Is it illegal to drive barefoot?

Is it against the law to drive barefoot? Many people believe that driving without shoes is illegal. It is not technically illegal, but it might not be safe, and there may be consequences if you get in an accident while driving barefoot. Read on to learn the details.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 22, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • It is legal to drive barefoot in every state, though some authorities recommend against it
  • Driving in flip-flops and some other types of footwear may be more dangerous than driving barefoot
  • In some states, you can be charged or fined if you’re found at fault in an accident while driving barefoot

Can you drive barefoot in the United States? It’s commonly said that driving barefoot is illegal, which has many people asking themselves “why is it illegal to drive barefoot?” Actually, driving barefoot is legal in all 50 states, though opinions on whether driving without shoes is safe varies from state to state. Use this guide to learn the rules and risks associated with driving barefoot. 

Is driving barefoot illegal in the U.S.? 

Is driving without shoes illegal? Are the laws different in different states? For instance, is it illegal to drive barefoot in Ohio? Just like the minimum car insurance required in each state is different, driving laws in each state vary. Driving a motor vehicle barefoot in all 50 U.S. states is legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the safest choice. 

Six U.S. states have declared barefoot driving unsafe, although three states argue barefoot driving could be safer than driving with open-backed shoes. In addition, some states allow law enforcement to fine barefoot drivers who cause accidents, even though barefoot driving isn’t officially outlawed. 

Even though driving barefoot is legal throughout the United States, make sure to wear proper footwear whenever possible.

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Are there any states where it is illegal to drive barefoot? 

No state bans driving barefoot, but several states have officially deemed it unsafe. Additionally, some local jurisdictions may have their own ordinances on barefoot driving. 

These states officially consider driving without shoes unsafe but not illegal: 

  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Ohio
  • Wyoming
  • Missouri
  • Virginia

Driving barefoot while riding a motorcycle is illegal in Alaska and Alabama, but no such law applies to operating passenger vehicles. 

Is barefoot driving considered reckless? 

Some states allow you to be charged or fined if driving barefoot causes or contributes to an accident. You can be fined or charged with reckless driving if you get into an accident while barefoot in these states: 

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania

There are a lot of opinions on whether or not barefoot driving is considered reckless. Some states offer no commentary on its safety.

Is it safe to drive without shoes? 

Official opinions vary widely on the safety of driving without shoes. Some states condemn barefoot driving as unsafe, but others recommend no shoes over driving while wearing some types of shoes, such as flip-flops or heels. 

These states believe driving barefoot may be a safer option than driving with some types of shoes:

  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin

The state of Virginia notes that the safest way to drive is wearing shoes with closed heels. This prevents the shoe from slipping off and getting stuck underneath the pedals, which can cause an accident due to sudden acceleration or braking. 

Wear the safest footwear whenever you drive to avoid injury, car damage, and other consequences. In addition, finding cheap auto insurance after an accident can be difficult, so it’s important to do whatever you can to avoid getting in an accident.

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The Final Word on Driving Barefoot

Driving barefoot is legal in every state, but states differ as to whether barefoot driving is safe. Driving without shoes may be safer than driving in loose or open-backed shoes, like flip-flops, but it’s always better to wear secure shoes that give you full control of the pedals to avoid accidents.

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