Some people drive to get from point A to point B. Others, however, drive because they love the feel of it – the open road, the feeling of being in control of a powerful piece of machinery, and more.
The latter group, the serious drivers, often enhance their driving experience with accessories such as driving shoes. Driving shoes are different from conventional shoes and the best driving shoes – such as the Twisted X Leather Lace-Up – make for a better driver.
What are the best driving shoes available today? We’ll explore that question while providing product reviews, discuss some driving shoe buying tips, and look at the difference between driving shoes and “normal shoes.”
Let’s start by checking out some driving shoe buying tips.
Table of Contents
Before you buy: 6 Things to consider when purchasing driving shoes
Make sure that the driving shoes you choose check all the boxes regarding several important factors. Settling for anything less can make for a purchase you’ll soon regret.
All of the factors listed here are important but perhaps none more than comfort. Comfort is king, regardless of footwear type, and several things help to create the feeling of a shoe that offers enough cushioning without feeling tight, too loose, or too constrictive.
Making sure the shoe has a quality insole is a great place to start when searching for the most comfortable driving shoes. An insole that’s soft and breathable (i.e, provides excellent ventilation to keep your feet cool and dry) becomes more comfortable the longer you wear the shoe.
A quality insole also includes a supported heel and arch that allows for greater comfort and helps provide good balance when walking. Finally, an insole’s flexibility is another important factor in determining overall comfort.
Fit and comfort often go hand in hand – or foot in foot, as it were – and few things are as aggravating as ill-fitting shoes. For one, you don’t want a fit that’s so loose that your foot can slip out of the shoe while driving. On the flip side, a shoe that’s too tight can be an aggravation when you’re trying to pay attention to the road ahead.
One of the best ways you can assure a good fit is by having your feet measured by a professional. Also, have your feet measured later in the day because they naturally swell as the day moves forward. A shoe that fits fine first thing in the morning may be a bit too snug when you try them on in the late afternoon or early evening.
Generally, most men and women prefer driving shoes that are lightweight and don’t feel as if they’re wearing small marble slabs on their feet. Look for shoes made of lighter weight materials; you’re feet will be more comfortable and you’ll be better able to handle long-distance driving without your feet becoming weary.
Driving shoes and loafers can consist of a variety of materials, including leather, cowhide, suede, sheepskin, even moose and deer hide. Or, they may have synthetic construction that comes in a wide range of materials.
A driving shoe’s outer soles typically consist dot-like rubber nubs that provide superior grip when pressing on the accelerator and brake and provide more precision-like driving overall.
Speaking of the driving shoe’s outer sole, it needs to provide essential traction whether you’re driving or walking. You don’t want your foot to slip when you’re driving or walking upstairs.
Style varies from person to person so choose accordingly. While design and style are important, however, you never want to sacrifice durability or comfort. Find a comfortable shoe that fits well and is durable, and then go about choosing your favorite style.
Next, let’s take a look at the best driving shoes for men and women.
The 11 best driving shoes for men and women 2019
Twisted X’s lace-up moccasin driving shoe feature an ankle-high design that sets it apart from many other driving shoes, including those on our list, while offering everything you need in a top-notch driving shoe.
Comfort is high on the list of the Twisted X Moc’s many attributes and the shoe’s handmade leather construction offers the kind of comfort and feel you deserve. The leather is very soft throughout the shoe and Twisted X handcrafts all of its moccasins and the extra attention to detail is duly noted.
The shoe’s ever-important slip-resistant outsole consists of premium rubber and includes heel pads that offer extra traction and support. They help keep your shoes and feet on the pedals, especially during those times when the soles get wet because of rain or other moisture.
The insole is another of the Twisted X Moc’s stronger features. It’s a one-piece unit that includes integrated composite shanks for optimum stability. The footbed incorporates moisture-wicking technology that helps keep your feet cool and dry, even during the longest road trips.
All in all, the Twisted X features a stylish, laid-back design that means you won’t have to replace it with a dressier casual shoe once you reach your destination.
- Handmade design.
- Moisture-wicking insole.
- Comfortable enough to use for long drives.
- Be careful when choosing shoe width.
A common word among wearers is “comfort” when describing the Twisted X driving moccasins. That’s no surprise because they’re as comfortable as any driving shoes you’ll find and will remain that way even during the longest of drives.
Serene is a China-based company that has a good reputation for producing quality driving shoes for women. Their cowhide Casual Lace-Up loafer does nothing to tarnish their street cred.
The latter offers what you’d expect, and demand, from a good driving loafer – from its lightweight feel and design to a rubber outsole that offers all of the grip, traction, and stability you need while behind the wheel and while out and about for casual summer gatherings.
Serene’s leather uppers are nicely flexible, supple, and conform easily to the unique shape and contours of your feet. They’re also easy to clean should you get them dirty; just use saddle soap or follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
The anti-slip outsole offers further durability and while it may not be best suited for long walks (or, at least frequent long walks) it should last you a long time with proper use.
The shoe’s design also makes it a good fit for casual occasions, and even dressier casual outings. You can buy them in a wide range of colors, including black, blue, beige, burgundy, orange, red, and pink.
- Very comfortable.
- Excellent, grippy outsole.
- Sizing may run small, so order online accordingly.
Serene’s Casual Lace-Up Driving Loafers have a unique look and overall design that help them rise to the top among the best driving shoes. They’re also among the most comfortable driving shoes around.
Durability, comfort, style – the Cole Haan Gunnison combines all of those things, and more, in a moccasin that easily rates among the best casual driving shoes.
Of course, good driving shoes start with the outsole and the Gunnison Driver has you covered with a grippy rubber sole that helps hold the foot steady on any platform – including outside of the car. It’s extremely flexible and not so stiff that your foot begins to weary as the miles add up on the odometer.
Meanwhile, the Gunnison’s rubberized heel also contributes to its overall efficiency as a true driver’s shoe. The heel features a protector that helps keep it from wearing out too soon.
Quality comes from 100% leather construction that’s very durable and that enhances the shoe’s longevity. The upper comes in waxy full-grain leather, or a hand-burnished croc print that helps to give it a rugged look that’s still well-suited for casual and dressier casual occasions.
Hand-stitching throughout also enhances the Gunnison’s durability, while a slotted eyelet lacing runs around the shoe and provides closure in the front. The latter helps to give the shoe a nautical feel which, again, makes it ideal for summer casual wear.
- Heel design includes a heel protector.
- Leather construction.
- Some wearers say the uppers could be more flexible.
The Cole Haan Gunnison is a classic driving shoe that offers everything you need in a shoe that not only looks good but is perfectly functional. You’ll like how they feel, and the level of their performance.
California-based Labato started by producing handmade leather cases but soon expanded into other product lines, all while maintaining its original craftsmanship. A prime example is its Breathable Slip-On Driving shoe, which combines function and comfort nicely.
Made from 100% cowhide leather, Labato’s driving shoes are soft and provide a plush feel to your feet whether you’re behind the wheel, walking, or standing. They have a durable anti-slip outsole that offers the traction you need along with plenty of cushioning. Simply put, these driving shoes feel good on your feet.
Interior comfort comes from a breathable leather lining that helps keep the foot cool and dry while providing the kind of cushioning and shock absorption that won’t lead to blisters, corns, and other potentially painful foot injuries.
Another plus with these shoes is their flexibility. They’re very pliable, while their slip-on design makes them easy to take on and off.
Versatility is another big plus with Labato’s Slip-On Driving Shoes. For one, their design makes them suitable not only for driving, but also for casual office wear if you so choose. And here’s the other thing: you can wear them as slippers by simply folding the back of the heel down.
No matter how you wear them, however, they’ll deliver plenty of comfort and cushioning, and you can pair them with a variety of outfits thanks to a wide range of color options – including red, black, brown, royal blue and green.
The Labato slip-on should also last you a good long time thanks to reinforced stitching.
- Handmade craftsmanship.
- Plushy, comfy feel.
- Some customers say the support could be firmer.
The Labato slip-on driving shoe is a versatile option for women and, thanks to its durable construction, won’t wear out anytime soon. Meanwhile, its grippy outsole provides excellent control on the pedals.
The Sparco company, founded in Italy in 1977 by two race drivers, is all about racing – whether that means producing driving shoes or other gear such as helmets, harnesses, and much more. Its first claim to fame was a fireproof racing suit that, at the time, could withstand fire longer than any other.
Sparco has a nice range of driving shoes from which to choose and we think their 00127011A model is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a quality pair of car racing shoes.
The 00127011A, like all Sparco driving shoes, features soles made from natural rubber that’s oil and hydrocarbon resistant. The sole’s design creates the ideal contact surface on the pedals and is processed in a way to create a unique texture that provides maximum grip.
Moreover, a unique heel design helps the shoe accompany the unique movements of the driver’s feet.
The Sparco 00127011A has a cool, aggressive look that features a suede upper, boot cut design, and a Velcro closure. It also features Nomex fireproof material; Nomex is a flame-resistant polymer developed over 50 years ago that’s used in a variety of products and applications, including racing suits.
Sparco also places a premium on comfort. That includes extra cushioning in the sole and a wide toe box. There’s also an additional comfort “cell” on the ball of the foot that helps to reduce shock and vibration.
The 00127011A is available in three colors – black, blue, and red.
- Superior driving sole.
- Cushioning reduces shock and vibration.
- Somewhat limited size range.
Sparco’s car racing shoes are a cut above the rest and favored by many drivers worldwide. They offer the control, stability, and comfort needed when driving cars built for speed.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, comfort is everything when it comes to footwear, including driving shoes. Jabasic checks the box next to “comfort” for all of its shoes, not the least of which is its Flat Casual Driving Shoe.
The latter consists of a durable, comfortable leather upper and has a soft, memory foam leather lining that offers the support and cushioning you need in a driving shoe.
An anti-slip rubber outsole is great for driving and for providing good traction when walking around when you’re not behind the wheel. It’s also a nice shoe to look as it features a moc toe design and brass detailing. It’s also available in multiple colors.
As its name suggests, the Jabasic casual driving shoe features a convenient slip-on design. While it’s a great shoe for driving, it’s also suitable to wear for other occasions.
- Memory foam footbed.
- Anti-slip rubber outsole.
- Casual but classy design.
- Sizing may run a bit large.
The Jabasic casual driving shoe is a comfortable, classy choice. It’s also versatile enough to wear in a variety of occasions.
Driving shoes cover the gamut from casual to racing to even luxury. Polo Ralph Lauren’s Wes Penny Loafer for Men definitely falls into the latter category.
Then again, Polo Ralph Lauren always suggests – and exemplifies – class and luxury and the Wes Penny Loafer rates among the best luxury driving shoes. And what’s not to like?
The Wes Penny Loafer features a classy, contemporary design consisting of 100% pure leather. The shoe’s construction includes superior flexibility and comfort, but also durability and sturdiness that helps to extend its lifespan.
Another nice feature of the leather is that it’s water-resistant and doesn’t require you to spend a lot of time maintaining or cleaning the shoe (which you should do to some extent, mind you).
The synthetic rubber outsole of the Polo Ralph Lauren Wes Penny Loafer is thinner than on some driving shoes, but that helps to make it suitable for a variety of casual occasions when you’re not behind the wheel. But thinness doesn’t mean flimsiness and the shoe’s sole still provides plenty of traction and stability.
The shoe’s classy design includes penny keeper detail and easy on and off slip-on convenience and enhanced comfort. But it’s a traditional, timeless look that pairs well with all types of clothing.
- Flexible, comfortable leather.
- Good traction and stability .
- Easy to maintain.
- Thinner outer sole may wear out quicker on harder surfaces.
The Polo Ralph Lauren Wes Penny Loafer has all the characteristics of a luxury driving shoe. But it also provides all the function and stability you need to operate your vehicle efficiently.
OK, when many people think of UGG they think of big puffy boots that to some are the object of scorn. The quality and appearance of UGG boots isn’t our concern here – and, hey, a lot of people like them – but UGG produces a lot more than just boots.
Take their Ansley moccasins, for instance. They’re cozy and comfortable for colder weather, just like their boots, but their versatile enough to serve as a quality women’s driving shoe.
For starters, the Ansley moc has a molded rubber outsole that provides excellent indoor and outdoor grip and traction, including if the indoor environment is the interior of your car. They’re safe and comfortable for driving and, as mentioned, will help keep your feet warm while you wait for your car’s heat to kick in during the frozen days of winter.
The Ansley’s upper, made from the highest-quality pigskin leather, is water-resistant while the shoe’s interior includes sheepskin fur that keeps cold air out.
Meanwhile, decorative stitching and the shoe’s excellent moccasin look provides a casual appearance that isn’t out of place in or outside the home. Even better, you have 12 color options from which to choose.
- Molded rubber outsole is great for driving.
- Keeps your feet warm and cozy during the coldest months.
- Check sizing – especially width – carefully.
- Check sizing – especially width – carefully.
Made for the winter, the Ansley moccasin is a great alternative to more conventional driving shoes thanks to its rubber sole that offers all of the grip and traction that you need.
If you’re a fan of, or in the market for boat shoes, then you’ll encounter the Sperry brand. After all, Sperry is ground zero for boat shoes – or, at least, the American version of the boat shoe was created by Paul A. Sperry in 1935.
But there’s no reason why Sperry can’t contribute something to the driving shoe world and their men’s Hampden Slip-On Loafer certainly qualifies.
Like many of the best driving shoes for men and women, the Hampden Slip-On Loafer features 100% leather construction. That makes it sturdy and durable, yes, but it’s also flexible and water-resistant which helps make it easy to maintain.
The Hampden features moc-toe stitching which helps gives them a moccasin feel and look, as well as a well-cushioned footbed that provides plenty of comfort, whether you’re behind the wheel or taking a casual stroll. The footbed covers the full length of the shoe and helps keep feet from becoming fatigued during long drivers.
It’s hard to beat the Hampden Venetian Slip-On’s robust sole that features non-marking rubber and utilizes Sperry’s unique Wave-Siping technology. It’s technology that reduces the stress placed on the user’s feet while also providing enough traction for an enhanced overall grip.
The Hampden also features hand-sewn stitching that will help you to get plenty of use from it before it’s time to buy your next pair.
- Strong, sturdy sole.
- Helps keep feet from becoming fatigued.
- There may not be enough arch support for people with flat feet.
The company that gave the U.S. boat shoes also makes great driving shoes, as the Hampden Venetian Slip-On so aptly demonstrates.
So, if you insist on driving with sandals – and many men and women do – then choose ECCO’s Yucatan Offroad Hiking Sandal, or something that compares very favorably.
Why? The Yucatan offers plenty of traction and stability thanks to an omni-direction rubber outsole that offers excellent grip and durability. It also features a safe design, as you’d expect from a sandal that’s capable of transporting you safely along most hiking trails.
Sandals are particularly comfortable during the summer when your feet can become overly warm in and out of the car. It features a sturdy yak leather (nubuck) upper that offers the breathability you’d expect from a sandal, as well as a stretch-fit material lining that also helps keep feet fresh.
The Yucatan’s direct-injected PU midsole provides long-lasting cushioned comfort, while the footbed features an EVA microfiber cover that enhances the sandal’s cushioning and stability.
Another thing many wearers like about the Yucatan is its superior arch support which, again, is a must feature for a hiking sandal. The sole is stable enough for uneven terrain often encountered while hiking, but also comfortable enough for harder surfaces such as pavement.
The arch support also makes the Yucatan a good choice for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, the painful condition involving a ligament that runs the length of your foot.
Durability is another of the Yucatan’s many attributes and reviewers appreciate the sandal’s longevity.
- Sturdy outsole design is good for driving.
- Stable and offers great traction.
- Excellent arch support.
- Footbed isn’t as effective for wicking away sweat.
The Ecco Yucatan makes it easier to drive with a sandal and have the assurance that you can do so safely. It’s truly good for on and off the road.
The Puma men’s Vedano offers a dressy alternative to sneakers, as well as a slip-on that’s good for driving.
The Vedano’s classy look comes, in part, from the leather and suede upper that helps it feel like a sneaker but gives it a smart casual look that you can easily blend with your preferred style. Comfort and cushioning come from a lightly-cushioned footbed and a textile lining that offers all-day comfort whether you’re driving, at the office, or another occasion.
A sturdy rubber outsole provides the grip and traction you need from a driving shoe while also offering non-slip protection.
A gored panel hidden under Velcro tabs gives you some extra stretch and comfort, while the upper offers the right amount of breathability to keep your feet comfortable throughout the day.
The Vedano’s low-profile silhouette is inspired by the motorsport world and includes a metal Puma cat logo for an even more modern look. It also comes with a hoop-and-loop closure that makes it easy to take the shoe on and off.
- Motorsport-inspired shoe design.
- Comfortable, breathable fit.
- Great traction.
- There’s a bit of a break-in period.
The casual yet sporty style of the Puma Vedrano makes for a great everyday look while the shoe’s design helps it serve well as a dependable driving shoe.
5 Tips for making the most of your driving shoes
Just like you wouldn’t wear basketball shoes or hiking boots for certain occasions, there’s a right and wrong way to wear driving shoes. The good news is that driving shoes are versatile enough to be worn with many types of clothing – and for many occasions – but keep some of the following rules in mind.
1. Socks or no Socks?
If you asked most fashion and footwear experts whether you should wear socks with driving shoes, the majority of them would say no. Think of driving shoes as “summer” shoes when it comes to style; many casual summers shoes are meant for sockless wear.
Or, you can wear “no-show socks,” those sparse type of socks that cover a very small area of your foot (and don’t show above the shoe). Besides, the bit of ankle showing will enhance the casual vibe that driving shoes provide.
2. We Repeat, Comfort Rules
Even if you’re not prone to take long drives, look for driving shoes that you can comfortably wear if you do hit the road for a multi-hour trek. The sole shouldn’t be too thick or thin, and allows you to apply even, steady pedal pressure.
3. Casual is Cool
Driving shoe pair with stylish casual outfits superbly. Suede drivers help to create a laid-back look that’s a certain summer hit, and you can easily wear them with jeans, shorts, and a basic crew neck T-shirt. If you plan to wear them in winter, replace the t-shirt with a stylish sweater.
Driving shoes also rule in smart casual events and occasions. You can wear with button-up shirts, a blazer and a tie, and even work well for wear during business trips.
While drivers aren’t meant for formal occasions – and with dress pants – that’s not to say you can’t try and rock that look, nonetheless. But you’re better off wearing more formal footwear with suits and evening wear.
4. Tis’ the Season
Certain colors pair better with certain seasons. For example, a driving shoe of a lighter color (such as beige, or light brown leather) looks great in the spring, while brighter color such as green, yellow, etc., work well for summer wear.
In the fall, brown and black are a good match, as well as during winter if you choose to wear driving shoes during the colder months.
5. Not as Walking Shoes
While we don’t suggest that you never let your driving shoes come into contact with anything but your car’s accelerator, clutch pedal, or brake, you shouldn’t use them often for long walks on surfaces such as concrete or brick. You’ll wear out the shoe’s toes quickly, as well as the rest of the sole. They’re great for wear during casual occasions in which you don’t have to move around much, not so good for sightseeing journeys in a foreign city.
What’s the difference? Driving shoes vs. Other shoes
A common question regarding driving shoes is, “Why shouldn’t I wear my regular shoes for driving?” Considering that many, many people do just that, it’s a valid question.
But driving shoes are different from regular shoes and do perform better for their intended use – driving. That is, if you want to make the most of your driving experience, then – by all means – give driving shoes some serious consideration.
What are Driving Shoes?
Also referred to as driving loafers, or drivers, driving shoes a slip-on shoes that feature dot-like rubber nubs on the toe and heel counter. The shoe’s upper may include tassels, a lace-up design, or a variety of other adornments.
The bottom line is that the design of driving shoes makes for an easier flow of movement between your shoes and the pedals of a car.
The first shoe built strictly for driving – not the kind that professional race drivers wear which are, among other things, anti-flammable – came from an Italian company in 1963. The shoe was intended for men who could afford to replace their regular shoes with another pair for driving only.
Today’s driving shoes aren’t intended only for men of wealth and taste, however. They’re available in a wide range of prices, while they remain an excellent replacement for normal and larger shoes that become a bit cumbersome for driving.
Most driving shoes have a moccasin-like design. The difference between drivers and regular hard-sole moccasins lies in either shoe’s sole; hard-sole moc soles consist of hard rubber or crepe that you can wear on all types of surfaces. The soles help to protect your feet from uneven terrain, rocks, and even water.
Soft Sole Moccasins
Most soft-sole moccasins fall into loafer or house shoe categories. They’re meant for indoor use primarily because of their natural leather sole, but are OK for outdoor use as long as the climate and conditions are ideal. Also, soft sole moccasins don’t provide a lot of traction (less than driving shoes and hard-sole mocs) so it’s not advisable to wear them on slippery surfaces.
Driving Shoes vs. All the Rest
There are obvious differences between a driving shoe design and, say, a men’s oxford or woman’s high heel shoe. The difference is evident in the sole – again, driving shoes have a distinctive sole designed to interact efficiently with the pedals of your car – but also in the more casual design.
On that note, avoid driving with heels whenever possible. They don’t provide nearly the touch and feel your feet need when operating a car while, worse, the heels can catch or even block the pedals. Safety first!
How we chose these shoes for our review
When choosing the best driving shoes for our list, it generally came down to three things – function, comfort, and grip. You could add “traction” to the grip category because it’s basically the same thing, but the bottom line is that your driving shoe remains stables on your car’s pedals as you drive.
Comfort comes from a lot of factors, both found in the interior and exterior of the shoe, and helps keep foot fatigue at bay as you spend long hours behind the wheel. Function relates to not only how a shoe performs, but also how it’s built. A driving shoe’s construction, especially on the outsole, is different from a conventional shoe, and helps it perform its intended task (driving).
Other considerations included price and style. Regarding style, many men and women wear their driving shoes for other occasions outside of driving, so we kept in mind that many of the shoes we looked at could also serve a fashion function, albeit casual.
Driving shoes have come way over the years and represent a style choice for many people who also love how they enhance the driving experience. The chances of finding a driving shoe that best fits your style and needs are better than ever.
How about you? Do you wear driving shoes? What’s your favorite shoe? As always, we welcome your feedback, suggestions, and insight.