It isn’t against the law to drive barefooted and many people do that, regardless of what type of shoes they wear. I hardly drive without putting any shoes on – usually I just drive with whatever shoes I’m wearing with my outfit for the day, be it sneakers, high heels, boots or slippers. But did you know that driving barefoot is actually deemed unsafe?
Some might argue that driving barefoot will give you the best feel of the pedals but there is also a valid point in that in case of an accident, your feet has absolutely no protection. Ideally, the choice of footwear for driving is a pair that allows the feet to apply the desired braking or acceleration forces necessary and is comfortable for us.
Sadly, the better looking a pair of shoes is, the more uncomfortable it usually might be. The pedals in the car are meant to be depressed with our heel as a pivot on the floor and for ladies, wearing high heels elevates the heel and causes for an unstable pivotal point. Friends have shared with me about their near-misses – the ladies having their heels caught in the floor mat, while men have their thick-soled shoes a tad too thick that they didn’t realise they were pressing on both pedals at the same time.
There was once when my slipper got caught under the pedal – giving me a huge scare as my heart leapt into my mouth – and my foot slipped off the brake. Thank goodness I was braking early so I had ample time to get my stuck slipper out and quickly apply the brakes properly. It is precisely such situations that raise greater concern in me to ensure that I have proper footwear while driving. You wouldn’t want to wait until you get into an accident because of improper footwear before you start paying attention to your shoes, do you?
Here are some tips for the ‘perfect driving footwear’:
1. One that has a sole not too thick and not too thin, not too soft and not too flexible
2. One that gives you enough grip on the pedals
3. One that is lightweight for easy movement for switching between pedals
The above pointers are best felt with your own gut when you are trying on a pair of shoes. If you know you will be using that pair of shoes a lot behind the wheel, then you might want to keep these pointers in mind; other than thinking of which outfits it would match from your closet.
If you don’t need or want a reason to go shopping for new shoes just for driving, then you can always use your running shoes, trainers or sneakers. Some shoes you might want to consider are the Geox-Red Bull Racing drivers’ boots that are replicas of the FIA-approved Geox footwear that the Red Bull Racing drivers use, or look out for the PUMA ‘I Love Driving’ labels in some of their collections.
The ideal solution is to have a dedicated pair of ‘driving shoes’ that you put on when you’re behind the wheel and take off to change into your dressy ‘fashionista’ shoes before you go for your event. Yes it is a huge hassle and sometimes when you’re running late for your appointment you will get frustrated having to do all this footwear switching, but that few minutes of inconvenience for protection of your feet and better control when driving – think about it.