Looking for the best driving shoes? Join us as we take a look at what we use here at the rally school, where technical maneuvers like left foot braking, trail braking, and pendulum turns are a normal part of the day.
Do you need a full FIA approved racing shoe? Probably not, so knowing what to look for in a normal sneaker, skate shoe, or other footwear is critical for selecting a shoe that will offer a high level of comfort and performance for driving adventures.
If you've seen some of our videos in the past, you'll notice that we seldom wear actual driving shoes. This is primarily because of the rough environments that we deal with day in and day out here at the rally school, where a sprinkle of rain could leave you with soaking wet, muddy feet for the day. If you find yourself needing to wear heavy-duty footwear for your occupation or travel requirements, you can certainly learn to operate a vehicle to a very high level using whatever footwear you already have.
Given the option, a pair of ordinary sneakers can function as excellent driving shoes. Most drivers will choose a shoe with a thin, relatively flat sole in order to maximize sensory feedback from the pedals. It's also important to choose a somewhat narrow and well-fitted shoe if at all possible, without any extraneous laces, loops, or other frills that might get caught on the corner of a pedal or on the opposite shoe. Many drivers prefer a rounded heel, but this is personal preference.
A full racing shoe will offer some fire retardant protection, and there are different levels available. Always check with the rules for whatever type of racing you're doing, but typically an FIA approved shoe is good for most things. Auto racing shoes are lightweight and offer great pedal feel in a compact snag-free package, but are typically fairly light duty and seldom waterproof. Be sure to note that if racing shoes are torn or damaged badly, they may not pass tech inspection at a race and therefore keep them in as good shape as possible and have any damages repaired quickly.