Myth Busting: Is it Illegal to Drive Without Shoes?

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You’ve probably heard the myth that it’s illegal to drive barefoot. But in the eyes of the law, can you relax and kick back barefoot to the pedal or does driving without shoes make you a reckless driver? The truth is that It is not illegal to drive without shoes in any state in the US.
There’s more to the story, though, and just because it’s legal to drive without shoes doesn’t mean that it's safe or a good idea. 
To break it all down, the
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has gathered everything you need to know about this commonly-believed myth. Read on to learn more.

Is it illegal to drive barefoot in your state?

It’s not technically illegal to drive barefoot in the United States, according to state authorities. That said, some states do have certain recommendations for driving barefoot. Depending on local regulations, driving without shoes might even net you a
citation
Here’s a handy chart to help you figure out the barefoot driving laws in your state:
State
Is it illegal to drive barefoot in your state?
Alabama
No, though you need to wear shoes when riding a motorcycle.
Alaska
No law deems it illegal; however, according to their Motorcycle Operating Manual, “Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles and sturdy enough to give them support.”
Arizona
No, it’s not illegal here. But you could be fined for reckless driving if you get into an accident barefoot.
Arkansas
No, it’s not technically illegal, yet you could be ticketed by police discretion. You also can be fined for reckless driving if you get into an accident barefoot.
California
No, but you can face additional penalties if you get into an accident barefoot.
Colorado
No, but driving barefoot can be cause for a negligent driving offense.
Connecticut
Nope! There is no law against barefoot driving in CT.
Delaware
No, it is not illegal to drive without shoes in Delaware.
District of Columbia
No, there is no law deeming it illegal.
Florida
No, it’s not illegal in Florida. However, in an accident, the responding officer can cite you for reckless driving if they believe you were wearing improper footwear.
Georgia
No, it’s not illegal to drive a car barefoot (though you can face penalties for reckless or negligent driving if you get into an accident). It is, however, illegal to drive a motorcycle barefoot.
Hawaii
No, there are no laws in Hawaii that deem driving barefoot illegal.
Idaho
No, but you could be cited for inattentive driving.
Illinois
No, though if you get into an accident, you can be cited for failure to exercise due care.
Indiana
It’s not illegal on a state level, but it is illegal in some municipalities and towns. You may also be ticketed for careless driving if you get into an accident barefoot.
Iowa
No, it’s not technically illegal. That being said, it is formally considered unsafe.
Kentucky
No, it’s not illegal. The driver's manual states that proper attire must be worn to prevent distraction, and that cyclists must wear shoes, so you may face penalties if you get pulled over.
Louisiana
No. You can drive barefoot in Louisiana.
Maine
No, but there can be penalties if you lose control of your vehicle or are distracted while driving without shoes.
Maryland
No—however, if you get into an accident while driving barefoot you could be charged for negligent or reckless driving.
Massachusetts
No. There are no specific laws that outlaw driving barefoot.
Michigan
No. There is nothing in the Michigan Vehicle Code that outlaws driving barefoot.
Minnesota
No. It is actually considered safer to drive barefoot than to drive in flip-flops or other loose shoes.
Mississippi
No. You can drive barefoot in Mississippi.
Michigan
It is not illegal, but it is considered unsafe. That said, it is considered safer than driving in high heels or sandals.
Montana
No, it’s not technically illegal to drive barefoot. If you get into an accident while barefoot, you could be charged for reckless or negligent driving.
Nebraska
No. It is legal to drive barefoot in Nebraska.
Nevada
No—but if you get into an accident, you may be charged with reckless driving or face civil fines.
New Hampshire
No. You can drive barefoot in New Hampshire.
New Jersey
No. It is legal to drive without shoes in New Jersey.
New Mexico
No. You can drive with bare feet in New Mexico without issue.
New York
No. If you get into an accident while barefoot, you may be deemed at least partially liable.
North Carolina
No. It’s considered safer to drive barefoot than to wear loose-fitting shoes or shoes with heels.
North Dakota
No. However, if you get distracted and are pulled over, an officer could give you a citation.
Ohio
No. You can drive barefoot in Ohio, though if you get into an accident, you may be cited for failure to exercise due care.
Oklahoma
No. That said, you could be cited for distracted driving if you’re pulled over.
Pennsylvania
No. However, if you get into an accident you could be charged with reckless or careless driving. You also open yourself up to civil penalties.
Rhode Island
No. You are good to drive barefoot in RI.
South Carolina
No. However, you could be charged with reckless driving or face civil fines if you get into an accident while barefoot.
South Dakota
No. It is legal to drive without shoes.
Tennessee
No, it’s not illegal on a state level. However, it may be illegal in certain municipalities. If you get into an accident, you may also be cited for careless or reckless driving if it’s deemed you were wearing inappropriate footwear.
Texas
No, but getting into an accident while barefoot could result in a reckless driving charge. You also open yourself up to civil lawsuits.
Utah
No, but you are encouraged to wear sensible footwear.
Vermont
No. You can drive barefoot in Vermont.
Virginia
No. You can technically drive barefoot in VA, though the state suggests wearing shoes without an open or high heel. You can be ticketed for reckless driving if you get into an accident while barefoot.
Washington
No. You can drive barefoot in Washington.
West Virginia
No, you can drive without shoes in WV.
Wisconsin
No. However, you could be charged for reckless driving if you’re not wearing shoes.

Is it safe to drive without shoes?

So now you know the letter of the law when it comes to driving without shoes. But is it safe? Here are just a few problems you might face when driving barefoot:
  • Traction issues. Your barefoot just doesn’t have the same grip as a solid pair of closed-toed shoes. This is especially the case if you just came back from a day at the beach and your feet are all wet and sandy.
  • Decreased force. In addition to traction, shoes give you a bit of extra weight when pushing down on the pedal, helping you to modulate your speed. If you forgo your shoes, you may not be as accustomed to the pedals.
  • Increased accident risk. When your feet are bare, they’re not only at a higher risk for injury, but it can also lead to
    distracted driving
    . With that said, you may want to think twice before you set those toes free.
Note that as fun as your llama socks may be, they’re not a loophole here! In fact, socks provide even less traction than driving barefoot, further increasing your accident risk. 
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Are some shoes better for driving than others?

It may not be wise to drive barefoot. But when it comes to driving with shoes on, not all shoes are created equal. Some shoes are actually considered worse than forgoing shoes altogether. Here’s what you’ll want to avoid:
  • Loose-fitting shoes, such as flip-flops or slippers can slide off your feet and potentially interfere with your use of the pedals.
  • Heeled shoes might complete your look, but they make it harder to get good traction with the pedals, which can become a safety hazard.
If you want to be a smart driver, try to throw on a pair of solid, closed-toe shoes like a sneaker or a boot next time you’re out for a drive. Just make sure you tie your laces!
Key Takeaway It’s not technically illegal to drive without shoes, but wearing proper footwear will help you avoid getting pulled over in certain municipalities and can help you avoid related citations. 

So what’s the origin story of this barefoot-driving myth?

It’s hard to say exactly where this myth started, but it likely stems from cultural conditioning. Think of the tried and true service edict: no shirt, no shoes, no service. 
We also know that states don’t outlaw barefoot driving, but some municipalities and local law enforcement do. It’s possible that their standards triggered the rumor mill.
But while we may not know the exact origin of this belief, we do have someone to thank for debunking it: Jason Heimbaugh
Back in 1994, Jason was determined to get to the bottom of this myth—so he decided to write to DMVs across the country to glean the truth. And what did each one write back? Nope! There is no state law in the 50 states (and the
District of Columbia
) that outlaws barefoot driving.

How to find affordable car insurance

While wearing the right shoes is a good start, one of the best ways to protect yourself while driving is with solid
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By Sophie Boka
Updated on Jan 27, 2023
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett, Senior Editor.
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