LAST UPDATED: June 25, 2019
Best Driving Shoes: Top Picks For On & Off The Track
The best racing shoes and driving loafers for the everyday motorist
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON June 25, 2019
If you are an enthusiast driver, a good pair of driving shoes is essential. They are typically low profile, flexible, and come in an assortment of styles. An Italian man patented the first pair of car shoes in 1963, giving racers more traction on their metal pedals. This resulted in superior performance. Check out our driving shoe review for the best driving shoes on the market.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Driving Shoes
- They provide grip. The best driving shoes will give your feet more grip on the pedals. They help you control your vehicle better than sneakers and are necessary if you want to drive more precisely.
- They're convenient. Most driving shoes feature a slip-on fit, making them easy to slide on and off. This is advantageous if you have to remove them often or choose to wear them when you’re not driving (through airport security, for example)
- They're comfortable. If you're driving long distances, you should invest in the most comfortable driving moccasins. Whether you're taking a road trip or have a job that necessitates long days on the highway, a good pair of driving shoes will make a huge difference in comfort and relaxation.
- They're stylish. It's easy to make a driving shoe fashion statement. They come in a variety of styles, designs, and materials. You may opt for sport driving shoes, lace driving shoes, or the best shoes for driving long distances.
Types of Driving Shoes
Many of the best driving sneakers and loafers have a moccasin design. The sole and sides of the shoe are created with one piece of leather or suede that goes from the bottom of the footwear to the heel. This extended sole gives you superior grip and control when driving.
Instead of a single piece that covers the shoe's entire bottom, a split-sole driving shoe has two sections. One benefit of this type of driving shoe is that it offers you more flexibility than an extended sole and allows you to feel more of the surface underneath your feet.
Leather or Suede
The best leather driving shoes conform to your feet and provide airflow so they're less likely to sweat. If your driving shoes aren't properly ventilated, moisture can build up, which can cause your feet to be slippery and slide around the shoe, giving them less grip. Men's driving shoes made of leather and suede also tend to be lightweight.
Synthetic driving shoes are usually less expensive, easier to clean, and more water-resistant than their leather counterparts. They are a good alternative if you avoid leather for ethical reasons. Synthetic driving shoes can be made with a variety of materials, and some are better constructed than others. They can be just as comfortable as leather but are typically not as durable.
Based in Riverview, Fla., RaceQuip has been manufacturing high-quality auto racing safety equipment since 1975. The company designs SFI-rated auto racing fire-retardant suits, shoes, Nomex gloves, Snell SA helmets, and SFI and FIA seat belts & harness sets. One top product is the RaceQuip Race Shoe.
Cole Haan was founded in 1928 in Chicago, Ill. Its two headquarters are in New York City and New Hampshire. Nike Inc. purchased Cole Haan in 1988. Cole Haan produces men's and women's dress and casual footwear, as well as many other accessories. Two popular driving shoes are the Cole Haan Men's Tucker Venetian Slip-On Loafer and Cole Haan Men's Grant Canoe Camp Slip-On Loafer.
Ralph Lauren opened in 1967, and the company creates collections that are both timeless and modern. Founder Ralph Lauren launched the Polo brand with a single necktie and has since expanded his collection to include a variety of designs, including footwear. One recommended product is the Polo Ralph Lauren Men's Woodley Slip-On Loafer.
Minnetonka moccasins started appearing in roadside gift shops in 1946 when post-war Americans started traveling across the United States. The company, based in Minnetonka, Minn., produces moccasins, sandals, shearling boots, slippers, and more. One popular product is the Minnetonka Men's Original Cowhide Driving Moccasin.
Twisted X was founded in 2005 and is based in Decatur, Texas. With an initial focus on western wear, the company's iconic driving moc allowed it to create an extensive range of styles including casual, work and outdoor footwear. One top product is the Twisted X Men's Leather Lace-Up Rubber Sole Moc Toe Driving Moccasins.
Driving Shoes Pricing
- Under $100: You can find a decent pair of driving shoes for less than $100. They may be made of either leather, suede, or synthetic materials.
- Over $100: While cheap driving shoes may work adequately, you have to pay more for superior performance and for name brands. Driving shoes can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars, depending on the designer.
Pebbled or Rubber Nubs
The pebbled sole or rubber nubs on the bottom of slip-on driving shoes help your feet better grip the pedals of your vehicle. Pebbled soles are also more flexible than traditional soles. The rubber outsole also extends to the heel to protect the leather when the foot is on the pedals.
The best driving shoes have a thin sole. This gives you a quicker response when you hit the pedals. The outer sole should also be more narrow than regular shoes. This keeps you from accidentally touching the wrong pedal as you quickly switch from one to the other.
- Ease of Use: It can be a pain to change into your driving shoes every time you get behind the wheel. That's why they need to be simple to put on and remove. The best slip-on driving shoes stay put even though they don't have laces or other traditional closures.
- Comfort: The most comfortable driver shoes will have a lot of breathabilities and soft soles to cushion your feet. They should also have arch and heel support for optimum balance and stability. Flexible soles are also important, enabling you to comfortably put your feet in different positions when you're sitting behind the wheel or walking.
- Weight: The best driving shoes should be lightweight. You need to quickly use the pedals, and a heavy shoe will make it harder for you to press the acceleration, brake, and clutch (ABC) pedals. You want a shoe that will hasten your movements, not slow them down, so lightweight footwear is the better option.
- Mobility: If you need to quickly move your feet between your vehicle's pedals, you need a shoe that provides adequate ankle mobility. Sneakers and loafers provide more ankle flexibility than shoes such as boots unless the boots are specifically designed for driving applications. It's essential to have the ability to articulate your entire foot.
- Lining: The lining should be breathable as well as prevent your foot from sliding out of the shoe. In addition, a good lining will give you additional support as well as boost the durability of the shoe. If a lining is too firm, it will be uncomfortable and can cause issues such as blisters.
Best Driving Shoes Reviews & Recommendations 2020
These grippy driving shoes are 100 percent leather with a rubber sole. The shoes are a classic moccasin and feature a slotted collar and flexible, rubberized, nubby driving sole and heel protector. The hand-stitched moccasin has preppy cording around the foot that ties on the shoe's vamp.
These casual loafers stretch, have a flexible fit and are comfortable for driving. They do not need to be broken in. The rubber nubs on the bottom and heel provide a firm grip on your car's pedals, and they are nearly weightless. They have a lot of cushions and are comfortable to wear with or without socks. They are also easy to put on and take off.
One downside to these leather slip-on shoes is they do not provide a lot of support for walking because the soft, rubbery nubs on the bottom aren't designed to withstand a lot of wear, tear, and grinding on pavement. They also flex quite a bit when you put your weight on them when you walk. In addition, the shoes tend to run small.
These stylish Italian-stitched shoes are designed for driving as well as everyday casual use. They are a modern take on a classic design and are made of man-made leather with a soft microfiber lining and an outsole made of rubber. Included is a waterproof shoe bag as well as a 180-day warranty from the manufacturer.
The best thing about these loafers is that they are high-quality, well-made, and can be very versatile when it comes to when and where you wear them. The brown color is very attractive, the packaging is top-notch, and they are easy to slide on and off.
One downside is these shoes tend to be a little narrow for people with wide feet, so you may need to order a half size larger than normal. They may also sound a little noisy when you walk, and you need to cut the insole to fit your particular shoe size.
These racing shoes have a soft suede leather outer layer, flame-retardant Pyrovatex liner, padded ankles, and arch support. The Achilles flex opening in the back allows you to easily extend your foot for full-throttle action. The molded rubber sole rolls up the back of the shoe to provide extra support for your heel while driving. Also, the shoes exceed the SFI 3.3A/5 rating to protect against burns.
These shoes are comfortable, easy to clean, and are very economical compared to competitor racing shoes. The sole has extreme grip, and they make heel-and-toe shifting a breeze. They have a good pedal feel and are sturdy enough to wear while working on your car in the paddock. The strap holds the laces perfectly, they provide great support around the ankle, and they perform as intended while racing.
The shoes may be a bit stiff at first and may take time to break in. They are also very narrow and tend to run small, so you may need to order a size up for proper fit. In addition, they may be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Some report that they are a little thick in the sole, which takes a little brake feel out of them.
Skechers shoes are always an excellent option for drivers, mostly because of the great grip and comfort they provide. Made of canvas and suede, two extremely durable types of materials, these particular shoes offer stability every step of the way. They are also quite stylish and available in 13 different colors.
What you'll get from these shoes is a relaxed and comfortable fit. The model is slip-on and feels lightweight on the feet. The upper part is made of canvas, and it’s sturdy enough to withstand daily wear. On the other hand, the soft inner lining ensures breathability and a comfortable feeling. Although the size varies a little, Skechers' shoes fit straight from the box. You could consider getting half the size up or down depending on your feet type.
However, these shoes still might become uncomfortable when you wear them for extended periods. If you're looking for driving shoes that will also provide enough comfort for walking long distances, these are not the best option. The color also might be slightly off compared to the pictures. Each pair of shoes has a grayish tone.
Here we have another pair of Skechers shoes worthy of your attention. These offer a relaxed fit and superior comfort. They are lightweight and favored among drivers because of the excellent grip and quality materials used for the construction. The stylish design in four classic colors also adds to the overall popularity of these shoes.
The thing that makes these shoes special is a leather exterior and a synthetic sole. Drivers know how important it is to have a quality sole that would allow for a more secure grip on the pedals. With Skechers' shoes, there's no accidental slipping and discomfort during rides. Furthermore, these shoes have a cushioned memory foam footbed and a shock-absorbing midsole. That ensures comfort in every step.
You won't get impressive durability for the price, though. The shoes are well-made but tend to wear out quickly and are not protected against the weather. Water can significantly darken and reshape the material. The back of the shoe also lacks padding and is very stiff. The break-in period might take a while.
Available in many colors and made for daily commutes, these shoes are highly favored among women. They are made of high-quality leather that can withstand a lot of abuse and feature a synthetic sole for a better grip. On top of outstanding construction, these shoes are classy and match every outfit.
Along with quality construction, there are other reasons why drivers love these shoes. First of all, they are incredibly flexible. Feet can move freely and breathe under the leather. The material is light enough to prevent sweating and discomfort. Secondly, these pack in all bags, so they are perfect for driving and traveling. They won't take up much storage space, and you can bring them with you on your adventures.
However, you might want to get a size down. These shoes offer a relaxed fit and are quite wide in the toe area. Most buyers complained about them being too wide for their needs. The issue you can't resolve with these is the lack of padding. The Clarks shoes are comfortable but thin and not perfect for long walks and extended use.
If you're up to getting extremely lightweight shoes you can wear to work, while driving, and while walking around, Clarks has just the model for you. These particular shoes are made to fit different feet types and provide high breathability. They are ideal for summer when you want to get more freedom of movement and prevent excessive sweating.
These Clarks shoes are made from 100 percent leather and have a synthetic sole. Buyers especially love the flexibility they provide, which allows for easier tapping on car pedals. The footbed is also cushioned for more comfort, and double-stitching ensures these don't wear out quickly. On top of that, Clarks shoes are perfect for those who want a stylish yet classic design. They come in brown and two shades of black to complement every outfit.
The main drawback of these shoes comes from plastic soles. When Clarks shoes wear out, they become slippery on wet terrains. If you're looking for footwear that will provide a firm grip on snow and rain, these are not an ideal option. Another thing to keep in mind is that the outside gets scuffed easily.
The next top pick on our list is from Bruno Marc. These moccasins are designed for men and made from premium leather. They are not only incredibly comfortable, but also stylish and durable. With them, you'll drive with more joy and complement both professional and casual outfits.
These are slip-on loafers you can put on and take off in a matter of seconds. The material is lightweight and extremely durable. Because of the latex-cushioned footbed, you'll enjoy all-day comfort. The rubber outsole is also there to provide excellent traction on pedals and other surfaces. All in all, you can wear these in a variety of situations and show off with their stylish design.
You should consider buying a size larger than your regular footwear. These shoes are a little tight in the middle, and ordering a size up will solve the issue. Also, the product photos don't show that the back of the shoe is a tad bulky. If you want completely sleek and classic driving shoes, consider getting an alternative.
A pair of Tommy Hilfinger shoes is always a good choice, whether you're driving or sitting in your office all day. These particular shoes come in six different colors, and they are all up to date. The trendy design goes with every outfit and comes at a reasonable price.
We like the fact that these shoes are handmade with comfort in mind. The soft leather feels good on the feet, and the synthetic sole provides great traction. You'll walk with confidence and enjoy these shoes for quite a while. Thanks to the quality materials, they offer a long lifespan. On top of that, the slip-on design ensures an easy on and off.
The shoes do run a little large, though, so you might want to get a half size smaller. Choosing a smaller size is also smart because the leather is soft and might stretch over time. Another thing to consider is your application. These are not quite suitable for long walks and excessive use because they lack padding.
These shoes are one of the most durable models on our list. They feature 100 percent leather that can withstand challenging conditions and heavy daily use. You can wear Minnetonka shoes in any weather and enjoy its modern design and superior grip.
You can choose a perfect pair from two classic shades of brown. Whatever color you choose, the materials will provide comfort and durability. The shoes fit perfectly and are wide enough to let the feet breathe. They also have a patterned sole that ensures the extra traction you need while driving.
The biggest downside to the rugged design is the discomfort of extended wear. The leather is too thick and might rub the skin around the ankles. It all depends on your feet and how the shoes fit you particularly, but be aware that these are not comfortable for everyone. The other minor issue is with the laces—they are made of leather and won't stay tied.
- Do not wear sandals or flip-flops when you drive. These types of shoes do not have good traction and can cause problems when you hit the pedals. Running shoes are also not a great option because they have thick soles, and they can make it hard for you to feel the pedals.
- The best driving mocs are quite comfortable, so you may be tempted to wear them as walking shoes. However, some brands of driving shoes will wear down quickly because the toe box can scrape the ground and eventually tear, particularly if you walk a lot on city streets.
- Some driving shoes are dual purpose. If you're not a car enthusiast and you don't race, you can still wear them as casual shoes because they're fashionable. Also, they have an interesting history (if you're into that sort of thing).
- The best men’s drivers shoes are casual and are meant to be worn with a variety of outfits, including jeans or chinos with fitted tees, polo shirts, or button-down shirts.
- You can wear casual driving shoes with or without socks. However, even the best driving loafers aren't intended to be worn as dress shoes with suits or evening wear.
Q: What are the most important parts of a driving shoe?
A: The heel and sole. You don't want a sole that is too thick because you won't feel the pedals very well, and that can affect your reaction time. The heel needs to have enough grip so you can better control your vehicle.
Q: Is it okay to drive barefoot instead of wearing a pair of driving shoes?
A: Driving barefoot will give you very little grip. The problem can be compounded if your feet start to sweat. Driving shoes also add a little pressure, which helps you stop better.
Q: Should I wear socks with driving shoes?
A: It's a personal preference; however, you will have slightly less pedal feel if you wear socks. Also, driving shoes generally look better without socks.
Our pick for the best driving shoes is the Cole Haan Men's Gunnison Driver Moccasin. They are 100 percent leather and feature a flexible, rubberized, nubby driving sole and heel protector. They are comfortable, lightweight, and provide a firm grip on your car's pedals.
For a less expensive option, consider the Mio Marino Loafers for Men - Driving Shoes for Men.