Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

There’s nothing like the feel of the open road — just you, your car, and miles of highway stretching off into the distance. Driving is the definition of freedom, a past time as American as baseball.

Sometimes you want to feel the gas pedal underneath your toes, you want to feel directly connected to your car’s engine. Sometimes you just want to drive barefoot.

What are the legal ramifications of driving without shoes?

Our research indicated two facts:

1. There is no specific law restricting the operation of a motor vehicle without shoes in any of the fifty states or the District of Columbia


2. Every state’s department of public safety has a recommendation that drivers wear shoes, either to avoid reckless driving charges (a very real possibility) or injury during an accident.

The Legality of Driving Barefoot

So,  driving barefoot can get you ticketed for reckless driving (or any number of other statutes) and can cause severe injury in the case of an accident.

While you will not be ticketed specifically for “driving barefoot”, your state’s DPS can ticket you for any number of driving offenses related to barefoot driving.

If you believe tradition, when automobiles first appeared on the scene, they were not covered in upholstery, no floor mats and nothing to block the feet of the driver from the heat of the engine. During these times, a barefoot driver risked serious burns to their feet if not wearing proper footwear. For many people, this old tradition of covering the feet to protect them from the engine is the main reason they feel the need to wear shoes.

Driving barefoot is an unavoidable event sometimes. Maybe you lost your shoes after a day at the beach or are in a hurry to get to the emergency room or other emergency facility. Know your local laws and be extra careful when driving barefoot, and you should ‘get away’ with it just fine.

This article is part of a series we’re doing on “Is It Illegal?” The other post in this series is: