Do you think about the shoes you wear when you’re sitting behind the wheel of your favorite BMW or other daily driving cars? Some people swear by having special driving shoes, while others will just wear whatever happens to be on their feet. Do you wear special driving shoes? Should you?
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What Are Driving Shoes?
First, what are driving shoes? As their name suggests, they’re shoes that are made specifically for driving — but what separates a driving shoe from a sneaker, sandal or penny loafer?
Traditional driving shoes are made of a thin layer of high-quality leather and a thin sole, which helps keep your foot in place on the pedal while allowing you to be more connected to your car as you drive. In appearance, they’re similar to moccasins or loafers and are designed to be worn sockless during the summer months.
These shoes first appeared in the 1960s, when drivers began to complain that their normal shoes were too bulky for them to effectively control their cars. Today they’re not as necessary due to the wide variety of shoes available for nearly every occasion, but they are still popular with car and driving aficionados.
Should you be looking for a pair of driving shoes of your very own? We’ve broken down some of the pros and cons for you.
Pro — Better Tactile Sensation
The thin sole of a traditional driving shoe isn’t designed to protect your feet from rocks or debris as you’re walking — it’s designed specifically to allow you to feel the car as you’re driving. Thick soles on modern running shoes take away some of that tactile sensation, making it hard to get the responsiveness you are really looking for.
Con —Multiple Pairs of Shoes
You don’t want to walk around in your driving shoes, especially if you opt for the traditional thin-soled leather style of shoe. They don’t last long if you’re walking around in them, though they can be extremely comfortable.
Some more modern driving shoes offer a thicker sole that is designed for all-day wear rather than just for driving. This way you don’t have to worry about changing.
Pro — Good for Air Travel
While they might not be good for everyday walking, if you’re heading to the airport, you might want to consider wearing your driving shoes. Not only are they easy on your feet, but they also slip on and off easily for security checks. They’re also not too tight, in case your feet start swelling due to altitude once the plane takes off.
Con — Expensive
Traditional thin-soled leather driving shoes are not a cheap option — even the less expensive models cost more than $100, with the more expensive options reaching upwards of $500. You definitely get what you pay for, though: A high-quality pair of driving shoes will last you for quite a while, as long as you’re not wearing them to the grocery store. If you’re looking for something to wear to get the most out of your BMW while you drive, it might be worth it to invest in a good pair of driving shoes.
Driving shoes aren’t a requirement by any means, but if you really want to connect with your car while you’re driving, ditch the tennis shoes. You won’t believe the difference, and you may never go back to driving in sneakers ever again.