Can I take my shoes off?

“Is it legal to drive barefoot?” tops the list of things Americans ask the legality of, according to data analytic company SEMrush.

We’ve all been in a position where we just don’t know what questions to ask. Yet, it seems a lot of us have similar questions on our minds.

As a journalist, not having a question at the ready can be a professional pitfall. Luckily for me and my colleagues, there are countless companies out there analyzing all kind of data and sending press releases our way.

Recently, a true summer conundrum made its way to my inbox: Is it legal to drive barefoot?

Data analytic company SEMrush released a report on the most common things people in different countries ask the legality of.

According to SEMrush’s research, feet are on American minds. Specifically, whether it is legal to drive without shoes. Apparently that is the No. 1 action we as Americans want to know whether we can do legally.

In the United Kingdom, that question comes in as the third most asked, right behind “Is it legal to marry your cousin?” and “Is it legal to record someone?” Canada’s top two questions mirror those of the UK, and the barefoot driving query doesn’t even crack the top 10 “is it legal to” questions.

Here in the United States, SEMrush gives us this breakdown of what we want to know the legality of most:

1. Is it legal to drive without shoes/barefoot?

2. Is it legal to record someone?

3. Is it legal to buy edibles online? (This is in reference to food products that contain cannabinoids.)

4. Is it legal to marry your cousin?

5. Is it legal to sleep in your car?

6. Is it legal to own a fox?

7. Is it legal to grow hemp?

8. Is it legal to own an otter?

9. Is it legal to collect rainwater?

10 Is it legal to work 16 hours a day?

In most cases, the answer is, “It depends.” Sometimes the determining factor is the state you live in. In Missouri, for example, residents are free to collect rainwater, but eight states have limitations to harvesting rainwater. In Kansas, a permit may be required if the harvested water will be used for something other than domestic purposes.

On a federal level, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Education Center, there is no standard to regulate extended or unusual shifts. So a 16-hour work day isn’t illegal, but there’s a lot of other details in the Fair Labor Standards Act that affect allowable work schedules.

But what about foot freedom behind the wheel?

It’s perfectly legal to drive without shoes in all 50 states.

The organization Barefoot Is Legal argues in favor of driving without footwear, saying it is more comfortable than the alternative, it lets the driver feel the road and engine better through their feet, it allows a better grip on the gas and brake pedals, it allows faster reaction time, and shoes can’t fall off and get stuck on the pedals if you’re not wearing shoes in the first place.

With that question answered, I have to ask, who are all these people who want to own foxes and otters?

Regional News Director Amy Neal can be reached at or 389-6629.


NPG Regional Director of Content & News Strategy

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