Sneakers can get you a long way — further if you happen to be Forrest Gump — but believe it or not, they’re some of the worst shoes you can wear while clocking miles in a motor vehicle. The comfy treads (also known as tennis shoes, running shoes and athletic shoes) are literally just as bad as driving in flip flops and heels. Here’s why you shouldn't drive in sneakers.
Sneakers Make You More Likely To Hit The Wrong Pedal
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average driver will hit the wrong pedal between 11 and 20 times per year, leading to 16,000 preventable crashes caused by a driver pushing the accelerator instead of the brake. And this figure isn’t comprised of only confused drivers who accidentally slam the accelerator thinking they’ll come to a sudden stop; it also includes drivers who unintentionally graze the wrong pedal with wide soles like those typically found on traditional, cushioned running shoes.
Sneakers Reduce Your Ability To Feel
Super cushioned soles might feel great when you’re jogging and engaging in other types of activity, but the thick soles of running shoes create a hazard while you’re driving a car. The comfy shoe bottoms drastically reduce what you’re able to feel on the bottom of your feet, meaning you’ll have much less control of the car and are more likely to hit the wrong pedal, as described above.
Which Shoes Are Best For Driving?
If sneakers are a no-go, and flip flops and high heels are also on the no-no list for safely operating a vehicle, what’s a driver to do? Some may opt to wear boots, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out that if the sole is thick and clunky, boots possess the same driving hazards as other no-go types of footwear. And that’s where driving shoes come in (yes, driving shoes are a real thing).
Driving shoes are lightweight, stylish and comfortable shoes that have thin, narrow, rubber-grommet soles so drivers can adequately feel a car’s pedals, better avoid pressing the wrong pedal, and have fuller control of the car. In fact, they were originally invented for drivers who wanted an extra grip while operating super-quick Italian roadsters and other types of speedy sports cars. Most even have small rubber grippers on the back of the heels to give drivers added control and slip resistance.
Check out a few photos of driving shoes below, and be sure to keep your footwear choice in check when planning that next road trip.