Thought For The Day – Driving Shoes

We don’t do fashion here at Driven to Write. We are above that. But let’s take a moment to consider driving shoes.

The first pair of driving shoes I bought were bought by accident. They looked acceptable and, importantly, were very light. I still have them even if they are now quite wrecked. The great thing about a lot of fashion derived from sports is that it enhances everyday life. My tweed jacket has its roots in hunting but works very well when I need to sit on a train or go out on my bike to get a newspaper. I find that if I have to do housework a pair of running shorts and a t-shirt are appropriate. One uses a lot of energy hoisting a vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs and a great deal of gymnastics is required to get at all the dust under the furniture. Light clothes help.

What do driving shoes bring to the mix?  Not a lot and they come with the disadvantage that they leave your feet very flat on the ground since they have no heel to speak of.

Do driving shoes have a competitive edge at all? Any good pair of shoes seem to be as comfortable when driving as the specimens shown above. I think that driving shoes’ main advantage is that they are light but a lot of shoes are light, aren’t they? The modification of the heel is a statement of intent rather than a reflection of purpose and form in harmony. If you are not careful, you could end up with slip-on driving shoes which look mostly like the kind of slippers worn by bishops only brown not black. Why do bishops wear slippers?

I don’t think we really need driving shoes. Once you have stopped driving, your capacity to walk further is diminished, as with cycling clogs adapted for cleats. I don’t want my clothing to disable me.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

8 thoughts on “Thought For The Day – Driving Shoes”

  1. Try buying some trainers, sorry, I mean sneakers, I mean tennis shoes the next time you are in the USA. Often they come with a roll to the rear of the sole for the purpose of driving, because nobody there walks to the gym, it would seem.

  2. I have two problems with that proposal: I have no plans to visit the US at any stage and I don´t like trainers/sneakers. Both are personal to me rather than a general statement of values. For a long time I have not felt comfortable wearing runners/trainers/sneakers unless I am running. Maybe that´s why wearing driving shoes was a bad idea for me as well. I think I need a general purpose light shoe. Don´t we all?
    When I was in the US this happened. I asked my colleague where the nearest restaurant was. I asked was it close enough to walk. Their answer: no, it was too far. My experience: it was about 600 metres away, or a four or five minute walk. Correct, a lot of people in the US never walk very much. I like cars but look what they have done to a lot of people!

    1. I once went for an early morning walk in rural Kentucky. A policeman stopped and asked me where I had broken down. I thanked the officer and stated I was merely out for a walk. He looked at me as if I were insane.

      On another occasion I happened to be in Florida. Noting that a crazy golf centre (sorry, center) was situated a small distance along International Drive from our hotel, I suggested that we walk. Subjected to the fierce afternoon sun bouncing from the naked concrete pavement (sorry, sidewalk) and not a scrap of shade in sight, we quickly came to regret that decision.

    2. Walking in the US, seems all Europeans have to try it. I spent a few months in Connecticut, and when my car had to be repaired, I tried to do some shopping by foot. No footpaths and zebra crossings, as others pointed out. And what I remembered as short distance suddenly became quite a long trip.

      Was I glad not to have driving shoes for this…
      I never had, actually. The only point I could see as a benefit is that the soft and round heel of such a shoe wears the car carpet a bit less. But as driving usually only is a small part of my days, I’m really better off with a comfortable shoe for walking and sitting at a desk. Lightness is very much appreciated, as Richard mentions. In the end, I’d have to change shoes every time I get in or out of the car which for me only ever makes sense if I go hiking or skiing.

  3. Adidas and Puma (German brands both) make some excellent trainers for driving. Often they have some awful motorsport related branding applied, but are quite slim in profile and lightweight, with a rounded heel to the rear. Indoor football or astroturf trainers offer a similar construction without the heel. All are robust enough to be comfortable when out of the car, as long as you aren’t walking the Pennine Way.

  4. I think they might make sense if I was driving a Caterham where my normal Size 11s would otherwise embarrass me or worse. Otherwise I’m very bad with kit. I did let my partner buy me a reinforced motorcycle jacket once, but only because they were on special offer in LIDL. I had a pair of driving gloves when I was 17 but I sweated so much the dye turned my hands a very odd colour.

  5. Driving gloves are another piece of gear I never had and never found necessary. However, should I ever find a steering wheel in good condition for my GS, I seriously consider buying a pair. They might protect the wheel from my sweat and prolong its life for some precious years. Washing away an odd colour from my hands seems much easier to me than finding a 40 year old foamed plastic item in an acceptable state.

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