Is it illegal to drive without shoes in the UK


Pro Tuner
Staff member
2002 Clio 172
Is there a law against driving barefoot, or at least without any shoes on?
As long as you are able to operate the controls properly and it does not impair your driving ability you should be fine.
Cut from RAC website:

Is it illegal to drive barefoot?
19 Dec 2012 at 11:41

There’s a great level of uncertainty surrounding whether or not it’s illegal to drive barefoot in the UK, with numerous reasons cited as to why you’re breaking the law if you do so.

While these may all be valid points, none of them are technically correct. Here is the law in a nutshell: it is not illegal to drive in the UK with no shoes on.

You can, in other words, get behind the wheel of a vehicle barefoot, provided you are able to operate the controls safely. If you do so with wet feet, for example, you might be putting yourself, your passengers and other road users at risk by not being able to drive the car safely. This is illegal.

However, driving with no shoes on doesn’t mean it’s right. According to the Driving Standards Agency – the body that regulates the UK driving test – “suitable shoes are particularly important behind the wheel. We would not recommend driving barefoot because you don’t have the same braking force with bare feet as you do with shoes on.”

There are some basic guidelines you should follow when selecting footwear to drive in. Your shoe should:
  • Have a sole no thicker than 10mm…
  • … but the sole should not be too thin or soft
  • Provide enough grip to stop your foot slipping off the pedals
  • Not be too heavy
  • Not limit ankle movement
  • Be narrow enough to avoid accidentally depressing two pedals at once
This does technically categorise some types of footwear – such as high-heels and flip-flops – unsuitable for piloting a car.

While light, flimsy and impractical footwear can be dangerous, so can sturdy, robust shoes, such as walking or snow boots.

It’s important to have a good base and grip to apply pressure to the pedals, but you need a certain degree of finesse to manipulate the controls. If not, you could strike the brake and accelerator together, producing a heart-in-mouth incident.

Of course, this all doesn’t stop some people. Plenty of motorists do drive in shoes that don’t afford them the proper control over the car. You wouldn’t go for a jog in high heels or flip-flops, so why use them when you’re behind the wheel?

Many do. According to research by insurance price comparison website, 40% of women take to the roads in high heels, while 39% wear flip-flops and 24% go barefoot.

Over a quarter of male drivers (27%) admitted to driving in flip-flops, too, while 22% will also wear nothing on their feet.

RAC Verdict

Driving in less than practical shoes – or no shoes at all for that matter – is not illegal, but you have a responsibility as a driver to uphold standards on the road.
If your selection of footwear hampers that, you’re putting yourself at risk.
It would be pretty hard to drive safely in flippers so I guess divers wearing flippers would fall foul of this!
I love my Puma Super Cat driving shoes that have thin soles for great pedal feel.

I purchased them when they were on special a few years ago on a 2 4 1 deal and the second pair are still in the box so I can safely say they will see me out.

The ones shown in the link below are similar to my shoes.

IMHO anyone who chooses to drive in flip flops (oriental safety boots) or high heels is foolish.

Correction my shoes are Future Cats should have checked.V(
Last edited:
I once (in 1988) driving whilst wearing steel capped heavyweight workshoes.

This rendered the brake servo totally redundant.

I apologise to the driver of the blue Peugeot 405 who was behind me.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
thexav Can a car be towed without insurance Insurance & Legal 2
obi_waynne Settling claims without insurance Insurance & Legal 3

Similar threads

Please watch this on my YouTube channel & Subscribe.