Wearing the wrong shoes while driving can have serious safety implications.
It’s not often that the worlds of fashion and road of safety intersect. Since few years ago driving shoes started to become fashionable, that’s exactly when the intersection of the two worlds begin. And about time too, because far too many drivers are making bad footwear choices.
A recent poll in Dubai found that 27% respondents have encountered difficulties while driving because of the shoes they were wearing. 5% claimed that their footwear had actually led to them driving dangerously, losing control or having an accident. The act of driving – especially in traffic conditions that involve constant use of the pedals – can take its toll on your feet and ankles. Wear the right shoes and your feet will feel relaxed, your car control will improve. By wearing right shoes you can react faster to changes in traffic or road conditions. Wearing right shoes makes one a smooth driver.
Choosing the right driving shoes isn’t always about looking good. It’s actually more about safety and comfort. Your safety and the safety of others. Rather alarmingly large proportion of people have admitted to driving in shoes which are unsuitable. In some cases this may have caused them to drive in a dangerous fashion, sometimes leading to accidents.
Being a woman I always find it difficult to find right fashionable shoes for driving. I would always end up wearing high heels which would lead to paining ankles. Soles and heels are the key. Thick soles mean that your feet can’t feel the pedals properly, so you can’t accurately judge how much pressure to apply. This leads to abrupt and jerky braking and accelerating. Quite apart from the effect it has on your passengers, this will do nothing to reduce the wear and tear on your car.
What not to wear?
Moving on to heels, high ones are definite no-no. The heel on your foot needs to be on the floor to achieve the correct pedal action. High heels elevate the foot and distort ability to measure how much pressure needs to be applied. Platform wedges are worse than high heels as they are double whammy and have thick soles.
Flip flop are also a bad choice: they come off too easily and can get jammed under a pedal. Flip flops even distract the driver while trying to put it back on their foot. One sometimes considers driving barefoot or stockinged feet. However, this is a bad choice too as tights and socks don’t allow the right grip to the pedals. Barefeet becomes damp with perspiration, making them slippery.
So your next question would be, what are the safer options?
Here are the few types of shoes you can buy and tips to buy them.
Get a Snug Fit pair –
A snug fit is another thing that you need to keep in mind when you are shopping for the right pair of driving shoes. Lose or tight shoes will always make you uncomfortable while driving. The last thing you want is to be focused on your shoes instead of driving.
Stick with boot brands –
Work boots that are produced by high quality brands like Wesco, Timberland, etc will be a great choice. They are made of tough materials which will last you long. After all, you don’t want to spend time finding the right pair of driving shoes, and spend a good amount of money on those shoes, only to have them fall apart.
Buy slip on shoes or with laces –
Finally, it’s important to note that the flip flops and similar shoe styles are not ideal for driving at all. However, you will get much better results by wearing shoes that have laces or that slip on and provide a snug fit.
What kind of soles should one buy?
Soles should be a maximum of 10mm (1cm) thick, but something along the lines of 4mm is even better. If you are a regular driver, you can feel the difference between the two soles. You also need to avoid wide soles, which could mean you are pressing two pedals at the same time. The most important aspect while driving is that you feel the pedals to gauge how much pressure to apply.
A bona fide driving shoe has a sole that extends from the underside to the heel, preventing scuffing and aiding grip. Hence look for something along those lines. The classic option is the Moccasin. They are soft, thin-soled shoe. The advantage of moccasin is that it doesn’t look out of place in or out of the car. They are fashionable and serve the driving purpose very well.
If your personality is sportier then the best alternative to moccasin is the racing boot-style trainer. The variations of these kind of shoes are available at Adidas and Puma. Also there are some motorsport brands such as Sparco and Alpinestars one can buy from. They’re comfortable and very effective, but wearers must be afraid to cut a dash outside the car.
Buying a pair of shoes for driving is not an affectation: there are sensible reasons for thinking about what you wear on your feet when in the car. And if you look fashionable at the same time, well, that’s just a bonus.
Your feet are really important and are busy while driving. If you are wearing the right kind of shoes your toes will be comfortable which will enhance the control you may have in the car while driving. It also means you can react faster to changing situations in the road conditions or even the traffic close to you. By wearing the proper driving shoes can certainly help you to develop into a smooth driver.
It’s a great idea to carry a pair of driving shoes along with you all the time, then it really doesn’t matter what you are wearing. Its really a must to slip out of your “fashion” shoes and into your comfortable driving shoes as you get in the car. Hence always choose style with comfort.
“Shoes are the finishing touch of any outfit and it is important to complete a look with the perfect pair and safety.”