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High heels or Flip-flops? Neither, one should get proper driving shoes

By Rigval on 13 Oct 2011

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Sometimes when I see a pretty lady wearing a pair of Louboutin (pronounced Lou-Bou-Than) heels get into the driver's seat and then drive away straight away I somehow wonder in amazement how they are able to do so.

You see, one of the drawbacks of driving in high heels is that these shoes have no heel support whatsoever (even though it usually has a 4-5 inch stiletto heel). It also has a leather sole which has minimal grip and it may have a thick sole or platform that may be an inch or so thick.
With high heel ladies shoes, the thick sole would restrict the feel of the brake and accelerator pedals and the high heels elevate the heel and tamper with normal pedal operation. Note that when you drive, the accelerator and brake pedal are operated by one rotating the heel of the foot left to right depending on which pedal to use. A pointy stiletto heel limits or obstructs this movement.

If you actually asked women who actually 'PAY' attention to their driving, this is what they would say and what they usually do is change to a proper pair of shoes for driving. Even my better half prefers to drive in flat shoes rather than heels. And this is why I am familiar with women's shoes and its driving characteristics, not that I've actually gone round in looking like the star of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Anyway, driving in those Louboutins may also destroy them. So I'd suggest that people, I say people, as there are some men who for some reason like wearing heels, who drive in expensive heels keep a proper pair of driving shoes instead of the latest designer stilettos.

Actually, its the same with flip-flops or slippers. These are actually too soft for proper driving. The thin sole may be too thin to give actual support to the whole foot and heel. The sole may also be slippery if they are worn out and be dangerous as the foot may slip off the pedal while driving. Some will say that they are comfortable in flip-flops. There is no denying that they are comfortable for lounging around, but a survey conducted in the UK in 2005 claimed that out of a thousand interviewed, three-quarters found it a problem driving in them.

Cross trainers or those sports shoes with too thick a sole are also a problem when it comes to driving. You may not be able to feel the brake and accelerator pedal and this is also unsuitable for proper driving. If you do drive in these shoes, it may also be too wide and it gets stuck under or between the pedals that you need to press.

So what are proper shoes that you can use for driving then? A basic guideline is that the sole should not be thicker than 1cm. It should not be too thin or soft until you have no support whatsoever. It should be grippy so that the sole does not slip from the pedals. It should not be too heavy until you cannot feel the pedals or limit ankle movement. It should not be too wide until you can step on both pedals at the same time.

Of course, for most of us motorheads this isn't too much of a problem. A pair of moccasins, a pair of boat shoes or a pair of Puma Speedcats (more than adequate for a trackday trip to the Sepang circuit) may already be in our shoe cabinet and these shoes suit driving very well indeed. Those that require a little more style may opt for a pair of Tods Driving shoes or the Santoni for AMG that ultra-expensive sports driving shoe that I will only get if I can actually afford to buy a proper AMG Mercedes in the first place.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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Lammy84 Oct 13 2011 01:41 PM
Those girls in heels usually remove them when they are driving. When i wear flip flops out i always remove them and drive barefoot when in the car :P
Rigval Oct 13 2011 09:17 PM
You shouldn't be driving barefoot as it is actually quite dangerous to do so. In an emergency you actually need the shoe's sole to exert proper pressure on the brake pedal. Note that the brake pedal is basically flat, and the sole of a shoe is practically flat too....Your feet aren't flat with toes and all. Two flat surfaces hold better.

Going barefoot may also increase the chances of your foot getting ripped to shreds in an accident - your feet have no protection from the protruding pedals and other sharp objects that may become lose in an accident.

I would strongly suggest you start driving with proper shoes.
Lammy84 Oct 14 2011 01:17 AM
if the accident is strong enough to make the pedal rip my foot to shreds ill hardly be worried abt my foot. Most prolly dead already. That being said, my foot brakes better than my office shoes sometimes with its wooden sole.
Darthrevan Oct 14 2011 01:18 AM
my wife wears Louboutin but she keeps a pair of moccasins in her ride just for driving but no one knows cos they cannot see mellow.gif
Rigval Oct 14 2011 08:20 AM
lammy..no lah...you may survive...you got airbags on top remember ...try those thin soled moccs instead. Remember, flesh will always lose out against protruding metal..a 30km/h tap may already be detrimental to the driver and not the car. That's why you have cases of whiplash, bruising even in 'slow' accidents.

Need to unlearn what you're used to. Its just a suggestion nonetheless.

Expertz Oct 14 2011 09:10 PM
it takes less than a second to remove your high heels and you don't need to use your hands. all you need to do is to give it a slight kick at the end and the high heels will come off.
its impossible or extremely stressful to drive with high heels, i think those women who you see enter cars with high heels actually remove them once inside the car, its just that you can't see it.

personally i always wear high heels and remove them when i drive, only need to remove 1 side because i drive an auto. but eventually i've become so used to driving barefoot that even when wearing normal shoes i will remove them too
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