Warning as drivers wearing designer shoes behind the wheel could face hefty fine


With the sun finally breaking through the clouds across Scotland, the warmer weather means many of us can finally get some wear out of our summer clothes – and our favorite shoes.

Over the last few years, ‘sneaker culture’ has turned into a multi-billion industry, with many obsessed with brands such as Nike and Adidas, Chronicle Live reports.

Designer shoes with unusual designs with chunky soles have become the fashion, with many sneakers also featuring innovative heel designs and other special features.

But while such footwear may look good, these items generally aren’t the best to have on while driving – with motorists facing a hefty fine and points on their license if caught sporting them while out and about on roads.

Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that before you set out in your car, you must ensure that clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner.

Ignoring this may land rulebreakers with a ‘Driving Without Due Care and Attention’ offense if spotted by a police officer.

The offense itself comes with a fixed fine of £100, as well as three points on your driving license – with an option to attend a specialist driving course instead at the discretion of the officer.

However, if your expensive trainers are causing you to actually drive in a dangerous manner – the same penalty will apply, as well as the potential to see your case be referred to the judicial system.

This could result in a fine of up to £5,000, nine points on your licence, or even an all-round outright driving ban.

Driving in certain designer shoes could land you in trouble.
Driving in certain designer shoes could land you in trouble.

But what footwear is deemed unsuitable? Well according to the Driving Standards Agency, your driving shoes should:

  • Have a sole no thicker than 10mm
  • The sole should not be too thin or soft
  • Provide enough grip to stop your foot slipping off the pedals.
  • Not be too heavy
  • Not limit ankle movement
  • Be narrow enough to avoid accidentally depressing two pedals at once
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With that in mind, Scrap Car Comparison has compiled ten sought after sneakers that could land you with a fine costlier than the shoes themselves – in most cases.

1) Adidas Yeezy Slide: RRP: £50 to £60 / Resale Value: £70 to £300

Slides have become the go-to summer footwear choice for most, and the Yeezy Slide has cemented itself as the choice for most sneakerheads – however the understated design comes with zero heel support and therefore falls well outside of the Driving Standards Agency guidelines.

2) Balenciaga Triple S: RRP: £695 to £825

A brand heavily favored by the Kardashians and hip-hop royalty, the Balenciaga Triple S is an instantly recognizable silhouette that has fans from Jeff Goldblum to Bella Hadid. Behind the wheel though, it’s not as favourable.

Its chunky sole comes in at a hefty 45.72mm, way above the 10mm guidance, and the substantial width of the shoes also heightens the concern of accidentally hitting the wrong pedal.

Nike Vapormax: RRP: £140 to £200

A style that doesn’t require large amounts to be spent on the resale market and can be picked up from most retailers, the Vapormax can’t be mistaken, with its full air-bubble sole. The unique sole’s design however could cause the individual ‘bubbles’ to get caught in the pedals and land you in the category of ‘driving without due care’.

Nike Sacai Vaporwaffle: RRP: £164.95 / Resale Value: £250 to £950

Another popular trainer that would see you fall foul of having too much of a chunky sole (coming in at approximately 46mm), the Nike Sacai Vaporwaffle also features an unusual back-end, with a sole that splits in two to form a ‘tongue- like’ shape, making it lack in the heel-support department too.

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Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2: RRP: £200 / Resale Value: £250 to £500

A second entry for Kanye West’s Yeezy brand, with its most popular silhouette. Since its first release in September 2016, this sneaker has been hugely influential in the sneaker world and with multiple colourways, can often be seen being worn wherever you go.

Its ‘BOOST’ filled sole and large 40mm heel take it over the 10mm guidance though, so while it is a sleek, flexible option, it could still land you in trouble.

Alexander McQueen ‘Oversized Sneaker’: RRP: £420

Taking design cues from the Adidas Stan Smith and putting it on steroids, the Alexander McQueen is, as its name suggests, potentially the king of oversized soles. Its heel reaches 50mm in height, great for anyone aiming to look a little taller, but not so great behind the wheel…being five times over the guidance.

Fear of God – The California Sneaker: RRP: £165 to £175

Part slider, part sneaker, one of the latest designs from Jerry Lorenzo’s label offers a smarter alternative to the Yeezy Slide, however it still doesn’t cancel out concerns about driving. The lack of any heel support and its smooth, grip-less styling would likely land you in trouble if spotted driving in these by a police officer.

Off White x Nike Blazer Low: RRP: £137 / Resale Value: £145 to £250

The late Virgil Abloh’s Off White collaboration with Nike brought about some sneakers that’ll always be heralded in fashion circles, and one of the more recent releases is the re-imagined Blazer Low.

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A shoe that would pass all driving tests if it wasn’t for its elongated heel, which could make it an issue when switching between pedals and finding a comfortable spot for your foot to sit.

Balenciaga Defender: RRP £750

The second entry from the high-fashion Balenciaga brand that is more and more embedded in the streetwear world, the Defender was premiered in its Spring/Summer ’22 and features a not-so-summery rugged look that is dominated by a huge tyre- tread style sole that far exceeds the 10mm guidance.

The multiple ‘notches’ across the sole will also make it tricky when striking the pedals.

Nike MAG (Back to the Future): RRP: £400 / Resale Value: £10,000 to £400,000

One of the rarest trainers ever released, the limited edition Nike MAG shoes are a recreation of the shoes worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II and due to their rarity, they can fetch extortionate amounts on the resale market.

While they might be suited to a hoverboard, they definitely aren’t suited to driving, with the bulky shoe offering very little ankle movement and again, a sole that goes way above the 10mm guidance.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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