Best Racing Footwear: Hot Shoes for Hotshoes

Top 7 Best Racing Footwear

best racing footwear hot shoes for hotshoes

Sure, the last time you wore a pair of racing shoes to a party you were endlessly made fun of by your gearhead buddies. Hey, man, what can we say? They’re just jealous of your lap times, that’s all.

There is no shortage of companies trying to shill shoes targeted at the consumer looking to shave a few tenths off their best effort at Laguna Seca or Riverside. Whether one chooses to go with a pair that emphasises style or selects a boot that simply gets the job done, there is plenty of selection in this arena.

Here are a few we selected from Amazon, including two on which your author has spent his own money.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: PUMA Drift Cat Ultra Black Athletic Driving Shoe

Let it not be said that your scribes at TTAC never open their wallets. This pair of driving shoes are of the same brand and style as the ones your author occasionally shoves on his feet when rolling onto a closed course. I started to say they are these exact shoes but my pair are up in the hallway closet gathering dust until the snow melt in early May.

If you can suffer the indignity of wearing a BMW-branded shoe, you’ll find yourself walking around the paddock in a set of kicks featuring a rubber sole with curved heels. The logos are that obvious and their construction permits a good feel of the pedals. Fair warning: these puppies are narrow, so size yourself accordingly.

Pros

  • Low-key style, great pedal feel

Cons

  • Very narrow fit

Let it not be said that your scribes at TTAC never open their wallets. This pair of driving shoes are of the same brand and style as the ones your author occasionally shoves on his feet when rolling onto a closed course. I started to say they are these exact shoes but my pair are up in the hallway closet gathering dust until the snow melt in early May.

If you can suffer the indignity of wearing a BMW-branded shoe, you’ll find yourself walking around the paddock in a set of kicks featuring a rubber sole with curved heels. The logos are that obvious and their construction permits a good feel of the pedals. Fair warning: these puppies are narrow, so size yourself accordingly.

2. Goodyear High Top Clutch Racer Sneaker

Hey, the Goodyear brand knows a thing or two about tires so they should be equipped to figure out what’s important in a driver’s shoe, right? They are said to have layers of cushioning for comfort, paired with a maximum grip sole.

According to the seller, these racer shoes offer more car control thanks to a vibration resistance, plus arch and ankle support for helping prevent driver fatigue and duress. Note well: PU leather doesn’t refer to the smell. Instead, it stands for polyurethane, meaning it's man-made and not crafted from actual peeled cows.

Pros

  • Dandy brand name, rolled heel for pedal control

Cons

  • Scattered report of mismatched sizes

Hey, the Goodyear brand knows a thing or two about tires so they should be equipped to figure out what’s important in a driver’s shoe, right? They are said to have layers of cushioning for comfort, paired with a maximum grip sole.

According to the seller, these racer shoes offer more car control thanks to a vibration resistance, plus arch and ankle support for helping prevent driver fatigue and duress. Note well: PU leather doesn’t refer to the smell. Instead, it stands for polyurethane, meaning it's man-made and not crafted from actual peeled cows.

3. Alpinestars Men's Driving Shoe

This brand of shoe is worn and promoted by several prominent racing drivers, if you’re the sort who cares about that type of stuff. Even if you believe that those types of endorsements breed insincere recommendations, you gotta imagine professional racers wouldn’t scupper their chances to win an event by putting the equivalent of wood junks on their feet.

Reviews are generally positive, with buyers reporting that they are true-to-size, unlike other shoes on this list. A lightweight microfiber upper construction and what’s billed as an ankle guard is said to help provide that accurate fit. Mesh inserts should offer ventilation and comfort for those days when you’re tearing around Buttonwillow in 100-degree heat.

Pros

  • Width as expected, great looking boots

Cons

  • We’re getting into the pricier stuff now

This brand of shoe is worn and promoted by several prominent racing drivers, if you’re the sort who cares about that type of stuff. Even if you believe that those types of endorsements breed insincere recommendations, you gotta imagine professional racers wouldn’t scupper their chances to win an event by putting the equivalent of wood junks on their feet.

Reviews are generally positive, with buyers reporting that they are true-to-size, unlike other shoes on this list. A lightweight microfiber upper construction and what’s billed as an ankle guard is said to help provide that accurate fit. Mesh inserts should offer ventilation and comfort for those days when you’re tearing around Buttonwillow in 100-degree heat.

4. Simpson Racing Adrenaline SFI-Approved Driving Shoes

Like a couple of other brands on this list, Simpson has been making racing products for ages. Not limited to shoes, the company churns out everything from neck braces to seats. It only makes sense they’d produce a line of apparel, including driving shoes.

Adrenaline is SFI-5 rated, meaning they’ll offer a measure of protection should the unthinkable happen and you find our self in a flaming wreck. They allege to provide improved foot maneuverability in tight spaces. The outside is constructed of a durable satin suede exterior with toe, heel, and lace guard reinforcements. The inside is listed as being made from soft, fire-retardant fleece nomex.

Pros

  • SFI approved

Cons

  • Width issues, reports of spotty quality

Like a couple of other brands on this list, Simpson has been making racing products for ages. Not limited to shoes, the company churns out everything from neck braces to seats. It only makes sense they’d produce a line of apparel, including driving shoes.

Adrenaline is SFI-5 rated, meaning they’ll offer a measure of protection should the unthinkable happen and you find our self in a flaming wreck. They allege to provide improved foot maneuverability in tight spaces. The outside is constructed of a durable satin suede exterior with toe, heel, and lace guard reinforcements. The inside is listed as being made from soft, fire-retardant fleece nomex.

5. PUMA Men's Kart Cat Sneaker

We’re headed back to Puma for a moment because, you guessed it, this overly-exuberant and extroverted author has a pair of these things in his closet as well. I get the argument that it’s only people who don’t own Ferraris that wear these things - and I’m quite okay with someone (aka you lot) snickering behind my back about the shoes’ sheer audacity.

Here’s the real world skinny, though: they’re damned comfortable, even when wearing them as a sneaker to plod around the paddock or swill lager in the stands. The POWER and BRAKE lettering on the sole is always good for a chuckle and the rubber sole feels great. Again, note that these shoes tend to run much narrower than your average sneaker from Foot Locker.

Pros

  • Affordable, good for driving or pit walking, just LOOK AT THEM

Cons

  • Don’t forget to order a size up

We’re headed back to Puma for a moment because, you guessed it, this overly-exuberant and extroverted author has a pair of these things in his closet as well. I get the argument that it’s only people who don’t own Ferraris that wear these things - and I’m quite okay with someone (aka you lot) snickering behind my back about the shoes’ sheer audacity.

Here’s the real world skinny, though: they’re damned comfortable, even when wearing them as a sneaker to plod around the paddock or swill lager in the stands. The POWER and BRAKE lettering on the sole is always good for a chuckle and the rubber sole feels great. Again, note that these shoes tend to run much narrower than your average sneaker from Foot Locker.

6. RJS Racing SFI Driving Shoes

These things aren’t winning any style awards - well, at least they’re blue - but they do a fantastic job of getting the job done. Your author trusts the RJS brand as they are the folks who made my neck brace which has saved me from untold injury during any number of (sometimes self-inflicted) shunts.

Designed for maximum pedal clearance, these boots are said to be super lightweight without giving up much in terms of long term wear. The shoes are constructed with a high quality brushed suede outer layer and Nomex inner liner. RJS touts itself as “one of the last American companies still offering American made products to the world.”

Pros

  • These guys know their stuff, available in real colors, ‘Murica!

Cons

  • It’s a good job your feet are hidden while driving

These things aren’t winning any style awards - well, at least they’re blue - but they do a fantastic job of getting the job done. Your author trusts the RJS brand as they are the folks who made my neck brace which has saved me from untold injury during any number of (sometimes self-inflicted) shunts.

Designed for maximum pedal clearance, these boots are said to be super lightweight without giving up much in terms of long term wear. The shoes are constructed with a high quality brushed suede outer layer and Nomex inner liner. RJS touts itself as “one of the last American companies still offering American made products to the world.”

7. Piloti Driving Shoes

Look, we had to put Piloti on this list somewhere because when one mentions the words ‘racing shoes’, that is the brand that immediately springs to mind for most people. In some circles, Piloti is used interchangeably with the product, like Jacuzzi or Zamboni or Kleenex.

Not that Pilotis are easy to find on a certain retail website to which we are supposed to supply links. The pair listed here is offered in but two sizes but at least they are from the same well-reviewed seller. As such, the ad is light on description but you know the drill with this brand: a leather upper, curved heel, and a brand connection to umpteen famous racing drivers.

Pros

  • One of the best-known brands, a well-made shoe

Cons

  • Tightly controlled supply chain

Look, we had to put Piloti on this list somewhere because when one mentions the words ‘racing shoes’, that is the brand that immediately springs to mind for most people. In some circles, Piloti is used interchangeably with the product, like Jacuzzi or Zamboni or Kleenex.

Not that Pilotis are easy to find on a certain retail website to which we are supposed to supply links. The pair listed here is offered in but two sizes but at least they are from the same well-reviewed seller. As such, the ad is light on description but you know the drill with this brand: a leather upper, curved heel, and a brand connection to umpteen famous racing drivers.

FAQs

What shoes do racers use?

The shoes that racing drivers use must meet the SFI Foundation Inc. (SFI) and/or Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) standards.

While the FIA standard for racing footwear falls in the 8856-2000 series which represents the protective clothing for automobile drivers, the SFI standard is for the products that are not covered under the FIA series. In other words, the scope of the SFI standard is extended to a wide range of accessories that are specifically designed and manufactured for the purpose of driving.

When a pair of shoes is certified with any or both of the above standards, it means that the footwear ensures the following few factors:

Protection

They protect the drivers’ feet from flame injuries and/or heat that the racing car generates while driving.

Grip

They offer a decent grip on the pedals so the vehicle remains in full control of the driver.

Comfort

Although this factor is not much exaggerated and/or focused on, the level of comfort the racing shoes provide is still way better than what people get from the normal boots that are available at any random footwear shop.

Design

Racing shoes have such a shape that it becomes quite convenient for the drivers to work with the pedals, and move their feet wherever possible when required. The boots also ensure that the movement is quick and hassle-free.

What shoes do racing drivers wear?

Racing shoes are different from those that are generally available in the stores. Typically, such footwears have a rubber sole to provide a firm grip on the pedals of the cars. In addition, the overall material is resistant, and usually, the boots don’t have traditional laces either. Instead, they have Velcro to make the wearing and tightening process convenient and quick.

Here, it is imperative to understand that the racing driver shoes are not sold at any random footwear shop, and only a store that is specialized in such pieces of equipment is likely to have them. If a racing driver is from a small town, they might need to pre-order the shoes. However, an easier approach in these scenarios would be to conduct an online search and then order the racing boots that are manufactured by a reputed brand. They must also ensure that the e-store that they plan to order such footwear from is a trusted one so the drivers do not end up receiving duplicate material.

What kind of shoes do F1 drivers wear?

Formula 1 racers consider a couple of factors while picking the right pair of shoes for racing purposes. Some of these points include:

Weight

The first thing that the F1 drivers look for in footwear is its weight. The lighter the shoes are the better they will be for the championship.

Color

The second thing that the Formula 1 racers consider important is the color of their shoes. The color must be similar to what other players of their team use, and there must be no mismatch.

Comfort

This is the second preference as the weight and color are more important. When talking about the comforts, because the F1 footwears are to be worn for a short period, even if they are a bit less comfortable, the racers believe that they can adjust with them for a while.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: PixieMe / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Comments
Join the conversation
 2 comments
Next