Piloti Driving Shoes review – Footwear for the Thinking Driver

Piloti Superleggera FIA certified driving shoe

Who are Piloti?

Established in California in 1999, and now Canadian-owned, Piloti are an established brand loved by both professional racing drivers and car enthusiasts alike. The word Piloti is actually Italian for ‘drivers’.

The difficulty with the majority of driving shoes is that it’s hard to find ones that cover four bases wanted and demanded by us drivers; style, comfort, practicality and high quality. Thankfully, Piloti cover those points and more, and if you’re looking for a genuinely good pair of driving or racing shoes, read on.

Piloti equals comfort, practicality, style and high quality

The comfort

The range Piloti offer covers the bases for both the professional and non-professional driver, and whichever type shoes you want or need, they have them. Before I cover the wide range available though, a highly important feature is Piloti’s unique and patented ‘Roll Control’ heel technology.

Piloti Prototipo driving shoes in Charcoal

Roll Control has benefits for both the professional and non-professional driver, by providing spherical cushioning behind the heel bone – a critical pressure point for drivers. The Roll Control soles are designed to provide drivers with improved grip and feel, protection from heat and vibration, and to experience easier downshifts and pedal transitions.

The spherical heel extends cushioning up the heel & onto the sides of the lateral right shoe, minimising contact with the sides of the foot well, & preventing wear & tear on the driver’s feet, lowering pain and discomfort for those doing long driving stints, such as long-distance racing or perhaps an extended time on the road.

The practicality & style

Piloti’s shoes are meant not only to be perfectly comfortable for the car, but also for the street too, with comfort on some modes coming from a thicker sole, dual-density heel cushioning with an internal midsole. However, even the lightweight FIA-approved versions such as the Superleggera can still be worn in comfort outside of the car.

Piloti Campione driving shoes in brown patent leather

With a large range of Piloti shoes to chose from, they adequately cover all bases to suit the needs of drivers with different tastes and styles. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it’s often very hard to find driving shoes that actually look nice as well as doing a practical job, but with the Piloti range, this isn’t an issue.

In case you’re wondering if, as driving shoes, these will last the test of time, Piloti actually give their footwear a Polyurethane/EVA midsole for durability and long-lasting comfort. Interestingly, the sole tread pattern on the shoes is inspired by vintage racing tyres. How cool is that!

The high quality and range

Piloti have three lines of footwear to choose from: Luxury, Casual and Performance. The Luxury range includes beautiful and comfortable driving shoes – some of which are designed and crafted in Italy – using premium leather in finishes such as suede, nubuck, patent. These are the type of shoes you can drive in, before entering an exclusive restaurant, perhaps.

Personally, I love a well-crafted pair of shoes, and the Campione pair you see below are just beautifully made and presented, from the opening of the box – which includes material bags to keep the shoes in – to the rich odour of genuine, high quality leather and the wonderful detailing of the stamped and stitched sections. An truly handsome pair of shoes indeed, and they fit almost as a tailored suit would.

Piloti Campione driving shoes with Roll Control sole in brown patent leather

The Casual range has footwear thoroughly practical for track days, enabled with enough cool-points and practicality to be worn as an everyday shoe as well. The wide range of colours available mean that you could likely find one to match your car’s paintwork too.

With the Prototipo pair below, I love the combination of the suede and brighter sections here and there, such as the Piloti logo, laces and the vintage tyre tread pattern on the sole. I found them highly comfortable, thanks to thick padding on the insole, heel and tongue parts, in fact right up to the toe area. These are the type of shoes the need zero ‘bedding-in’ either, and are completely comfortable from the start.

Piloti Prototipo driving shoes in Charcoal

Piloti’s Performance shoes are the real deal – a genuine FIA certified and SFI rated product used by professional race car drivers, featuring a fire-resistant DuPont® Nomex® lining and thread, plus a lightweight performance sole with a slimmer profile heel for the type of tight pedal space you get in racing cars.

While they may be aimed at the pros, again they are comfortable and stylish and therefore can be worn as an everyday shoe. Noticed the Superleggera versions in the photo below are quite fitted and snug, but this give you the ultimate in pedal feel, perfect for heel-and-toe footwork.

Regardless of the fact they will certainly be used by pro drivers, I’d wear these out and about for normal use as they’re still comfy and the styling is great.

Piloti Superleggera FIA certified driving shoe

Whichever Piloti shoes you decide to chose though, know that you are buying ones that are designed and made by guys who are just as passionate about cars as we are.

Here are some of the range, with detailed images so you can see exactly the type of quality you can expect from Piloti’s shoes. If you want to purchase a pair from the excellent Piloti range, visit the UK store here.

Piloti Campione

Piloti Campione driving shoes with Roll Control sole in brown patent leather

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Piloti Spyder S1

Piloti Spyder S1 driving shoe in red

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Piloti Superleggera

Piloti Superleggera FIA certified driving shoe

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Piloti Prototipo

Piloti Prototipo driving shoes in Charcoal

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Product  Piloti driving shoes
Buy from  Piloti UK
 Range  Luxury, casual and FIA-certified Performance 
Prices £115.00 – £335.00

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies

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