your feet as it’s another level of protection you don’t have.
Where can I buy the best driving shoes for a spin?
So, we’ve mentioned what not to wear, but what things should you bear in mind when choosing some suitable footwear for your driving duties?
For maximum control, opt for softer shoes with a thin sole which will increase your sensitivity to the amount of pressure being placed on them. The RAC has a few top tips:
- The sole should be no thicker than 10mm or be too soft
- Shoes should make sure to provide enough grip to stop your foot from slipping off the pedals
- They shouldn’t be too heavy or limit ankle movement
- All footwear must be narrow enough to avoid accidentally pressing two pedals at the same time
At Wynsors, we think that appropriate driving shoes are a safety essential, which is why we’ve stocked up on a selection of ‘driving shoe’ alternatives that are both breathable and flexible from well-known brands like Skechers.
Lightweight styles with memory foam and shock-absorbing features such as the Equalisers and Microburst On-Ups from Skechers provide just the right amount of support for comfortable wear in the driver’s seat. Other designs, for example the ‘Jackie’ from Strollers or the Gola prisms, offer plenty of movement too.
Are you looking to buy yourself a suitable pair of driving shoes that won’t let you down? Explore our huge range of affordable footwear online or visit us in store and find men’s and women’s driving shoes that are perfect for the job.