It's an oddly fun game thinking up inappropriate footwear for driving. Getting past the usual offenders like flip flops, wedged heels and slippers, there are clogs (no flex), seaboots (just no) and perhaps the worst choice of all, the geta (combining a flip flop and a clog will never end well if you intend on driving).
And without wanting to sound all Highway Code the correct footwear is important when it comes to driving but the fact remains a pair of proper driving shoes will supposedly give you better pedal feel and control as you drive.
The best driving shoes
Sparco Slippers SL-17
The best driving shoes
These lightweight leather shoes are the perfect way to enjoy your car more. The thin rubber sole is excellent for better pedal feel and the design of the shoe means it should remain comfortable while you wear it. Sparco is renowned for racewear and these shoes should be no different.
Chatham Women's Aria Driving Moccasins
The best value driving shoes
Moccasins are the definitive driving shoe for many. The simple construction and thin rubber sole suit spirited driving thanks to the great pedal control. This option from Chatham is an impressive option for its price, offering a suede and leather upper construction and pebbled rubber sole for better grip and comfort without sacrificing pedal feel. These are also available in a range of colours.
Sparco Slalom RB-3.1 Race Boots
The best proper race boots
These proper race boots may not be the most stylish, but if you intend to head to the track not much comes close. The upper part is made from suede with a leather insole for durability and comfort. The rubber sole is thin and designed to be resistant to oil and fuel, common hazards in a pit lane. While they aren't the easiest to wear casually they are our top choice for a race meet.
Sparco S-Pole Shoes
The best driving shoes for casual wear
Available in several colours, these fancy shoes are inspired by proper karting boots but are equally made for leisure wear too. It features a very thin rubber sole for greater pedal feel while a clever insole is used to keep the shoe as comfortable as possible over a prolonged period. The upper part of the shoe is microfibre to keep it breathable and your feet from smelling.
Alpinestars Tech 1-K Start V2 Kart Boots
The best driving shoes for karting
Karting boots are different to regular racing boots as they're designed to withstand the different stresses posed by karting races. They're still lightweight with thin rubber soles and a microfibre upper construction. They're available in a range of colours and are our top pick for any kart racing.
Gucci Ayrton Webbing-Trimmed Horsebit Leather Driving Shoes
The luxurious option
These leather fancy driving shoes from the famous Italian fashion house are designed for driving the fanciest cars in the world thanks to the pebbled rubber soles, iconic Gucci webbing and the distinctive golden horsebits. The perfect compliment to your Ferrari. Plus with a name like Ayrton, there has to be an implied motorsport connection.
TOD'S Gommino Suede Driving Shoes
Suede driving shoes
These luxurious driving shoes from TOD's are fantastically luxurious and are ideal for driving thanks to pebbled rubber soles but are a real inconvenience to own. Arriving in a dust bag, the Italian suede may look lovely, especially in dark grey, but it will be rubbish for wearing in rain. Certainly not the shoe of choice for driving an Ariel Atom.
Why would you want driving shoes?
Truth be told, only the most seasoned and honed of drivers will be able to fully exploit the extra feeling offered by a good pair of driving shoes and shave those seconds off a lap time but if you're serious about your performance cars they do make sense.
The thin soles make gauging the pedals easier and it affords the driver more feedback. That being said, if you also want to walk around in them we recommend buying a pair with a pebbled rubber sole.