I never really bought into the trend of wearing driving shoes on a daily basis. I mean a driving shoe is engineered for driving and not walking so they really aren't the most comfortable shoe out there. I became even more disenchanted with the idea after trying them on at shoe stores and having the sales person look at me like I was crazy when I asked if they were fire resistant. Apparently they have no idea that these are mere replicas of real driving shoes and probably considered me some kind of lunatic that wanted to walk on hot coals in a pair of Pumas.
My whole opinion changed last Christmas when my girlfriend was nice enough to buy me a pair of Piloti Monacos. For those unfamiliar, and I doubt anyone reading this is, but Piloti makes shoes designed as a compromise between a driving shoe and a daily shoe. At first I didn't necessarily buy into the Piloti idea. I have always thought that you can't make a shoe that is good for both driving and walking, so I had consigned myself to either driving in my Vans(which aren't bad shoes to drive in) or using an all out racing shoe.
My first experience really using the Pilotis came on a photo shoot with a GT3. I drove the car from Orange County, through some canyons and then out to Willow Springs for some track time. The perfect opportunity, I was test driving the shoes as much as the car.
As you can imagine, there is lots of running around and traversing different terrain during a photo shoot. I also got a chance to use the shoes for exactly what they were intended, driving in canyons and I even used them for hot lapping the Porsche at the track. They worked fantastically in every situation. I suspected they would be good for the running around during the shoot, but what really surprised me was just how good they are at the track. There is an amazing amount feel for a shoe that you can walk in gravel with and not feel like you're barefoot. The clutch, brake and gas pedal all had a very direct and connected feel that really was sharper than what I was accustomed to.
The size of the shoe is just about perfect also. I have larger than average feet; I wear an 11.5 in a Piloti. This is one reason I am such a big fan of the Vans Old Schools. They have a fairly small foot print for the size of the shoe. With your average sport shoe I tend to hit more than one pedal at a time. It is embarrassing to stomp down on the clutch and manage to grab half the brake pedal also and send your occupants catapulting forward; it's even worse when they are holding milkshakes. The Piloti is narrower than your average shoe, but actually wide enough to make heel-toeing an absolute breeze. Fourth to third and third to second was never so easy.
Overall I am extremely happy with these shoes. I never thought I would be driving a car like a GT3 and I would even notice how well my shoes were working, I guess that really says something about them. The shoes were purchased online from www.apexperformance.net and I was told the whole process was fast and easy, even just a short time before Christmas. Oh and by the way, they are lined with Nomex, so all you fire walking car enthusiasts are safe to mix your hobbies.