No one disputes that your choice of footwear affects your ability to walk on snow-covered surfaces or your ability to jog or hike long distances. Few also dispute that the gas pedal and especially the brakes are important for safely driving a car. However, few appreciate how bad footwear compromises safe operation of the gas and brake pedals and therefore the safe operation of their car.

Appropriate footwear should:

  • Stay on your feet.
  • Allow quick braking.
  • Allow even exertion of pressure on the brake and gas pedals.
  • Enable good sensitivity to the amount of pressure you exert.
  • Not excessively restrict ankle motion.
  • Not interfere with safe operation of the brake and gas pedals.
  • Have adequate friction with dry or wet brake and gas pedals.
  • Allow stable contact with the brake and gas pedals.

Here are four of the worst footwear for driving:

Flip Flops

Flip flops can slide off the feet causing the driver to divert attention to finding and placing them back on. Flip flops also have a tendency to get trapped under a pedal and thus interfere with movement of the foot. They also take longer to apply sufficient pressure to the brake pedal and increases the time required to slow down or stop the car.


Slippers easily slip on and off one’s foot. While convenient at home, this very same characteristic makes it dangerous while driving. The shoe may slip off entirely which causes distraction when trying to place it back on. It can also partially slide off which means it may catch on the pedals.

High Heels

High heels cause the driver to operate the brake and gas pedals with ankles at extended and unsafe angles. It forces the driver to use the balls of the foot which prevents it from exerting even pressure. Because the heel is narrow, it provides an unstable platform for resting the foot. The awkwardness of these shoes prevents quick operation of the brakes.

Bare Feet

Bare feet have poor friction with the pedals, especially when theĀ feetĀ are wet with perspiration. Operating a manual transmission with its small clutch pedals that require a lot of force is painful. This is distracting and reduces the amount of force that the driver can exert. The arch of the foot has a poor tolerance for pressure. This causes the driver to use only the balls of his feet and therefore prevents even application of pressure.

When social occasions require wearing unsafe footwear for operating your car, bring a second pair of shoes with you for the driving. Keep these in your trunk for future use.

Wearing inappropriate footwear may be deemed negligent if it was a contributory cause of a car crash. This can place the driver at fault. If you were involved in a car accident because of a negligent driver, contact us at Hogan Injury.

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