If you drive in wellies or walking boots, you may run into problems when trying to claim on your car insurance, as your insurer may refuse to pay out if you are found to be wearing footwear covered in water or snow. They are considered inappropriate for safe driving, as they could easily slip or get stuck in the pedals, which would result in less control of your vehicle - and could easily lead to a crash.
It’s not illegal to drive in wellies, but it’s important to consider that rule 97 of The Highway Code states motorists should ensure “clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”. If your shoes are clearly inhibiting your control over your vehicle, this means you could be breaking the law. Research from Aviva in 2019 found that 13% of drivers have driven in wellies.
Anders Nilsson from GoCompare told Mirror Money: "There is no UK law (that I’m aware of) stating what you can or cannot wear on your feet when driving. However, it is illegal to not be able to operate a vehicle safely, so if you can’t drive with certain footwear on, then you really should not do it.
"If you are in an accident, and the police or your insurer finds that your footwear was unequivocally to blame, then you could conceivably find yourself in a spot of bother. So, on balance, don’t risk it – for driving, wear a pair of comfortable, secure-fitting shoes with good grip. Keep them in the boot if you want to wear something else outside of the car."
What is the most appropriate footwear for driving, then?
The RAC's guidelines for appropriate footwear say the sole of your boot or shoe should be no thicker than 10mm and this should not be too thin or soft. Shoes should not only have enough grip to stop your foot slipping from a pedal, but also not be so heavy they restrict you from making quick movements. As wellies are stiff around the ankle, they would restrict your movement.
The AA recommends:
The best solution is to keep an appropriate pair of shoes in your car, so you don’t get caught out - store them in the boot so they’re out of the way but available when you need them. The AA also recommends you don’t drive barefoot or in flip flops (which might be tempting during the summer!), as these can also inhibit your control of the vehicle.
We can supply specific insurance for young drivers.
We can offer a range of motor insurance policies to suit your needs. Read more on our motor insurance webpage.
We can supply tailored commercial vehicle insurance for a wide range of vehicle types and uses, designed to suit your business needs and help keep your organisation on the road.
Chris North FCII is a respected industry leader with over 40 years' experience, who has worked in the insurance industry in a variety of roles, accumulating a wealth of knowledge.He is currently Technical Manager for Towergate's motor division, providing expertise on all matters relating to motor fleet insurance, in particular haulage and self-drive hire fleets.
Date: October 06, 2023