Gear: Driving Shoes for Pitch-Perfect Blips

Driving Shoes for Pitch-Perfect Blips

By Petrolicious Productions
May 29, 2013

A good heel-and-toe technique is an indispensable part of the experienced driver’s repertoire, a disappearing skill indicative of dedication to this hobby, and to the craft of driving well. It’s a tightly choreographed dance, one that when executed well rewards with an incredibly satisfying brap of the exhaust met with seamless, butter-smooth lower gear engagement, and just the perfect amount of revs on the clock for post-apex acceleration. It’s difficult to do under the best of circumstances, so why make it harder with the wrong type of shoe?

Driving shoes, with their thin, narrow, and flexible soles and uppers are designed to allow maximum flexibility on the pedals, making it infinitely easier to precisely operate three of them at once when compared with traditional sneakers, boots, or loafers.

Here we feature a few different styles and brands of driver’s kicks, for your pedal action pleasure. In addition to shoes designed explicitly for driving, we also like Asics Onitsuka Tigers for the task, their shape and flexibility lending them very well to driving. Do you have a preferred brand or style? We’d love to hear from you below.

Here are some links to the shoes pictured below (and then some!): Asics Onitsuka Tiger, Cole Haan Air Grant Driver, Timberland Heritage, Adidas, Piloti, Puma, A2Z, Lacoste Concours

Tags Fashion/ Shoes
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3 years ago

I prefer Adidas Hamburg’s in blue suede – match my car, nice and light weight with plenty of pedal feel.

Tim Williams
Tim Williams(@tim-williams)
5 years ago

I love the Bexley suede driving moccasin’s from France (not too hot if you need to spend a day behind the wheel), and Puma Speedcats or Driftcats for a driving (either on the road or at the track). I also have a pair of Piloti’s which are great for a day at the races, as the thicker sole is more comfortable for walking and standing around.

Sid Widmer
Sid Widmer(@sid)
6 years ago

I have 3 pair of actual driving shoes but I always prefer my Chuck Taylors. Cheap and they go with everything.

Antony Ingram
Antony Ingram(@antony-ingram)
6 years ago
Reply to  Sid Widmer

I own a few pairs of shoes similar in style to Chuck Taylors (sadly, can’t say I own the real thing yet!) and as well as liking the style, I’d say they’re good driving shoes anyway. Light, relatively narrow and thin-soled. Currently have my eye on some Puma Future Cats or Drift Cats though.

Iain Holmes
Iain Holmes(@kaotiq)
6 years ago

I have two kinds of shoes, ones I want to walk in and ones I want to drive in, completely agree about the Tigers, need a nice thin sole for driving.

7 years ago

Sparco K-mid boots are of a very good quality for price. Although with a driving look only, it’s difficult to wear them in every day situation. I usually bring a second pair of shoes with me and leave the Sparco in my car 🙂

7 years ago

So… where’s that follow-up with options for women? I searched the site and can’t find anything; I’m really struggling to find a driving shoe narrow enough that my heel stays firmly in place.

Robert Rishel
Robert Rishel(@wackary)
8 years ago

My old Tsubos are absolutely Brilliant for driving and I can wear them daily out and about. I think the closest thing they offer right nw to mine are their [url=””]Resnick [/url]type. They’re terrific and even though I have a fancy pair of $225 Alpinestars, I almost always prefer these…. the ‘stars are so narrow. The Tsubos have a thin & flexible sole so pedal feel is great.

Zar Onius
Zar Onius(@tarmac)
8 years ago

I’ve owned Sparco Pumas, and I’ve never liked “racing shoes” for manual transmission at all. The soles are too rounded, too narrow, and too thin. I’ve had cars with a fairly stiff clutch pedal and the sole just feels too mushy. I much prefer any standard flat-bottom medium-soled athletic shoe, for example chucks, Adidas Laver, Samba, Vans authentic, etc.

I also never understood why the little nubs on driving mocs were there. They just catch on the edges of everything, so pointless.

Doug Escriva
Doug Escriva(@dougie)
8 years ago

I’ve worn Tiger’s for 40 years and Cole Haan for 25. Best of both worlds, when dressed-up or dressed-down.

8 years ago

As lame as it might be, I’ve been rocking some Asic wrestling shoes, purchased for around 35 bucks, and they have been one of the best driving shoe I’ve ever used :p

Nathan Leland
Nathan Leland(@fb_1021010292)
6 years ago
Reply to  greencow

Green cow, you are not alone. I had a pair of Puma boxing shoes for the track. The rounded heel and unpadded sole made them perfect for feeling everything going on with the floor and pedals.

8 years ago

I’m of the cheap variety and love old school Vans for autocrossing and daily driving

Davis Kinzell
Davis Kinzell(@conky)
8 years ago

Bass Weejuns have become my default driving shoes since I stopped wearing sneakers as often. I still like Keds Champions as a close second.

Steijn Uijttewaal
Steijn Uijttewaal(@fb_100005297830000)
8 years ago

Nice article, only the shoes mentioned are not really suited for gentleman-drivers.
Therefore I really have to advise the author and the readers to check out the Todd’s and Hogan range.
Also Zegna and Santoni have nice soft loafers suited for driving long hours and looking the part.
I really love this website, it is always a pleasure reading its articles and watching the video’s together with my 5 year old son.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason(@joshclason)
8 years ago

We will do a follow up and include some of the others you have mentioned. Thanks!

8 years ago

Sometimes a woman drives a standard transmission vehicle as well…

Josh Clason
Josh Clason(@joshclason)
8 years ago
Reply to  Katherine

In our follow up we will include some options for women. Thank you!

8 years ago

I agree with Thomas Falkiner. I’ve been rocking Chuck Taylors for many years now, they’re by far the best driving shoes I’ve ever had (I’m not going to buy another pair though, since Nike bought the brand the quality has dropped dramatically). I’m also quite partial to leather sailing shoes (such as those made by Henri Lloyd) as they have a relatively thin but stiff sole. My sneakers are on their last legs (pun intended), I’m thinking of replacing them with Hummel Stadil Hi Tops, does anyone here have any experience with them?

Terrence Dorsey
Terrence Dorsey(@tpdorsey)
8 years ago

A wise man once told me that driving shoes should be like climbing shoes: sleek, Italian and uncomfortable for walking. I like my OMP Veranos.

Alex Clise
Alex Clise(@highonchai)
8 years ago

What, no Sauconys?
My Bullets are light, narrow, comfortable, grippy, and the sole is thin at the toe providing tons of feedback, and thick at the heel when you need to stay planted.

8 years ago
Reply to  Alex Clise

I used to rock the bullets all the time for driving, light weight, comfortable, the only problem I had was the heel. It wasn’t really rounded, it just kinda came to a point. It wasn’t game breaking, but it doesn’t feel as nice as a wrap around, smooth heel.

Ryan Sarkar
Ryan Sarkar(@hell-toupee)
8 years ago

I my Onitsuka Tiger’s. I have 3 pairs of which one I got from Japan. They look so clean and simple but they’re also intensely functional. That and Uma Thurman rocks multiple pairs in Kill Bill’s and they’re the preferred driving shoe of Keiichi Tsuchiya and a couple of others on Best Motoring.

Thomas Falkiner
Thomas Falkiner(@tomfalkiner111)
8 years ago

Converse All Star High-Tops. Brilliant driving shoes. Great for heel-and-toe. Lots of feel.

Alex Beatty
Alex Beatty(@fb_39501723)
8 years ago

My first official pair way back were the Adidas rockin the goodyear tread. I have to admit now I have 3 pair of Puma Futura’s! Love them!

8 years ago

Love my Onitsuka Tiger Tai Chis, although starting to look a little worse for wear. And, sadly, they don’t make me into a driving God.

8 years ago

I wear New Balance Minimus MW10 shoes all the tie and I’ve found that they’re excellent for driving.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson(@valvebounce)
8 years ago

I am currently rocking a black Bass Weejun loafer with a fancy red gingham sock. They’ll take you anywhere.

Not Nomex lined, but what the hell.

Leucea Alexandru
Leucea Alexandru(@leuceaalexandru)
8 years ago

These are both comfortable and fashionable on the track:

Chris Hill
Chris Hill(@fb_719927190)
8 years ago

I find army surplus hi-top plimsolls superb – they’re narrow, thin soled, flexible, very light, inexpensive, pretty robust, give great feel and don’t look ridiculous when you get out of the car. I’m not sure they’d last long under heavy abuse on a track but for daily use they do well, mine usually last 6 months before they need replacing which, at £12, is no hardship.

Dan Woodward
Dan Woodward(@woody)
8 years ago

I have an old pair of Oakley 1320s, but they look ridiculous if not worn within the vicinity of a track.

Now it’s getting warmer, nothing beats barefoot pedalling for maximum feel.

Daniel Love
Daniel Love(@fb_501940097)
8 years ago

I rock my Onitsukas on roadtrips regardless of what I’m driving. They’re great for relaxing on long drives. I also prefer them because they’re narrow which is a must for my old VW pedals.

My buddy had a pair of Pumas with a curved heel that helped him clutch on his old Celica more comfortably.