It’s important to have durable, comfortable shoes while driving, especially at high speeds. Great racing shoes should fit snugly, firmly grip pedals and protect your feet against potential fire hazards. Two of the most commonly used materials in the lining of racing shoes are Nomex and CarbonX. The latter is more durable and resistant to fire, but also thicker, meaning it may make feet hot. The same goes for uppers made of leather, although ventilation zones can help. On the other hand, suede is one of the most popular upper materials for racing shoes, as it’s breathable, flexible and reliably sturdy. Many styles also have external toe reinforcements and underfoot padding for enhanced comfort and impact protection. And as for the shoe’s outsoles, they should be thin to deliver great grip on pedals for seamless transitions. Considering all this, we compiled the best models you can buy. Each has been lab-tested by its respective brand to meet or exceed SFI safety specifications.
For more than 75 years, Footwear News has been the shoe authority. Our coverage spans top industry news, retail trends, head-to-toe fashion, athletic and outdoor analysis and more. Footwear News’ global network of editors has carefully curated all product selections featured using our expansive brand knowledge and thorough research to find quality, long-lasting items. If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.
Watch on FN
1. Simpson Racing Adrenaline SFI Driving Shoes
This SFI-approved pair features a perforated suede upper, single Speedfit closure and low cut Achilles support.
Pros: They also include a fleece Nomex lining and heat-deflecting aluminized Kevlar footbed. A padded tongue and collar amp up comfort, while a triple layer anterior toe area and non-slip PU sole with Posi-grip traction enhance safety.
Cons: Some may find they could be a little lighter.
2. RaceQuip SFI Race Shoe
Exceeding an SFI 3.3/5 rating, this suede style features a Pyrovatex flame retardant liner and molded rubber soles.
Pros: Padded ankles and arch support elevate comfort and protection. For full-throttle action, these have a unique Achilles flex opening in the back that enables easy foot extension. Meanwhile, double-stitched seams offer durability.
Cons: They might run a tad narrow.
3. G-Force RaceGrip Mid-Top Racing Shoes
This style has a certified SFI-3.3/5 safety rating and features a full suede construction with double-stitched seams.
Pros: A fire-retardant CoolTec liner keeps feet cool while super grippy soles provide long-lasting wear and a solid pedal feel. Ankle padding improves the fit while RaceGrip insoles deliver arch support. These come in black, red, and blue.
Cons: Some may find them slightly stiff at first.