A couple of Sparco racing shoes. Source: Speedway Motors. They come in a wide variety of colors, including red, blue, and black.
Quick disclaimer: by “racing shoes” we mean shoes to wear in a racecar. We’re not talking about running shoes here. Totally different thing.
Racing shoes are made for drivers who take their car on the track for hours at a time. It’s a tough and exhausting process—not just on the car, but on the driver as well. Even if you paid through the nose for a professional racing seat from Recaro or Sparco or something similar, it won’t do a thing to stop your feet from cramping up.
After a while on the track, your ankle will be killing you! Trust us, we’ve been there.
Luckily, there are some excellent racing shoes out there that strike the ideal balance between comfort and utility. They give your foot a firm grip on the pedal, provide ample protection against fire, and feel good doing it. If they keep your feet comfortably cool too, that’s an extra special bonus.
In fact, good racing shoes have a lot in common with good racing seats. They are both strong, durable, and comfortable, and both need to be made of top-quality, high-grip, fire-retardant materials. And really, what is a shoe if not a seat for your foot?
For some reason, racing shoes always come in exactly three colors: red, blue, and black. Some of the more expensive versions only come in black. If you wanted a green or yellow or pink pair tear up the track in psychedelic style, sorry pal. No luck here.
Depending on where you race and what the sanctioning body is, your shoes (like all equipment) will need to be SFI or FIA approved. All the shoes listed below are 100% SFI approved.
The 5 Best Racing Shoes
These shoes were selected based on a careful consideration of comfort, functionality, safety, and price. No matter what kind of feet and car you have, you’ll find a pair here that’ll fit just right.
Simpson Racing Hightop SFI Driving Shoes
The Simpson Hightop SFI Driving Shoes aren’t flashy, but they get the job done. Source: Simpson Racing.
These high-top racing shoes range from 4 to 14 and offer great comfort, flexibility, and safety. Just be aware that the sole has just a tad less grip than some of the other shoes on this list.
Some extra notable features include:
- Double speed-fit closure and fleece Nomex lining
- Triple-layer toe area for extra wear protection
- Additional reinforcements in the heel and lace guard
- Non-slip outer sole with non-slip, extra-sensitive polyurethane sole materials with special posi-grip traction.
- Satin Suede toe
- Low-cut Achilles support that allows for maximum flexibility.
Here you can see the low-cut Achilles support on the Simpson Hightop Shoes. Source: Speedway Motors.
They are SFI 3.3/3.5 certified and made of fully fire-retardant materials. You’ll never believe it, but these shoes come in three colors: red, blue, and black.
G-Force 236 Pro Series Racing Shoes
The G-Force Pro Series shoes are like tires for your feet!
These bad boys are available in sizes 5 to 14. The colors are (you guessed it) red, blue, or black. All the materials are fire retardant. A couple of neat features include:
- Radial grip sole with treads, which grips the pedal basically like a tire grips the pavement.
- Chamfered edging on the treads, which prevents catches during difficult driving. (A chamfer is when the 90º edge between two faces of an object is flattened out).
- Multiple tread channels on the sole that allow air to flow between the feet and the floor panel of the car.
There! Yeah, right there. You can see the chamfered edging on the shoes that prevent catches during extra strenuous driving. Source: Speedway Motors.
In terms of materials, the G-Force Pro Series shoes have carbon-fiber-printed leather. A set of hook-and-loop fasteners (don’t say VELCRO!) secures the laces.
Check out the little cut-out area at the back top of the shoe. Source: ONEDirt.
According to the guys at Speedway Motors, the Pro Series “was inspired from the world’s best high-performance tires … and will meet every demand of competitive driving.” As an added bonus, it comes in all kinds of sizes, “from children’s small to XXL.” Finally, the deep cut-out in the back was one of their favorite features of this shoe. “It allows for any movement or flexibility that comes with performance driving!”
One extra neat feature is that the back of the shoes has a cut-out space by the lower leg. This allows for extra flexibility of forward and backward rolling and rocking necessary for racing. These racing shoes are rated SFI 3.3/5. This cut-out design offers great flexibility, specifically the ankle region, and increases the overall of the shoe as you work the pedals.
Sparco Race 2 Driving Shoes
Source: Summit Racing.
There are a couple of fine Sparco racing shoes to choose from. We went with the Race 2 shoes seen here.
The Sparco 2 was developed specifically and exclusively for the American market. It’s comfortable, flexible, and durable all in one. The high top provides stability but never gets in the way of flexing your foot to operate the pedals. Some notable features of the Sparco 2 include:
- A wide toe box.
- Sole design made to reduce vibration and shock.
- Comfort Achilles panel to facilitate ankle movement.
- All-suede upper shoe and hook-and-loop fasteners
What’s especially cool is that the shoe itself doesn’t press against your foot on every surface when you wear it. It feels like a hollow shell. Actually, for all intents and purposes, the Sparco 2 feels like a rigid shell seat on your foot. Sparco is well known for their top-quality hard-shell racing seats for drivers of all shapes and sizes, so it’s no surprise that they’d produce this shoe to match.
According to the experts at Turn 4 Automotive & Performance, the Sparco Race 2 will give you “maybe 10 seconds of fire protection capability before you get into the second-degree burn range.” “Very good grip on the bottom, plenty of sole coverage to the ground … plenty of breathing room … these are the racing shoes I use!” As an added bonus, “these shoes are not real slippery if you’re just walking, unlike some other racing shoes.” If that weren’t enough, these shoes are entry level price, at only about $100.”
The Race 2 is, of course, SFI approved. It comes in sizes from 7.5 to 13. Finally, the Sparco Race 2 is available in—get this—three colors! Red, blue, and black.
One very small thing to watch out for: the laces are way too long. Make sure to use the fasteners to secure laces when driving.
RaceQuip Euro Carbon-L Series SFI Racing Shoes
The RaceQuip Euro Carbon-L Series. Source: Amazon.
What we like about these racing shoes is that they have a lightweight yet flexible design that incorporates a reinforced lace area and double-stitched seams. Other features include:
- High-traction rubber sole, which extends along the back of the shoe.
- “Carbon-L” wear pads on both sides of the toe, which provide additional protection and toughness under conditions of high wear and heat stress
- Soft suede leather external layer with alternative stitching and super-cool Euro styling.
- Flame-retardant Pyrovatex materials.
- Extra padding around the ankles to allow for arch support.
- Achilles flex opening around the back that allows for effortless foot extension.
These shoes are also surprisingly lightweight. Seriously, give them a try and you’ll be quite impressed.
They’re European, so they of course use European sizes. They’re available in sizes 1–20. Also, as Euopean shoes, they tend to be a bit on the narrow side. If you’re an American driver, definitely try these out yourself before making a purchase.
They not only meet but exceed SFI 3.3/5 rating! Also, they’re only available in black. Sorry.
Simpson Racing Adrenaline SFI Driving Shoes
The Simpson Racing Adrenaline SFI Shoe sports a pretty hardcore design. We guess that’s why it only comes in black.
Here’s another offering from Simpson that may be even better than the previous entry on this list. It features a speed-fit enclosure alongside low-cut Achilles support. Some key features include:
- Satin suede alongside a super comfortable fleece fire-retardant lining.
- Triple layer anterior toe area for additional wear protection
- Extra reinforcements in the heel.
- A low-cut Achilles support give maximum flexibility and comfort
- A non-slip, highly sensitive polyurethane sole that also includes posi-grip traction to keep you firmly on the ground.
If you’re considering these, just be aware that some drivers have had problems with the back of their foot while wearing these. This makes them less than ideal for 100+ mile racing.
These shoes are SFI certified and come only in black. That’s how you know Simpson meant business with these.