Can driving shoes be casual?
Can driving shoes disguised as sneakers blend into a weekend trip into the country?
In motoring journalism, the phrase ‘9-to-5’ couldn’t apply less. 4am starts and 10pm finishes can become your bread and butter some weeks, although we can hardly complain considering some of gigs those hours can lead to. With the industry constantly churning out stories every day and with change happening at a rate that has never been seen before, articles, videos, social content in general, all need to be created with sleep, socialising or holidays often taking a back seat.
Finding myself with some rare legroom with editorial deadlines then, I decided to go for a day out into the country for some driving, food and simply some relaxing time with friends who were well overdue a visit. And it was also an opportunity to try out some new kit, that being the new Pistone X driving sneakers from Piloti.
Wearing driving shoes is often picked up on by other enthusiasts, so I was interested in whether my new kicks would blend in with the day’s activities like a normal set of sneakers.
First stop, sim racing
The reason I treat sim racing as a hobby is down to Dani and Jaime. They’re two brothers that are obsessed with everything that uses two or four wheels, with that passion extending to the virtual world.
I wouldn’t be anywhere near as quick as I am on a sim if it weren’t for late night gaming sessions with these two, constantly trying to better each other’s lap times on everything from track-focussed games to the tree-lined gravel stages of Dirt Rally.
I normally just opt for a pair of trainers for pedalling a sim rig but while getting some warm-up runs done around the rally stages of New Zealand, these shoes noticeably amped up the feel of the pedal through to my feet.
Dancing a Lancia Fulvia around hairpins and taking the outside line after a shout of ‘don’t cut!’ from the co-driver, I was able to gauge the exact amount of throttle and brake being applied through every blipped downshift, every clutch kick and quick flashes between the pedals through the faster, fully committed esse bends.
If you’re into sim racing, you’ll know it can be tiring, sweaty work when you’re really concentrating. So it was off to the pub with us.
Thankfully, rural England is brimming with small local pubs and bistros, all serving that heart warming cuisine that’s simple but oh-so-irresistible. For me, it’s a cheese burger and fries which come with a scent that had landlord’s dog sitting at my heels, staring longingly at every triple-cooked chip being devoured. As long as he stayed clear of the shoes, he was welcome.
Coupled with a standard pair of black jeans and a DriveTribe tee (#represent), the Pistone Xs created a subtle contrast with their sandy colour and slotted into my casual attire rather well, if I do say so myself. With the last of the tomato relish dip polished off and a lime and lemonade downed, we decided to go for a jaunt into the countryside in my own piece of Ford performance.
The final test – the drive
I love my Ford Mondeo ST200 to bits and having recently got it back in mechanical ship shape, the country lanes of Hertfordshire were my first opportunity to let its 2.5-litre V6 open up.
Blipping the throttle in my car is a thing to behold, seeing as the engine was the rough starting block for Aston Martin’s V12. Above 4,000rpm, you can hear the slightest bit of DB9 in there, and having these shoes on my feet meant I could repeat that engine speed at every downshift.
While approaching a corner, I dipped the clutch and – using the perfectly-sized ridge of sole that wraps around the edge of the Pistone X – it’s easier than ever to blip the right hand pedal and match the revs on the approach to a corner.
The Pistone Xs give the support of a sneaker whilst also providing the feel of something more akin to a reinforced sock, allowing all the important vibrations from the engine, the transmission and the road to make their way through the specially engineered rubber sole to reach your feet and ankles.
Not only had these driving sneakers fitted in effortlessly with lunch and a gaming session with my friends, they had performed equally as well when thrust into action down a classic British B-road. Although some driving shoes and boots can seem incredibly ostentatious and vulgar, the Pistone Xs lack any brash branding or alien, race-focussed components, instead using subtle style backed up with all the tech that makes wearing them a benefit to all passionate drivers. Whether you're on an epic road trip or simply out to dinner, these new slicks should do the trick.
To get 20% off a pair of Pilotis, click the link below and use the code DRIVETRIBE20: