The Motoring Club Owner Michael Rapetti Reveals the Best — and Worst — Sneakers to Drive In

For FN’s latest cover, G-Eazy led a conversation with Jeff Staple at The Motoring Club in Southern California, a co-working space for car enthusiasts. While the rap superstar and the design icon are widely recognized as diehard sneakerheads, Michael Rapetti, owner of The Motoring Club, is also no slouch when it comes to kicks.

As photographer Justin Bettman snapped shots of G-Eazy and Staple surrounded by the dream automobiles of car aficionados everywhere, Rapetti walked The Motoring Club floor in the Nike Air Max 1 “Safari,” a silhouette he admitted is an all-time favorite.

Rapetti opened The Motoring Club in Marina del Rey in 2019, after leaving a career in big tech that he admitted burned him out. The Motoring Club, he explained, is the result of no longer wanting to sell online products and, instead, hoping to create a welcoming physical space — and with it a community.

“The concept of this was a casual, everyday hangout for people who are into cars, but without the stuffiness of a traditional car club,” Rapetti told FN. “At the heart of it, we’re a social club for car enthusiasts. Members pay a reasonable monthly rate, and the goal was to keep it like a gym membership, something where we could have a variety of people, ages, backgrounds and make it more inclusive than a place with a higher price point and a smaller community.”

Looking ahead, Rapetti said he’s working on a second location in Santa Monica. The space, which is slated to open in September or October, will feature a full coffee shop and retail experience. He will then expand out of state in 2023 and 2024, with plans to open in New York.

Below, Rapetti offers FN a look into his footwear collection.

The Motoring Club Michael Rapetti
The Motoring Club owner Michael Rapetti in the Nike Air Max 90 “Infrared.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Shaun Maluga

How many pairs I own:

“Probably around 100.”

Closet balance:

“It’s like 80% sneakers. The remaining 20% are Chelsea boots, some cowboy boots, some loafers. It’s funny, I wear them 0% of the time because I now work in a casual environment and live in L.A.”

Most expensive pair I own:

“Jordan 1 ‘Chicago,’ the 2015 release. I looked recently, the price is at, like, $2,000. I probably paid $500 or $600. I love the hunt, and I love like buying things at retail, so I have a cap. If the resale is higher than x, I’m not going to do it. For the 1s, that broke the cap.”

Least expensive pair I own:

“Vans Slip-Ons. I love them. They’re comfortable. Those are my kickers.”

Where I buy my shoes:

“SNKRS app, Undefeated and StockX.”

Most comfortable pair:

“[Nike] Huaraches. I just got the new tan, blue and orange ones, like the OG ACG ‘Mowabb.’”

Least comfortable pair:

“I love Reebok Pumps, but they’re the least comfortable just because there’s zero ventilation. You get sweaty in them.”

Favorite shoes to drive in:

“Flyknit Racers. Nike needs to bring them back.”

Least favorite to drive in:

“Any pair of Jordans because I’m worried about creasing them.”

Favorite shoes to wear at The Motoring Club:

“Nike Air Max 1s. Growing up, they didn’t make children’s versions, and when these came out they were so cool. I’ve always lusted after them, and since I’ve been able to buy them, they’ve been my go-to sneaker.”

Most commonly seen at The Motoring Club:

“Vans. It’s a California thing. You see them everywhere.”

Most regrettable shoe purchase:

“The Air Max 1 x Clots. I never tried them on, and they’re obviously unique with the clear toe box. I bought them and then A) they started selling for under retail, and then B) I tried them on and I was like, ‘I look so dumb in them.’ Now, they’re just in the box.”

Favorite trend of today:

“Just that sneakers are becoming more ingrained in fashion. Years ago, I would always convince people that it was cool to wear nice sneakers even in a more formal setting. Now, you see sneakers being worn with suits, and women choosing to wear Jordans instead of Louboutins.”

Least favorite trend:

“Super chunky soles. I feel like every brand that’s trying to make cool sneakers, the soles are super chunky. Some Balenciagas are just so massive, and Kanye [West is] doing his massive boots. The stuff that’s just a little too futuristic, that’s the kind of stuff where I’m like, ‘I get it, but it’s just seems a little crazy.'”

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