Am I Allowed To Drive Barefoot in My State?

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It is not illegal to drive barefoot while operating a motor vehicle and your insurance company should still cover you if you get into a car accident. However, it is possible to be fined or held liable if authorities believe that your being barefoot factored into causing a car accident.

Read to see if it's legal to drive a motorcycle barefoot as well as what footwear to avoid while operating a vehicle.

Key Takeaways

  • While some states may discourage driving barefoot, no laws have been passed to make it illegal.
  • Barefoot driving may increase the likelihood of contributing to an accident because feet can slip off the pedals, there is reduced braking force and it may cause injury to the feet and legs.
  • To maximize driving safety, drivers should also avoid certain footwear, such as flip-flops, high heels, shoes with long laces, open-toed shoes, slip-ons and open-heel shoes.
  • Some states will leave it to the discretion of authorities to ticket drivers for reckless driving if they are caught barefoot.

Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot in Any State?

Currently, there are no states where barefoot driving is against the law when operating a car. That means you are legally able to drive without wearing any footwear in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Utah or any other state.

Here is a snapshot of the stances that different states have taken on the subject.[1][2]



Alabama and Georgia

According to Alabama and Georgia law, driving a car barefoot is legal, but it is not legal to operate a motorcycle barefoot.


Drivers are not required to wear shoes while driving. However, motorcyclists are told, “Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles and sturdy enough to

give them support.”[3]

Arizona, California, Colorado and others

You can operate a vehicle without footwear. However, you could be charged with negligent driving and receive a fine if your footwear was found to contribute to an accident. Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas have similar laws.


Though allowed, it is the discretion of the authorities to give you a citation for reckless driving.

Iowa, Ohio, Wyoming and Missouri

Driving without shoes is allowed but considered unsafe.

Indiana and Tennessee

There may be an ordinance against driving barefoot in some municipalities. You may be charged with reckless driving if the officers think it contributed to an accident.


You can drive barefoot, though you are encouraged to wear close-toed shoes to avoid fines.

Michigan, North Carolina, Minnesota and Wisconsin

These states allow driving with bare feet and even encourage drivers to go barefoot when driving instead of using flip-flops or high heels. However, they do not encourage driving barefoot if your feet are wet or are covered in sand due to the possibility of losing traction.

Is It Dangerous to Drive Barefoot?

Driving barefoot can increase your chances of an accident on the road, potentially causing harm to others and causing the cost of your car insurance coverage to go up. There are five dangers associated with driving barefoot, including:

  • Bare feet can slip off of pedals easier than shoes, especially when wet.
  • You may not be able to apply enough braking force when you are barefoot compared to shoe wearers.
  • If you get into an accident while driving without any shoes or socks, the police may consider charging you with distracted or careless driving.
  • In the event of an accident, you can suffer significant injuries to your legs or feet if you have an accident while driving without shoes or foot covering.
  • Driving barefoot could also prevent you from easily fleeing your vehicle or seeking safety in the event of an accident.

On the other hand, some would argue that driving barefoot is perfectly acceptable. For example, the Society of Barefoot Living states that barefoot driving actually increases pedal control and eliminates interference caused by high heels and loose shoes.[4]

Why Do People Think It’s Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

No one knows where this widespread belief about driving barefoot being illegal originated, although there is some speculation about how it started.

One reason could be the illusory truth effect. Studied in a 1977 report by Villanova University and Temple University, this phenomenon occurs when individuals believe false information that's constantly repeated. People believe wrong information because it seems true, feels familiar or aligns with their values despite the lack of evidence.[5]

A second reason points to a concept called ad populum, which suggests that individuals mistakenly believe a proposition is true because a majority of people think it is true.[6]

For instance, some people believe that since most drivers wear shoes while operating a vehicle, then it is required by state law. The “logic” then follows that the opposite should also be true — that driving without any footwear is illegal.

Another reason people assume it's illegal is that many states and police departments discourage this practice. However, just because traffic authorities frown on barefoot driving does not mean that the behavior is a moving violation like a DUI.

Does Shoe Type Matter When You’re Driving?

It is recommended to drive while wearing footwear that will give the driver more control and traction. This may include sneakers that lace up such as tennis shoes or running shoes.[7]

proper footwear for driving

However, some shoes are potentially more dangerous than others and may even increase your risk of an accident. They can jam your acceleration or stop you from braking. Unsafe shoe styles may include:

  • Flip-flops and sandals: When flip-flops don't fit securely on your feet, they can slip off and get caught under your accelerator or brake pedal, causing a collision.
  • Wedge or high-heeled shoes: Wearing high-heels or wedges, especially if they are heavy, can interfere with a person's ability to transition from one pedal to the other and could result in a moving violation.
  • Shoes with long laces: Longer laces can unravel and become entangled in your car's pedals, making it difficult to brake or accelerate when needed.
  • Dress shoes: These soles are more likely to slip from a brake pedal due to their lack of tread.
  • Slip-on and open-heel shoes: Mules, slippers, clogs and backless shoes can slip off much in the same way flip-flops can, which makes them susceptible to the same danger.
  • Boots or shoes with thick soles: These shoes inhibit the natural movement of your foot due to their size and weight. As a result, they slow down your reaction time and ability to prevent an accident.

Here's a smart tip: If you plan to wear one of the unsafer shoes listed above, a good compromise would be to bring two pairs of shoes when you drive. For example, the young lady going to a formal gala can wear tennis shoes while she drives. Once she parks, she can swap in her heels.

What Are the Laws on Driving a Motorcycle Barefoot?

There are no state or federal laws that specifically prohibit drivers from driving a motor vehicle barefoot. In fact, some states like Missouri and Wisconsin, even declare that driving barefoot is legal.[8][9]

However, this rule doesn’t apply to driving a motorcycle. For example, motorcyclists in Alabama and Georgia are legally required to wear shoes while riding.[10][11]

While most states don't prevent motorcycle riders from driving barefoot, motorcyclists should still wear safe footwear. Otherwise, they may face increased risk of injury from outside debris and collisions.

In fact, a 2017 Berkeley study found that 22% of motorcyclists were severely injured or killed in an accident while only 4% of those driving other vehicles were injured or killed.[12]

Looking For a Lower Car Insurance Rate?


Am I insured if I drive barefoot?

Your insurance company will still cover you if you get into an accident while driving barefoot but you can be held liable for the other driver’s losses if your barefoot driving caused it. This can later result in higher premiums and the loss of your good driving discount if you have it.

Can I drive with socks?

You can drive in just your socks, but it is still advised to wear proper footwear. Socks will usually have little traction on your pedals, meaning your foot can inadvertently slip and in turn cause an accident.

What are the best shoes to drive in?

Tennis shoes or running shoes that are light and allow you to easily transition from one pedal to the other are ideal shoes for driving. Other shoe styles, like loafers and flats, may also be appropriate so long as they securely stay on your feet and are not cumbersome.

Is it illegal to drive barefoot in California?

There is no specific law in California that specifically prohibits driving barefoot or wearing certain types of footwear while driving. However, it is important to note that you may be charged with negligent driving if you were driving barefoot at the time of an accident.


  1. The Law Offices of Jared Spingarn, P.A. “Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot in Some States?” Accessed Mar.25, 2023.
  2. Jason R. Heimbaugh. “Driving Barefoot in America.” Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.
  3. “State of Alaska Motorcycle Manual,” Page 3. Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.
  4. Society Barefoot Living. “Driving Barefoot.” Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.
  5. National Institutes of Health. “The Effects of Repetition Frequency on the Illusory Truth Effect.” Accessed Mar. 25, 2023.
  6. Palomar College. “Appeal to Popularity (Ad Populum).” Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.
  7. Geico. “What Not to Wear … While Driving.” Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.
  8. Missouri State Highway Patrol. “What Is the Law?” Accessed Mar. 31, 2023.
  9. State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “Enforcement - Frequently Asked Questions.” Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.
  10. The Alabama Legislature. “Code of Alabama 1975.” Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.
  11. Justia. “2010 Georgia Code, Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic, Chapter 6 - Uniform Rules of the Road, Article 13 - Special Provisions for Certain Vehicles, Part 2 - Motorcycles, § 40-6-311 - Manner of Riding Motorcycle Generally.” Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.
  12. Berkeley. “California Motorcycle Safety Facts,” Page 3. Accessed Mar. 28, 2023.

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