What shoes do you wear to drive your Mustang?

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
I thought I would start this thread to share some knowledge acquired at High Performance Driving Events (HPDE‘s).
It may be useful to some and we may all have a bit of fun with it.

We’ll start with a question.
In order to drive a car, what appendages are most important, your hands or feet?

The answer, as explained by Jeff Lacina, co-founder and lead instructor of the American HPDE school “Track Guys”, is your feet.

No specifics were given that you have to steer or anything.
Just think of making a car drive forward 100 feet in a field and then stop.
Your feet control the accelerator, release the clutch if so equipped and press the brake pedal.
All necessary for the car to move and stop

No hands involved or required.
So with that explanation, we conclude that feet are absolutely critical for driving.

Now, what footwear we put on those feet becomes more relevant.

Good shoes for driving in, or driving shoes, have certain qualities that make them better for driving.
Here they are in order of importance.

1- They have a very thin sole to better feel the pedals with.
2- They have a rounded heel to make transitioning from pedal to pedal easier.
3- They’re light and compact to avoid clutter in the footwell and be easy to move around.
4- They fit well to avoid fatigue or strain.
5- They may have a bit of padding on the sides for pushing on pedals with the side of the foot.
 

2001BlackGTvert

Moderator
Staff member
Good points Al!! I just use good old fashioned sneakers. But I don't go to the track and ride hard so I would bet that would be different
 

Ohtobbad

Administrator
Staff member
Having done a few of these, funny thing is many don't instruct on this,
but very important as mentioned above. If every going to flip to racing
certain types of footwear and clothing become requirement.
Take a few cues from this.

Funny I would have though most important question ( not asked)
is your head :)

I have a few pair of Diesel sneakers, which are very comfortable.
leather tops, which safety wise are better than any fabrics.
nice flat, low profile sole and you can feel the pedals.

If doing any amount of this, right shoes, helmet, cloths
and for some gloves are important. choose wisely.
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
The thin sole, comfort, compactness and light weight make good driving shoes feel like slippers, but you should not drive in your slippers.
Those would be dangerous to drive in.
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
My idea here was not necessarily for racing or competition.
More general info for all.
If we talk racing then, fire retardancy becomes factor as well.
Was not going to get into that.
As Trevor says, leather, and cotton preferred to any synthetic fabrics such polyester or nylon for their fire retardant qualities.
Synthetics are like fuel in a fire.
They burn fast and hot.
Natural fibers, leather and cotton don’t.
 

Ohtobbad

Administrator
Staff member
My idea here was not necessarily for racing or competition.
More general info for all.
If we talk racing then, fire retardancy becomes factor as well.
Was not going to get into that.
As Trevor says, leather, and cotton preferred to any synthetic fabrics such polyester or nylon for their fire retardant qualities.
Synthetics are like fuel in a fire.
They burn fast and hot.
Natural fibers, leather and cotton don’t.
yes I agree 100%, but if doing fair amount of track time.
looking at what racers wear can give you ideas, for right street wear
to use. Even better quality helmet can make a difference.
Some really like gloves, some don't. Many things to consider.

If going for a day with me or Marc, we have the gear for ride along and great experince.
If going for a school or 2 less investment.
If you get the bug and do affordable fun lapping days.
small investment is well worth it for many reasons.
Safety, comfort and performance.
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
So I have two pair of specific driving shoes that have all five of the qualities mentioned above. Both pair are leather uppers.

First pair pictured are Puma.
Picked up at a footlocker store some years ago.

D994ED3A-98D8-4D82-9660-8A64B8E236F8.jpeg

Second pair are Sparco.
Ordered online.


8260AD8F-5F50-446C-B2FD-80BFD7BC69A5.jpeg
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
Once you try a shoe similar to these with a thin sole and light, non bulky fit, you will appreciate your driving experience in a whole new way.
You will feel your pedals like you have mever felt them before.
You will feel your clutch better when its about to grab.
You will feel your brake pedal like never before
You will be able to modulate your brakes much bette.
It won’t just be a “ON” or “OFF” experience.
You will feel more a part of the car, and the car a part of you.
You will be able to roll onto the gas in a much smoother manner, like was explained last week in the track photo thread.
Remember the light switch versus volume knob analogy?
It’s worth trying, even if you never go on a track.
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
I know most people don’t want to spend money on driving shoes.
I fully understand that.
So I will present some good alternatives that are way better than bulky running shoes or light hiker shoes.
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
First alternative.
Sketchers casual shoe.
Sold as a shoe to wear with jeans or docker pants. Available in all kinds of shoe stores.
Not an expense strictly related to driving.
Multi use shoe.

It has the first 4 qualities above.
No extra padding on sides but that is the least important on the list and the least important for this thread.
The sole is marginally thicker than the dedicated driving shoes but ever so little.
It is still a lot thinner than a running shoe.
B4CB1BB2-951E-4788-9C74-09C75B109772.jpeg
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
Next alternative.
A light hiker/walking shoe from Merrell.
Available at many sport stores such as Sportcheck or Source for sports.
A casual shoe that can be worn with jeans or shorts in summer.
Nice to walk in.
Can even mow grass in it.

Like the Sketcher above, the sole on this one is getting a bit more thicker but still significantly thinner than running shoes or heavier duty hiking shoes.
Still feel pedals pretty good.

This is where I draw the line at sole thickness
I would not drive with anything thicker than this at all.
0D01AD0A-300C-4A79-B578-B2A35EC08576.jpeg
 

SVT4MT

Well-known member
I still have yet to see a track, so my Saucony's are working well. lol

Like the Sparco's though.

As a newb question, I know its like anything else, you can spend as little or as much as your budget can handle.

But for the casual , entry level enthusiast......whats a decent set of driving shoes look like price wise ?

I mean, you can spend $150 on a pair of comfortable running shoes....like my Saucony's.

Like the Saucony's , I'm sure there's a hundred different models.......good thread, never considered driving shoes much.
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
Other alternatives that can be trendy and complement a wardrobe without being a driving specific shoe.

Two examples here actually slot between the Sketcher and Merrell above.
Lighter and thinner sole than Merrell but not quite as thin as the Sketcher.
Close though.
Here it’s more about personal taste and choice.
I’ve never driven in these types of shoes but the Converse was a popular driving shoe made popular by Steve McQueen in his day, and still is a very popular driving shoe today.

This Converse shoe is way better than bulky running shoes or hiking shoes.

B75B158B-6972-4C06-B97F-931F8C096218.png

This next shoe is a Lacoste casual shoe made to imitate the style of the Converse above.
It is popular with the younger crowd and wears with jeans or casual wear.
These are actually my son’s.
He’s had them a while but they are a good example of a shoe that is a good driving shoe without being a specific expense to driving.


D461AE67-BA7F-4AC5-B7A1-EF57EAD51B22.jpeg
 
Last edited:

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
I would not and do not drive a car, much less my Mustangs, with the likes of the following shoes
Because they are bulky and have soles so thick that they do not allow me to feel the pedals.
This causes a disconnect between me and the car.
Disconnected, the experience is not as enjoyable or as safe.

A typical running shoe.

653EF3DA-E484-4DDC-8784-A5F34B2E36A6.jpeg

A typical light hiker or approach shoe.

99486765-4BF8-4140-9049-688A40DEB0E6.jpeg
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
I would also avoid driving with the following types of shoes again because of the thick soles that further cause a disconnect between myself and the car.
The strap construction also poses a higher risk of entanglement in the footwell.

510C5E2D-C5B0-438B-ACA0-2130E938423E.png

A7CC4615-F9E8-436C-BC53-4B2703850BCB.png
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
Based on the criteria from the start, a tennis or court shoe such as the following two examples would be a better choice than the bulky running or hiker shoes shown above.

3F4250E9-A4B2-4392-9312-EA28D2D0988A.png

F139B2A4-5511-49B2-895F-8884DBFC7FB3.png
 

67 AGAIN

Enthusiast
I hope the above is insightful and helpful to some of you.
Happy and safe driving.
Perhaps the next time you get in your Mustang you will think differently about your connection to your car via your feet, and the shoes you wear on those feet.
Cheers! 😉
 
Top