The Wilde Drive logo leaves no doubt… I am a woman who loves my high heels. As you know I also love my cars and sometimes the two do not go well together. Barefoot, heels, platforms and thongs all present their own unique motoring challenges. Before we begin the discussion let us address the legality of driving footwear.
According to LawPath, a provider of legal provider of legal services for small to medium businesses:
"All ten Australian states and territories agree with no exact statement outlawing the use of inappropriate footwear while driving. Under Australian Road Rules 2008, rule 297, the driver must still take all precautions to drive in the safest manner possible. If in the unfortunate event that an accident does occur further investigations will be taken to inquire whether or not the driver’s footwear (or lack of) played a role in the cause of the accident. Those who are found guilty can be sentenced to pay a substantial fine along with the possibility of further punishment – depending on the severity of the damage. "
So the law is… wear footwear you can drive safely in. If you find the heel of your flip flop thongs always catches on the floor when you change gears, then don’t wear thongs. If like me you find you can’t reach the floor and the accelerator at the same time, wear a shoe with a heel to give your calf muscles a break. If the pedals are slippery in stockings or you can’t quite reach in bare feet then wear shoes with a solid sole and good grip. A high heel puts you at a disadvantage as it does shorten the distance your foot can travel to push in the pedal and the heel can catch on the floor mat.
Personally I always keep a pair of simple ballet flats in my gear bag that I can slip into for driving confidence if my shoes of the moment leave me in any doubt. If you do throw on another pair of shoes, make sure you put the discarded shoes in a safe place. Leaving them on the driver’s side floor is very dangerous as they can slide in under your pedals and when you need the brake you won’t be able to push it in.
The footwear I am confident and comfortable driving in depends on the car and the journey. A high powered V8 along a twisty mountain road with a manual gear box and lots of gear changes will lead me to choose well-fitting ballet flats. If I am cruising in an automatic on my way to dinner, I can wear my freakiest stilettos. If I am on a long road trip without cruise control I will choose a shoe that can easily reach the pedals without straining my calf muscle or the arch of my foot.
At the end of the day, wear a shoe (or not) that you can confidently sense the pedals and control it confidently. If you can master the throttle to clutch dance in 6 inch platform stilettos then go for it. If your prime driving beast comes out in bare feet then rock the naked toes. Care less about fashion and more about being safe.