O’Sullivan was on course to establish a 4-2 lead over tournament debutant Steadman when he appeared in pain, dispensed with his shoes and continued to contest the frame in his socks.
Having been advised of his breach of dress code, the 39-year-old asked the Crucible crowd whether he could borrow some replacement shoes before donning a pair lent by tournament director Mike Ganley.
Following the incident, which saw a fan take the unwanted pair, O’Sullivan proceeded to extend his advantage over world No81 Steadman to 7-2, although could face a fine for his dress code discrepancy.
There was further intrigue during Ding Junhui’s 10-7 victory over Mark Davies as the third seed squandered the chance to net a 147 maximum break and potential £30,000 in bizarre circumstances.
Having potted 12 reds and 12 blacks in a break of 96 in frame nine, China’s Ding inexplicably screwed back for the blue when potting the 13th red, leaving the 28-year-old with a rueful smile.