Barefoot Driving in the UK: Legal or Not?

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The legality of driving without footwear in the United Kingdom has been a topic of discussion, surrounded by myths and misunderstandings. This article seeks to clarify whether it is illegal to drive barefoot in the UK.

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Road Traffic Acts

The primary legislation governing driving in the UK is the Road Traffic Act 1988, along with subsequent amendments and regulations such as The Highway Code.

Specific Provisions on Footwear

Neither the Road Traffic Act nor The Highway Code specifically mentions the need for appropriate footwear while driving. There is no direct law prohibiting barefoot driving.

Safety and Best Practices

The Highway Code Guidelines

While not legally mandated, The Highway Code advises that drivers should wear footwear that provides adequate grip on the pedals to avoid slipping.

Potential Risks

Driving barefoot or with unsuitable footwear could potentially lead to a loss of control of the vehicle. In the event of an accident, if barefoot driving is deemed to be a contributing factor to negligence, the driver could face legal consequences.

Enforcement and Liability

Police Discretion

Police officers may exercise discretion if they believe a driver’s lack of footwear impairs their ability to operate a vehicle safely.

Insurance Implications

Insurance companies may have policies regarding safe driving practices, and driving barefoot could potentially be viewed as increasing risk, possibly affecting claims in the event of an accident.

Public Perception and Misconceptions

Common Beliefs

There is a widespread belief in the UK that driving barefoot is outright illegal, which is not the case according to the letter of the law.


In the United Kingdom, driving barefoot is not explicitly illegal. However, drivers are advised to wear suitable footwear to ensure they have sufficient control over the vehicle. Driving without shoes may have implications for road safety and insurance.


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