You won't believe what driving in these shoes will do!

Published on: 02 August 2015

You won't believe what driving in these shoes will do!

Driving involves the constant use of pedals, and this can take its toll on your feet and ankles. By wearing the right shoes you can not only ensure that your feet feel relaxed, but better control of the car by achieving the desired braking or acceleration.

It is in your – and other road users’ - best interests to minimise any hazards that could compromise your ability to reach and and stay in control of the car.

How do you know which shoes are appropriate for driving?

The sole of the shoe is very important in determining what type of footwear to use. The sole should neither be too thick or too thin, nor too soft or too flexible – it should have enough grip on the pedal to avoid slipping.

  • With thick soles, your feet can't feel the pedals properly, so you can't accurately judge how much pressure to apply, making braking and accelerating more abrupt and jerky.
  • Also avoid wide soles, as you run the risk of pressing two pedals at the same time. The important thing is that you can feel the pedals to gauge how much pressure to apply.

Driving Barefoot

You may ask “How about ditching shoes altogether?”. Although it is not be illegal to drive barefoot, there are risks associated with driving barefoot:

  • Repeated use of the clutch could end up being painful, causing cramp or other spasms in the foot and reducing the ability of the driver towards effective control of the vehicle.
  • Your foot could slip off the pedal easily because you don’t have the same grip as shoes give you.
  • Nylon socks or tights will reduce traction between your foot and the pedals and don't allow the foot to grip pedals.

Driving with flip-flops

Flip-flops are also not ideal either for the following reasons:

  • Flip-flops could result in the foot slipping off the pedal or missing the pedal altogether.
  • They come off too easily and get easily jammed or trapped under a pedal.
  • They make it difficult for drivers to apply full braking, or to release the clutch, brake or accelerator.

Driving with high heels and platform shoes

Female drivers are often warned of the risks of driving with high heels. Apart from damaging your precious footwear, this is why you should think twice before you drive in heels:

  • The heel of your foot needs to be on the floor to achieve the correct pedal action; high heels elevate it and distort the ability to measure how much pressure needs to be applied.
  • High heels result in a reduced grip from an uncomfortable driving position
  • High heels also have the added danger of the heel getting caught in the floor mat or getting stuck under the pedal
  • Platform wedges are even more dangerous than heels – a double whammy of high heels and thick soles

If you do wear heels and drive, it’s a good idea to keep a spare pair of shoes in the car to change into once you sink into the driver’s seat.  

For more tips on road safety, download MiWay’s ebook.