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The Very Best Driving shoes I've ever tried(for the car guys/girls)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
It's extremely rare that a really fast driver will share a tip that he knows makes him better and faster. This latest bit was no exception and even my good buddy,driver Phil McClure and my driving instructor Michael Culver from the Skip Barber driving school initially refused to share this latest tip.

I've always had trouble finding driving shoes that fit well and were flexible enough to allow full movement of my large feet(size 13) when racing. My Oakley Race Mid shoes were certainly flexible enough and looked cool but they stretched enough in a few races to make them pretty much useless. I even tried getting them one size smaller but they killed my feet and would'nt work with the Flame Retardant socks I like to wear. I've also tried a few shoes at great expense and have always felt they were lacking in some way or another.

When I went to Germany this past april for a driving school and visits to Stuggart and Leipzig to the Porsche factories, I noticed that nearly all the factory test drivers were wearing Converse Chuck Taylor basketball shoes in factory colors. I just figured these guys were being typically goofy and since I never did any ride-alongs with them and just followed in chase cars,I never noticed that they were actually using them as driving shoes.

When Phil(also a big guy with big feet like myself) hinted that I try a pair of "Chucks" to see if they worked,I just figured he was dishing payback for the last nasty joke I layed on him. When Mike also suggested I try them to solve a more serious problem I was having with a new car I'm thinking of switching to,I decided to give them a try.

I bought several pairs of classic black "Chucks" in various sizes from 11.5 to 13 and dumped them all in the clothes dryer as suggested before wearing them. I followed the further suggestion of wearing them around for a few hours straight from the dryer to stretch and conform them to my feet. I gotta say,these things work extremely well. They look goofy and most racing bodies will insist that you at least wear FR socks (I always do anyway when racing) and some won't allow them at all but they are as good as or better than any driving shoes I've yet tried. I have been using them the past three weeks and made quite a few laps in my Cobalt racer and my drag car as well as dusted off my Trans Am on the street and have found the Chucks to work well in all these applications. If you wanna know if these shoes made me faster,the answer is yes.

The wide upper sole and much narrower heel section lend themselves well to heel-toe downshifts and quick footwork. I've found that even with the goofy pedal arrangements of the Trans Am,I'm able to get a quick throttle blip and full brake pedal application without much effort. I found the size that worked best for me was a 12,which is one size smaller than I normally wear. My Chucks stretched a bit but have settled nicely and the asking price of $26.00(on sale at JCPenny) was right on. I've ordered a few pairs of custom Chucks in the Beltfeed Racing colors and look forward to looking good and driving faster with them. Note that only the classic Chuck Taylors still have the really flexible soles and that the hightops have better ankle support.

Phil and Mike wanted me to clearly state that they both have uniform and shoe sponshorship deals and that neither of them endorses use of shoes other than those they are sponsored by. OK .......... Also note that I own no Nike,Converse or GHD partners stock. I also had a previous minor sponsorship deal with a vendor that provided me with free Simpson and Puma driving shoes. That deal was cancelled due to my not participating at national events as agreed upon. The shoes were fine and the vendor was really nice to me.

BTW,that Oakley link shows the new style shoes,mine look a lot different and I bought them from a vendor at a race.
post #2 of 10
Well, thanks from the driver's crowd, Tuberoller, for the inside skinny. Are they only hightops?
post #3 of 10
I do notice that when I wear my Chucks, I feel more sensitive to pedals, and I do feel that I react faster to the brake pedal than any other shoe.
post #4 of 10
Thanks Fred, I think I'll have to pick up a pair.
post #5 of 10
I have 4 pairs of chucks myself, converse is definately my favorite shoe company. I saw a website once that listed all the activities chucks are suited for- it was extensive to say the least. Apparently they are some of the best boating shoes as well.
Other popular choices for driving are wrestling shoes, drumming shoes, and no shoes. Then again they make all variety of actual "racing" shoes, too.
post #6 of 10
Chucks are a fav with the road crews the tour with big bands on the concert thing. when your walking on a cat walk 50ft up and have a 2 foot width for your feet you want the closets shoe out there!

some guys will swear by chucks

My fav pair was the same ones from sandlot the movie...the all black models!

I had probably 4 pairs in my life! and even the batman ones that came out.

for walking around they look funny with big feet though, like clown shoes only because they are so skinny.
post #7 of 10
BTW: the week after I bought my TT and was learning how to drive a manual trans I needed a shoe with a close outer to my feet.

I looked at racing shoes but they were to much money, then I bought a pair of chucks and used them while I practiced driving around with my TT.

LOL I never thought some others (esp reel drivers) needed something like I found..lol
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've only tried the High tops and I've been really strict about using specific pairs of Chucks for specific driving purposes. I use a pair that I've really loosened up for road work and I use a much stiffer pair for the drag car. I like how you can loosen them up with some dryer time,working them by hand and wearing them when warm. They tend to stay as flexible as you've made them and so far mine are maintaining the "worked in" flexibility without getting too loose or spongy. It seems that the soles tend to wear off the tread before they get too flexible in this application.

I use the Flame retardant socks that are available to Firefighters through departments. I can't find a web link at all but if you ever pick up one of the fire mags you're likely to find them. They come only in white,have individual toes and have a slightly higher nap on the soles which causes them to feel "tacky" when walking. They are very tall,extending up over the calf,are constructed of a very thin,silk type material and must be laundered with care(hand wash without detergent and line dried). I clued the pro-racers in to the FR socks to return the favor with the shoe tip and the racers love them. I expect that the company will be marketing them to racers soon as they have been selling very well. If I can find a link,I'll post it.

Walking around on hard or bumpy surfaces wearing the soft Chucks and thin socks can be downright painful and as much as I like Chucks for driving,they suck as everyday shoes. Sorry to the Chuck fans.
post #9 of 10
Yup, confirmed - Chucks are fine shoes for driving. Even better than Chucks, though, were the special driver boots as well as the boxer boots Adidas once offered - construction-wise these were almost identical, with the driver boot having a lower shaft. For more recent offerings, a lot of these newfangled sneaker type shoes with thin soles - like these, for example: http://www.kangaroos.de/de/artikelde...r=30303&fc=676 - work equally well. Or oldfangled relaunched ones like the Adidas Spezial - pic there: http://www.villageshoes.com/ad0272.html Well, almost equally well, 'cause the comparatively high rubber lining around the sole of the Chucks is really quite useful, when one steps out of the car right into a puddle. For those who'd prefer a more classic looking approach, I'd recommend to try the good old Clarks Desert Boots for driving.

Fred: So you've been to the Porsche factory in Leipzig as well? How did you like their test track(s) (plural, in case you did both off- and on-road training)? I was there recently, too, as Creative chose it as event location for the presentation of their X-Fi soundcards to the European computer press - and the leisure part was driving several Porsches, of course. Didn't try that myself, however, as my digestive system had a bad day on that day - plus there was a very witty fellow editor from Vienna there who didn't have a driving license and whom I kept company instead.

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini


Originally Posted by tuberoller
Walking around on hard or bumpy surfaces wearing the soft Chucks and thin socks can be downright painful and as much as I like Chucks for driving,they suck as everyday shoes. Sorry to the Chuck fans.
Hmmm, maybe that goes for the heavier folks - leightweight persons like myself usually shouldn't have those problems. Possible exception might be walking around a town with cobblestone roads on vacation for the whole day in older Chucks with their upper soles inside already trampled completely flat. And I'd also concede that Chucks are surely not the right choice as everyday shoes for those who tend to have sweaty feet.
post #10 of 10
I hate to drag up a topic that is so old it probably is covered in dust...

But I actually found this on Google to be honest and thought being a member I may as well add something.

Chucks are good for driving. I actually hate them with a passion, but quite honestly they are a nice shoe to drive in. Personally though I use Puma Speed/Drift Cats. I've found that they are the most comfortable to drive in.

Yet I also have a pair of Alpinestars Shibuya boots. I can drive a lot faster with these, and I have more control over the car, yet they aren't as comfortable to drive in, possibly because I am not used to wearing boots. But if you're using Chucks at the moment, these might be worth checking out. I've heard really good things about Sparco Pitlanes, Aplinestars F1s and Piloti shoes in general. But I havent tested any of those out yet...
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