On Driving Shoes

Everyone owns some sort of boat shoes.  They are everywhere – especially inland.  My experience with boat shoes is that they look clunky in short order.  While this is part of their charm – as described in the OPHB, driving shoes are a more streamlined, professional look.  If boat shoes are station wagons, driving shoes are sports cars.

Driving shoes are completely interchangeable with boat shoes – wear them with jeans, khakis, or shorts in almost any situation.  Watch how this simple footwear swap out matures your outfit exponentially….  Some options:

(From the top left):

1. Martin Dingman Osage Alligator Grain Driving Shoes in Cognac: Croc print – let’s call it the ‘extra sauce’.
2.  Tod’s Gommino Driving Shoe  in Tan: Extremely soft leather.
3.  Johnston & Murphy McKinnon Buckle Drivers in Cocoa: Call me crazy, that that buckle is a nice touch.
4.  Polo by Ralph Lauren Terry Ribbon Driver in Tan: Extra points for the ribbon.  Don’t wear a matching watch strap.
5.  Billy Reid Leather Driving Shoe in Brown: They already have a worn look out of the box.
6.  Cole Haan Air Grant Driving Shoes in Bark Suede: Suede.  Period.

What am I missing?



  1. 04/30/2012 / 8:53 AM

    You’re definitely missing the elusive H.S. Trask buffalo mocs. Company was bought out and went dark the past few periods, but is planning a reemergence, hence keep a look out for the new lone buffalo models.

    Let’s also never forget good ol’ Cole Haan Country edition driving mocs, way better than the gunnisons of today.

  2. 04/30/2012 / 9:40 AM

    I had a nice long conversation with a shoes salesman (I believe it may have been at Perlis, but I may be mistaken on that one), where I learned that driving shoes are for driving and nothing else. Apparently, the upper wraps around to the bottom and it is not designed to come into frequent contact with materials like concrete or rocks. Essentially walking damages them. Furthermore, since the bottom is typically the same piece of leather as the upper, repairing these shoes is rarely possible. The short of it:

    Driving shoes are meant to be kept in the car. Put them on when you get in, take them off when you get out. Because of this, I opted instead for a simple pair of loafers with a sleek look (http://www.johnstonmurphy.com/product.aspx?c=1216&sc=1216&pid=74710)

  3. Jeffzx9
    04/30/2012 / 9:46 AM

    Driving shoes tell me their owner doesn’t change his own oil.

  4. Jeff
    04/30/2012 / 9:55 AM

    Off topic but I half expected to see a post on Jason Dufner this morning- Auburn alum, first time PGA Tour winner, and soon to be married!

  5. Dave H.
    04/30/2012 / 10:12 AM

    I agree that most aren’t practical for daily wear; I have these (http://www.colehaan.com/colehaan/catalog/product.jsp?catId=100&productId=528710&productGroup=255718) and wear them to the office on many casual Fridays.

    Within a few weeks of walking to and from the parking lot, the leather just below the front toe on both shoes started to scrape, and is now on the verge of wearing through.

    I’ll be buying another pair strictly for driving, and something else for “the look,” but with a little more ruggedly engineered sole. Those J&Ms look like a pretty sweet option…

  6. I V...since 1906
    04/30/2012 / 11:07 AM

    I love my Ferragamo’s. They are a dark brown pebbled leather. My only complaint is once I park the car, they offer almost no support for my feet while walking. Yeah, the look is hawt, but the functionality…meh. Consequently, I have some Ferragamo suede tassel loafers riding shotgun when I wear them. Nothing looks worse than a brutha complaining about “how these shoes are killing my feet!” OK, almost nothing. Perfect for wearing while profiling next to my vintage BMW at car shows…just don’t ask me to walk over and see YOUR car.

  7. Mike Wingert
    04/30/2012 / 12:28 PM

    Driving shoes are of course just a silly fashion thing to be worn from car into bar and must be treated thus. Plain ones from Tods are terribly smart with be-ribboned types clearly trying too hard to be noticed to be taken seriously. Remember, less is more.

  8. 04/30/2012 / 7:45 PM

    I likes me a good pair of sockless mocs. We some driving fools down here in Texas so they come in real handy. Mine are Church’s… got ’em on L St., D.C. Was a grad student. Didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Old man in the shop sold ’em to me half-off. I woulda paid double. They’re beat to hell but suede and English-made and they’ll wear alright ’til my toes touch the pedals.

  9. Kyle
    04/30/2012 / 8:18 PM

    I just replaced my J&M Hembry Penny drivers with the McKinnon Buckle. Only thing is, sometimes I look down and feel the toe is a little square (something I didn’t really notice in the store) but they’re growing on me as I’ve only had them a week.

  10. 04/30/2012 / 8:39 PM

    LOVE THIS POST!! I hate boat shoes. These are great.

  11. Topsider
    04/30/2012 / 8:51 PM

    Driving shoes aren’t really for driving, folks. They’re basically house slippers that can be worn out of the house. Think Belgian loafers, but with more testosterone. Those who complain about premature wear are missing the point.

  12. EJI
    05/01/2012 / 9:12 AM

    Tod’s soft leather is awesome. Also, I like them because they aren’t as “thick” looking as other driving mocs. I have couple pair that I got when I was in Italy some years ago. I love them but they need some TLC. I wish I could send them off to get repaired.

  13. 05/01/2012 / 4:56 PM

    Topsider, I’m not missing the point.As your name suggests, you probably realize the durability of a pair of boat shoes. Thus, if you accept that boat shoes are durable, you will realize that driving shoes are not an adequate replacement.

  14. David Stu
    05/31/2012 / 12:05 AM

    Great posts here…. Tod’s are good, I agree. But the best overall pair of driving shoes were “the original driving shoe”
    They have lasted the longest. I think the brand is owned by Prada these days, so it should be a lot easier to get them herein US.

  15. David Stu
    05/31/2012 / 12:07 AM

    Correction: “the original car shoe” is the name…

  16. 06/06/2012 / 7:24 PM

    Those RL ones (#4) are great, have a pair and they look great with pretty much everything I own, nice article.

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