Going Barefoot: It’s not actually against the law

by Abbie on April 25, 2011

One of the major reasons people don’t spend more time barefoot in public places is because they (along with business owners) think that it’s illegal. Businesses can have their own dress code, but most “laws” are actually more like recommendations.

Driving Without Shoes

It’s perfectly legal to drive barefoot in all 50 U.S. States, Canada, and in the UK (Thanks Primalfoot Alliance!). A police officer in any state could give you a ticket for reckless or negligent driving, though,┬áif he or she feels that being barefoot is affecting your driving skills.

While there have been no conclusive studies on the dangers of barefoot driving, some argue that the soles of your feet have less traction than rubber on a shoe, thus making barefoot driving more dangerous than shod driving. Check out gas pedal covers, such as the Barefoot Gas Pedal Cover, if you are really worried about it.

On the other hand, some believe that the increased sensitivity and control will give the driver better gas mileage.

Stores & Restaurants

While each business is free to create his or her own dress code, which should be clearly posted; however, to date, there are no OSHA regulations or state laws that ban shopping or dining without shoes. OSHA (Occupational and Safety Health Administration) is a division of the United States Department of Labor, whose regulations are to protect the employers and the employees only, and therefore do not apply to customers or clients.

If you get questioned, see it as an opportunity to spread the word about how safe and sanitary going barefoot actually is. Ultimately, it is their establishment, so if they continue to push the issue, you can always take your business elsewhere!

A good compromise might be taking a pair of Vibrams or another minimalist shoe in a backpack or bag to slip on when you are inside the building, and then pop them off when you leave!

What have been your experiences? Shout out any barefoot friendly establishments in your town in the comments!

Photo Credit: shaggyshoo on Flickr

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan Wood April 26, 2011 at 4:22 am

I like to drive barefoot, even in winter. I had no idea it was illegal in some states, but I think I’ll risk it! I’ll consider myself warned.

The Primalfoot Alliance April 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Actually, driving barefoot is perfectly legal in all 50 United States, Canada and the UK. The only exception is those riding motorcycles in Alabama, who must wear footwear. We have more information on our FAQ: http://www.primalfootalliance.org/faqs/legal-and-policy/isnt-it-illegal-to-drive-barefoot.html

Abbie April 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Definitely worth the risk, Megan :)

Thanks Primalfoot Alliance! I have updated the article and linked to your post!

Fabio Montoya April 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I hadn’t considered it but sounds great to drive barefoot, I just have done it with Vibram Shoes on and it feels good…

Jarrett July 14, 2011 at 12:01 am

I live in New Orleans and going barefoot is frowned upon big time. I would always go barefoot for years until I heard it is a no no. So now I always wear shoes so I don’t get stared down.

Jack September 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Is it like actually legal for the store owner to kick you out? I know many places in my community that post a no shoes no shirt no service sign, but since it is not illegal, can they actually force you to leave?

Elisa June 12, 2015 at 2:10 am

You got me at fewer ingredients and less steps! I don’t putricalarly enjoy cooking but know that I should do it more often. Healthier and less expensive than take-out!

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