Shoes / Barefoot

This page has been put together using Qld road rules legislation as of 2009.
It is in no way purposed or designed to be used for legal defence or legal advice!
It is designed to help you know and obey the road rules.
Not to justify bad driving behaviours.

A question we are often asked: "Am I allowed to do my test barefoot?

The answer is a little more complicated than a simple "Yes" or "No".

In this article we answer the question and discuss other things to consider including what footwear is best and what to avoid.

ShoesAre you allowed to drive barefoot?

Simple Answer

Yes, there are no laws preventing you from driving bare foot.

What to consider

1. The clutch is usually a rather small pedal and requires extra a lot of pressure on the ball of the foot. The sole of a shoe distributes this pressure more evenly.

2. In some cars the clutch, especially older ones, may require more pressure to be applied.
3. Repeated use of the clutch with a bare foot could cause cramping or spasms in the foot, reducing the drivers concentration and ability to effectively use the clutch.
4. Certain fabric socks or tights can reduce traction between your foot and the pedals, insufficient grip can cause the foot to slip off, especially in an emergency.
5. Applying quick and forceful pressure to the brake may be compromised due to sensitivity in an emergency, resulting in poor braking.
6. In the case on an actual collision, shoes will offer protection to the feet, especially the soles if there is broken glass around the car. 

What shoes are best?

Shoes Bad

 What to avoid:

You should avoid wearing high heels, thongs, anything without a grip at the heel of your foot, or soles that are too thick and inflexible.

High Heels

The best position for the right foot (Brake & Accelerator) is with the heel resting on the floor in line with the brake, we then rotate the foot to use the accelerator. This allows muscle memory to build a natural repose of "straight for the brake", meaning the foot goes to a straight up/down position over the brake. In an emergency this allows a quick return to the brake with less chance of under/over correcting and missing the brake.

A high heel will firstly altar this position, raising the position of the actual foot and distorts the feedback that tells you how much pressure you are putting on the pedal. This positioning can also prevent full pressure being applied to the brake as the ankle can't roll fully forward.

Secondly, a high heel will not have as much friction on the floor and could slip easier or, over time, wear a hole in the carpet or floor mat and get caught. The heel also has potential of getting caught underneath a pedal.

If these are the only shoes available you are better off removing them and driving bare foot.

Thongs and Strapless Shoes

The problem with thongs and strapless shoes is they don't have anything holding the sole of the shoe to the heel. The clutch pedal is best used with the heel in the air and depressing the pedal using the knee rather than the ankle. This make moving the pedal in small increments much easier as the knee is much stronger than the ankle.

With a strapless shoe/thong the heel of the shoe falls away easily from the foot and can make moving the foot from one position to another more difficult and timely. In an emergency this will slow your ability to get to the brake effectively.

Without the ankle support your foot will easily slip off the thong/strapless shoe requiring concentration to be diverted to the foot/shoe problems rather than the road.

If the heal get caught on some worn or loose carpet or floor mat it can also compromise your pressure feedback when pushing the pedal.

If these are the only shoes available you are better off removing them and driving bare foot.

  • While better than the above options, a boot with a thick or solid sole will compromise the pressure feedback from the pedals, if they offer too much support to the ankle they will take away the required flexibility to move between the pedals properly. Lastly if they are bulky boots or have steel toecaps they can catch on the surface above the pedals and the extra weight will eventually have you pushing the accelerator more than you intended, which could result in unintentional speeding. The benefit of boots however is the protection they will give your foot and ankle in the case of a collision.

What to look for?

Shoes Good


Trainers or Sneakers are the best for driving; they have a sole that is soft and flexible and gives good feedback about the pressure you are exerting on the pedals and also protects your foot in the case of a collision. They are light and easy to lift/move between pedals and have no restriction on movement.

Make sure they breathe easy though and are comfortable for long distance driving.

Road Rules are always under review and are often changed or updated. This page was accurate at time of publishing, while we endeavour to keep these pages up to date we may occasionally miss something. You as a road user are expected to keep up to date with the Road Rules.