Tom trucker and the two-dollar shoes

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Jul 17, 2016

pros don't wear sandalsAbout every six months or so, I see a post or a picture about how awful it is to wear flip flops or sandals while driving a commercial truck. I enjoy these posts — they generally have a lot of healthy “discussion” in the comments. Believe it or not, there are some pretty strong feelings about flip flops on both sides of the argument.

Most recently, I saw a picture on Keith “Palerider” Lawson‘s page I thought was funny, especially since Palerider chased the guy down in a truck stop parking lot to get a picture of it.

“Caught up with this guy today at the T/A in Laredo. Called him on the CB because some of us still use them, and asked him to stop so I could take a picture of what he had written on his headache rack. Sorry I didn’t catch his name.”

I’ve followed Palerider and his YouTube page for a while. He’s what I would consider a real trucker because he’s been at it for more than 20 years, has owned more than a couple of trucks and still has some hair left. He does a weekly trucking v-log, and has been for a long time. The 72 episodes cover everything from good food to bad habits, they’re trucking entertainment and information, all wrapped up in one.

I shared the post, and waited for the comments. They didn’t disappoint.

“Professional drivers don’t drive with their leg up on the dash.”

“Big deal. It’s whatever the driver’s comfortable with.”

“Clothes do make a decision on whether I’d hire anyone! I’d never hire a professional that didn’t dress appropriately, be them banker or mechanic. I’m surprised some don’t wear swimsuits.”

“I’ve been driving 43 years, and prefer driving in sandals or barefoot in the summer months. But, I never go into a shipper or receiver without putting on shoes & socks. Also I know it’s a no no for DOT, so if inspected I put on shoes.”

“Sneakers, shorts and a t shirt, and you can suck my b***s.”

“Simmer down there, supertrucker. What’s wrong with shorts and a t-shirt? Nothing. If I wanted a suit-and-tie job I would’ve gotten one.”

“You’re correct fellas, wear whatever you want. But then don’t be on facebook whining because you don’t get any respect.”

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers

“Y’all say you’re out here because of the freedom, yet you want to tell me what to wear? 43 yrs on the road, i will wear what i please… hope you lose lots of sleep over it too!!”

Between the two posts, there were probably 30 more comments and they were all just as passionate. Of course, the OSHA point came up, and was heavily debated. Apparently, language in the standard doesn’t specifically mention commercial vehicles, so there are some who believe it doesn’t apply.

“…ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, or when the use of protective footwear will protect the affected employee from an electrical hazard, such as a static-discharge or electric-shock hazard, that remains after the employer takes other necessary protective measures.”

Now, it’s a well-known fact I don’t drive a commercial vehicle, but I have been involved in a personal vehicle wreck while wearing a pair of flip flops, and I can state with some pretty fair certainty that flip flops aren’t going to protect your feet from anything when you get hit head on in a Pinto. After my wreck, they found one of my flip flops embedded in a dead possum. Apparently, upon impact, it flew off my foot and out the window like a Chinese throwing star, into unsuspecting wildlife. I was ticketed for poaching.

OK, that’s a filthy lie, but I did break the bones in my right foot, trying to slam on brakes, and it might not have happened if I had worn real shoes for my spectacular head-on with a Warner Robins, Georgia City Kitty. Filthy lies aside, I am very lucky to have walked away from that crash, even if I did have a pronounced limp and only one flip flop.

So the question remains – do professionals wear sandals? What say you? Let’s hear it.

Showcase your workhorse
Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
Submit Your Rig
Reader Rig Submission