It’s car meetup day and there’s going to be a convoy drive after gathering at the rendezvous point. Most of us are perfectly fine with putting appropriate clothes on, whether it’s a pair of well worn jeans, knee shorts and a tee – but what’s the best thing to wear on your two feet before getting into a spirited drive?
While in the driver’s seat, shoes do so much more than just keeping your toes comfortable as certain pairs can potentially improve pedal precision, modulation and ultimately your own performance behind the wheel. With racing footwear, there are certain characteristics tailored into its design; however you may not necessarily need to go out of your way just to buy them.
Luckily enough, picking up a set for driving isn’t rocket science. First and foremost, your shoes of choice has to be comfortable on your feet. This is absolutely vital as your footwear has to be snug, since no pair made for racing will help you in any way at all if it’s ill fitting – you’re better off wearing something else.
If you recall on the first day of your practical driving lesson, your instructor would often remind you to wear sneakers and not sandals. Nonsensical as it sounds, there is a good reason for them as sandals do not firmly hold onto the foot, which could slip off or away from the inner sole when operating the pedals. Not only that, but the pedal could also find itself sandwiched between your sandal’s sole and your foot – and that could lead to a dangerous and costly mistake. At the very least, do wear sports shoes as the closed design does not interfere when shifting between pedals, and the heel support prevents the shoe from slipping or coming off.
At some point you would have noticed that some drive barefooted. There are those who swear by it, as it provides the driver with the most feedback when placing input onto the pedals – it’s a great way for starters to perceive secondary feedback from them. Another inherent advantage of going barefoot is that your feet also occupy the least amount of width, as drivers wearing foot gear with wide soles often find themselves fighting for a proper position especially with a car with a tight footwell. As such, most drivers find shoes with flat, thin and narrow soles to maximize feedback and spacing, whilst still providing protection to the foot.
A fellow member of the #MTHRFKNTEAM owns a legit pair of racing shoes. The Speed Cat Sparcos by PUMA were designed to combine both performance and looks with the slim profile and the classic PUMA Form stripe running across the sides. The insides are comfortable with laces for a snug fit with a low cut ankle form for good support, which also works well for everyday wear. On the outsole, it is laid with high grip rubber for a sure footing on the pedal surfaces, yet durable enough while on the road or on the streets.
As a personal preference, my foot fitment of choice when heading for a drive are the low-cut Converse All-Star Chuck Taylors. The Converses are relatively light, which reduces footwork fatigue, with the low-cut design for least restriction at the ankles. The flat base is made of vulcanized rubber, a trade design for the All-Stars – and while the material grips well onto the pedal surface, it allows for a bit of slip for me to slide across pedals and to perform heel and toe downshifting. To top it off, the sole base is satisfactorily thin to my liking and the narrow design is also a plus when it comes to positioning.
Depending on your tastes, whether if you’re rocking a poor man’s set or a pair of full-blown, all-out racing motorsport footwear, having a suitable pair of shoes on your own two feet can greatly benefit yourself for that extra edge during a spirited drive.
What’s your go-to footwear when taking on the roads? Let us know below in the comments!