Looking For The Middle Ground Between Style And Serious Driving Gear?
When it comes to what we wear when we drive, there are a few different routes to take. Some opt for the faux-racer look by wearing a ludicrously expensive F1 team windbreaker, while others might prefer a subtler route, strapping on a nice chronograph and calling it a day with a whatever they wore to work earlier. Fashion is a fickle thing regardless of how high or low you take it, but there are some enduring styles that resist the ebb and flow of what’s cool and what isn’t. In the case of driving gear for instance, a nice set of leather gloves have always been a great complement to a wooden steering wheel, and though I’ll leave out my opinions on those who use them just to tootle around town with, there’s a reason they’re worn in competition; if you want to do a track day with a vintage car or even just a spritely blitz through the less populated and more serpentine sections of your drive, sweaty palms and smooth wood aren’t the ideal means of control.
It’s a similar case with driving shoes in terms of proper use and posing. To clarify, there’s nothing wrong with playing a little Goodwood Revival now and then, but when it comes to the performance-oriented pieces of an outfit I think we can be a bit more strict in our scrutiny. I cringe every time I see a primary-colored suede race boot step over the sill of a some modern supercar with a loud exhaust and no clutch pedal, don’t you? It’s like going to the ski lodge decked out in all your gear just to sip on hot chocolate. But then there are moments that do require such footwear, and thankfully there are options for the space in between leisure and this kind of driving. These suede and leather driving shoes fit squarely in this category.
Made by Vandel in Europe, they are made from aniline cow leather inside, and feature 26 different pieces of Italian suede stitched together on the outside. The rubber soles are suited for quick and accurate pedal play like you’d expect from a shoe made to excel in an automobile’s footwell. The company itself is a long-standing family pseudonym that has been used to create goods and art since its early appearance in bohemian Paris. That’s what they say anyway, but we’re inclined to believe in these longstanding aesthetic roots when they produce boots like these. Inspired by the gear worn by Grand Prix and sports car drivers in the ’70s and ’80s, they are clearly more than just functional in their design. Offered in two colors, both are stylishly unobtrusive, restrained and simple but not at all boring.
So if you like taking the back roads to the sunday morning car show but don’t want to look like a wannabe when you get out for a cup of coffee, these are the answer.