Ultimate Racing Shoes Guide

author avatarJoe Terrell
12/30/201930th December, 2019
Filed under Universal Guides

We’ve reviewed a vast array of essential race equipment in our recent guides, now it’s time to complete the essential safety kit with a pair of racing shoes.

racing shoes guide


In a hurry? Here is our best racing shoes summary

Budget Choice Drifted Choice Premium Choice
racequip mid top racing shoes sparco race 2 racing shoes alpinestars supermono racing shoes
RaceQuip Mid-Top Sparco Race 2 AlpineStars Supertech
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We often listen to what our supporters would most like to see featured in our articles here at Drifted, and safety equipment is quickly becoming a top priority for those of you that aren’t shy when it comes to testing your skills to the limit at the track.

Having previously featured racing helmets, steering wheels, gloves, and race suits to name a few, this time we’ll be exploring the racing shoe market to help you find the perfect product.

Although drifting isn’t often a particularly high-speed form of motorsport compared to some, unfortunate accidents can still happen, and it’s best to be prepared for the worst when they do.

Not only will racing shoes keep you much safer in the event of a fire, but they’ve also been designed to specifically provide the perfect feel and comfort to suit the needs of a driver that is potentially pushing their car to the limits at all times.

With drifting becoming increasingly popular, it’s now caught the attention of FIA, leading to the creation of the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Championship (IDC) and also with drifting being featured in the 2019 FIA Motorsport Games.

With FIA watching the sport so closely, it’s only a matter of time until safety becomes stricter than ever, which is another reason why now the perfect time is now to grab yourself some fresh new gear.

If you do plan to compete in an FIA event eventually, we highly recommend that you aim for the FIA-approved options on our list, of which there are several to choose from. If you opt for SFI-rated shoes, you’ll want to ensure that they meet the requirements for your planned future endeavors.

drift car interior shot

If you’re wondering whether you REALLY need shoes, let’s face it, the more comfortable you are in your race gear, the more likely you are to perform to the best of your potential. Bulky shoes often get caught between the pedals, where racing shoes are far more refined to achieve snug perfection.

With your feet operating half of your vehicle inputs once you’ve strapped yourself into the racing seat, there’s no question that your shoes play a vital role when it comes to proving your ultimate potential.

Even if you’ve never owned a pair of racing shoes before, we’ve all had ‘that’ pair of daily shoes which made us feel more confident on the pedals than any others! Remember that feeling, then multiply it. That’s how confident you’ll feel when you strap on your new racing shoes!

We’ve often found that it helps to wear your racing shoes whenever possible when you plan a ‘spirited’ drive. Even if you’re getting some practice at home on a racing simulator or carving the canyons, it’s always an advantage to feel as confident as possible when it comes to pushing yourself to the limit at the track.


Let’s take a look at our racing shoes selection

To find out more about any of these products just click on the product name or photo.

Alpinestars Supermono

alpinestars supermono racing shoes

Our comment: If you’re like us, you’re probably thinking, ‘Damn, that’s a good looking racing shoe!’ Alpinestars aren’t shy when it comes to producing some of the finest products on the market, and the shoes from their Supermono range are certainly no exception.

Commonly known for bringing their revolutionary style and ideas to the safety market, this shoe features their innovative new closure feature system, which makes them immediately stand out from the competition.

Constructed using premium materials whilst also meeting the FIA homologation standards, these lightweight and ergonomic shoes have been created using kangaroo leather and heat resistant Nomex internal lining.

Alpinestars are one of the highest-regarded companies in the industry, and although they’re not the cheapest in our list, these are quite possibly the perfect racing shoes and easily capable of dealing with the most challenging conditions.

Manufacturer description:This all new range topping race boot is constructed from a one piece lightweight kangaroo leather upper which provides excellent comfort and abrasion resistance along with perforations in the side and tongue for improved ventilation.

Internally the lining is constructed from tubular Nomex for superb heat resistance, reduced seams and further weight saving whilst the collar padding features nitrile rubber for increased comfort and further weight saving. The sole is extremely lightweight and has a special textured grip with micro porous midsole offering high levels of grip and feel on the pedals.


Alpinestars Tech 1-Z

alpinestars tech 1 z racing shoes

  • Manufacturer: Alpinestars
  • Colors: Red/White, Black/White, Black/Fluorescent Green, Black/Anthracite, Black/White/Red, Anthracite/Black/Fluorescent Yellow
  • Safety Rating: FIA 8856-2000
  • Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
  • Purchase link: Buy your Alpinestars Tech 1-Z racing shoes here

Our comment: If you’re keen to get your hands on some Alpinestars racing shoes but the Supermono above falls out of your price range, the Tech 1-Z could be the ideal choice for you.

With fantastic looks and an awesome selection of colors, the Tech 1-Z is one of the most sought-after racing shoes on the market.

These lightweight shoes incorporate advanced performance technologies and like the premium Supermono range, these are again formed with supple kangaroo leather, providing the ultimate comfort and durability.

Alpinestars have opted for a more typical adjustable velcro strap this time around with double-layer CarbonX fabric for additional flame-retardant properties and reduced weight.

Manufacturer description:The ultra-lightweight Alpinestars Tech 1-Z Racing Shoes are the perfect footwear accessories for competitive motorsport events. These racing shoes utilise a full kangaroo leather construction with perforated areas for enhanced cooling, whilst retaining a comfortable & textured rubber sole for unrivalled grip.

Featuring a double-layered Carbon-X felt tongue & nitrile rubber padding in the collar, the Tech 1-Z racing shoes provide an ergonomic fit & exceptional comfort to the wearer. A Nomex tubular lining is incorporated inside the shoes to minimise seams and provide exceptional heat resistance.


BridgeMoto Kouki V2

bridgemoto kouki v2 racing shoes

  • Manufacturer: BridgeMoto
  • Colors: Royal Blue, Red, Black, Grey, HashiMoto Midnight Blue (Special Edition)
  • Safety Rating: SFI 3.3/5
  • Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
  • Purchase link: Buy your BridgeMoto Kouki V2 racing shoes here

Our comment: BridgeMoto is an up-and-coming brand in the safety scene, and they’ve done an incredible job with creating top-of-the-range products with bargain price tags.

Their Kouki V2 100% genuine suede race shoes are the most popular in their line-up, and with this insanely low price tag, they’re an absolute steal!

Featuring SFI-approval, these will be great or those of you that are looking for great safety gear on a budget and don’t intend on competing outside of the US. These shoes are a strong contender for the #1 Drifted spot alongside the Sparco Race 2.

Manufacturer description:Choose between 5 color options in our professional grade, competition ready shoes. SFI 3.3/5 Approved and constructed of double layer Nomex for professional race use. Manufactured with premium leather exterior and lined with competition spec DuPont Nomex®.

New Kouki V2 model consists of upgraded Endoru Outsoles. Z-Rated slip and oil resistant tire tread soles provide ultimate grip and pedal sensitivity. Double Mid & Hi top straps for ultimate adjustability and comfort. Featherweight in design, reinforced with carbon-weaved composites and double straps for durability and comfort.


BridgeMoto Shoes

bridgemoto racing shoes

  • Manufacturer: BridgeMoto
  • Colors: Royal Blue, Red, Black, Grey, HashiMoto Midnight Blue (Special Edition)
  • Safety Rating: SFI Certified 3.3/5
  • Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
  • Purchase link: Buy your BridgeMoto racing shoes here

Our comment: The next offering from BridgeMoto is their traditional racing shoe, which incorporates a single strap design rather than double.

Once again crafted with a premium suede leather exterior, they’re also lined with competition-spec DuPont Nomex.

These featherweight shoes are another exceptional bargain for the money, but we’d personally opt for the V2’s share the same price tag at the time of review.

Manufacturer description:Manufactured with premium leather exterior and lined with competition spec DuPont Nomex. Z-Rated slip and oil resistant tire tread soles provide ultimate grip and pedal sensitivty.

Featherweight in design, reinforced with carbon weaved composites and double straps for durability and comfort. Shoelaces and double stitching are all fire resistant for added safety.


BridgeMoto Redline

bridgemoto redline racing shoes

Our comment: If you’re after something a little different, and have a keen interest in all things JDM, look no further than BridgeMoto’s ‘Rising Sun’ special!

Unlike the previous suede options, they’ve gone for a top hide smooth leather exterior this time around, with a unique yet stylish red sole.

Although they might not be to everyone’s taste, they’re certainly different! These once again come with SFI certification and feature double-layer Nomex protection.

Manufacturer description:Approved for professional racing and competition with Double layer Nomex protection. 100% genuine top hide smooth leather exterior. BM custom red antislip grip bottoms. Fire retardant thread and shoe strings – Adjustable Strap for optimum comfort.


OMP Racing First S

omp first s racing shoes

Our comment: OMP’s First-S racing shoes are perfect for the beginner, or someone that wants a pair of SFI/FIA-certified shoes from a highly reputable brand at an exceptional price.

These are crafted from an ultralight supple suede leather construction with inner reinforcement.

If you’re a beginner, or if you don’t spend as much time at the track than you’d probably like, you’re going to struggle to find a higher quality FIA-certified shoe for the money.

Manufacturer description:The First S from OMP is a lightweight mid cut suede race boot for the clubman competitor offering extremely good value money.

Made from Soft suede construction with soft knitted Nomex inner lining for comfort also features a handcrafted flame resistant moulded rubber sole and heel support ensures the best in safety and feel through the pedals. A lace and Velcro closure ensuring a secure and comfortable fit.


OMP Racing Tecnica Evo

omp tecnica racing shoes

Our comment: The OMP Racing Technica is one step above the previously-reviewed First-S in the OMP line.

This superlight shoe once again features a suede interior and is mid-cut lined with Nomex. OMP has really thought about everything when it comes to this shoe, and the 4-layer design of the sole is the perfect answer to providing the ultimate pedal feel.

Yet again, another extremely solid choice and also one of the most popular from one of the industry leaders with a fantastic price tag.

Manufacturer description:The Tecnica Evo from OMP is a super-lightweight, mid-cut Nomex®-lined boot with a suede exterior. The unique one-piece construction eliminates most seams and areas of overlap for an amazingly light and comfortable shoe with excellent strength. Soft stretch material behind the Achilles tendon area increases ankle mobility.

The sole features a new 4-layer design for comfort with excellent pedal feel. Available in Blue, Blue, or Red. All colors have white and Blue trim with Blue lining, sole, heel, and laces. European sizes 37 through 48. FIA 8856-2000 homologated for auto racing.


OMP Racing One Evo

omp one evo racing shoes

Our comment: The One Evo is a premium shoe offered by OMP, and this time they’ve opted for high-quality perforated leather with side ventilation, which will undoubtedly be useful for those long, hot days at the track.

With additional rubber reinforcement in the high-wear areas, you can be assured that these will be extremely durable and last for many years, even if you’re regularly hitting up the track.

Jari-Matti Latvala won the 2013 Acropolis Rally and took third overall using an off-the-shelf pair of OMP One Evo’s. That should give you a benchmark to work towards. Well, the drifting equivalent, of course!

Manufacturer description:The One Evo is a professional racing shoe that builds on the original mid-top OMP One shoe, adding features such as perforated leather sides for ventilation, rubber reinforcements in high-wear areas, and a lower top for better freedom of movement. The One Evo also has a new 4-layer sole for comfort without sacrificing pedal feel.

Jari-Matti Latvala won the 2013 Acropolis Rally (and took 3rd overall in the FIA World Rally Championship) wearing a pair of “off-the-shelf” OMP One Evo shoes!


OMP Racing One-S Evo

omp one s racing shoes

Our comment: As you’ve probably guessed, OMP has quite a range of racing shoes on the market, and the One-S is one of the finest in their lineup.

The One-S has been specifically designed to provide maximum support with minimal weight. This has provided an ultra-lightweight full leather construction that retains exceptional reinforcement and internal support, which is lined with soft-knit Nomex.

This is an incredible shoe, but it falls slightly short of the big daddy of the OMP range, which we’ll be reviewing next.

Manufacturer description:The One-S from OMP is a lightweight, mid-cut Nomex®-lined boot with a smooth leather exterior. Soft bellows behind the Achilles tendon area increases ankle mobility, while a Velcro strap keeps the shoe securely in place. The sole features a new 4-layer design for comfort with excellent pedal feel.

OMP One-S shoes were worn by winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona; champions in IMSA and Indy Lights; and winners of IndyCar, World Rallycross, and World Rally Championship rounds. These weren’t custom-made or “special-edition” shoes.


OMP Racing One Evo-R

omp one evo r racing shoes

Our comment: This top-of-the-range racing shoe may well come with a premium price tag, but those of you that aren’t shy when it comes to spending money on the all-important safety gear are in for a treat with this awesome product.

With all of the benefits of the previous ‘One’ range, the Evo-R also includes OMP’s revolutionary new ‘rotor lacing’ system, which provides a mix of stainless steel and aramid fibers along with a ratcheting knob to allow for the perfect adjustment to the shoe.

Not only is this the best performer in the range, but it also looks the part. An extremely solid choice worth considering for those of you that are looking at the ultimate gear on the market.

Manufacturer description:The OMP One Evo R builds on the original mid-top OMP One shoe, adding features such as perforated leather sides for ventilation, rubber reinforcements in high-wear areas, and a lower top for better freedom of movement.

The revolutionary new “rotor lacing” system consists of a very thin lace made of stainless steel and aramid fibers, with a ratcheting knob for precise tension. No more slipping knots or laces catching on the pedals!


RaceQuip Euro Ankletop

racequip euro ankletop racing shoes

Our comment: RaceQuip always pulls through with excellent bargains when it comes to safety equipment, and they’ve pulled it off once again with two solid contenders.

These racing shoes feature a suede leather upper with a Pyrovatex flame-retardant liner and Carbon-L Wear Pads on each side.

RaceQuip claims that these lightweight materials make their shoes 30% lighter than the standard alternative.

These are hard-wearing durable shoes at a fraction of the price of some of the competition. Despite their lack of color variation, if the styling suits your needs, you really can’t go wrong!

Manufacturer description:Our RaceQuip Euro Ankletop racing shoe has all the features you’d expect to find in a shoe costing much more. This new lightweight flexible design incorporates durable construction features like a reinforced lace area and double-stitched seams. The high traction molded rubber sole rolls up the back of the shoe to provide extra support for your heel while driving.

We’ve added Carbon-L wear pads on both sides of the toe for added protection and durability in the high heat/high wear areas. These shoes feature a soft suede leather outer layer that uses contrasting stitching and European styling to give the shoe a unique look. The liner is constructed of flame retardant Pyrovatex and has additional padding at the ankles plus built-in arch supports. The design also utilizes our unique Achilles flex opening in the back to allow easy foot extension. The RaceQuip Euro shoe weighs in about 30% less than a standard racing shoe. The design of this shoe perfectly blends light weight, durability, comfort and pedal feel.


RaceQuip Mid-Top

racequip mid top racing shoes

Our comment: For those of you that aren’t a big fan of the Euro styling above, they’ve also made the good ol’ classic American style for those of you that prefer a traditional look.

Amazingly, they’ve somehow managed to produce these even CHEAPER than the Euro shoes above, making them the cheapest shoe in our list!

Whether you’re a beginner, looking to grab a steal for occasional use, or even just looking for a racing shoe to use on your simulator at home then grab yourself a bargain.

Manufacturer description:Our Mid-Top racing shoe provides extraordinary value. These shoes feature a soft suede leather outer layer coupled with a flame retardant Pyrovatex liner and padded ankles. The unique Achilles flex opening in the back of the shoe allows easy foot extension for full-throttle action.

The durable construction features a reinforced lace area, double-stitched seams and a molded rubber sole that rolls up the back of the shoe to provide extra support for your heel while driving. Meets or exceeds SFI 3.3A/5 rating.


Sparco Race 2

sparco race 2 racing shoes

Our comment: As one of the most common brands in the tuning market, Sparco certainly needs no introduction!

This Formula D legal shoe yet again provides insanely good value for money, and could quite possibly be the ultimate bargain in our list.

Sparco has specifically created this shoe for the US market, which features a wider toe box for those of you that may struggle with the snug fit of a typical shoe, along with extra cushioning and an aggressive design.

There are so many bargains on our list that it’s getting out of hand, but this truly needs to be a consideration if your price bracket is at the lower end of the market.

Manufacturer description:Developed exclusively for the U.S. market, the Race driving shoe provides comfort and control. It features a wide toe box and an extra cushioned sole for greater comfort.

An additional comfort cell on the ball of the foot to help reduce shock and vibration. Stylistically, the Race shoe offers an aggressive design with a suede upper and a Velcro closure.


Sparco Top+ SH-5

sparco top sh 5 racing shoes

Our comment: With the first of Sparco’s mid-range offerings comes the Top+ SH-5 racing shoe, which is one of their most popular choices.

Crafted from high-quality suede, this features a pre-shaped memory foam latex inner sole for the ultimate comfort.

They’ve also incorporated a balance point at the heel for improved comfort whilst driving, which will be beneficial for those of you that are lucky enough to get a lot of seat time.

Manufacturer description:The Sparco Top SH-5 Racing Shoes continue to improve on Sparco’s original “Top” shoe design. Still featuring high-quality suede uppers, the Top SH-5 follows the traditional Sparco driving shoe appearance.

The addition of an ankle strap offers unsurpassed support, while helping the keep the shoe laces out of the way. The Texcon anatomic inner sole improves on comfort, while the narrow design offers only the best for your driving experience.


Sparco Cross RB-7

sparco cross rb7 racing shoes

Our comment: The ultra-light Cross RB-7 was designed with comfort as a top priority, and could be ideal for those of you that are after a lower-cut shoe.

With a genuine ultra-soft leather exterior, this once again incorporates the anatomic-preshaped inner sole along with the unique balanced heel design.

Another great shoe from Sparco with FIA homologation, which will undoubtedly be a solid choice for competing anywhere across the world.

Manufacturer description:The Cross RB-7 driving shoe is an ultra-light, comfortable design that offers superior grip and protection. It has genuine ultra-soft leather upper with an anatomic closure strap which gives the ultimate in comfort. Cross RB-7 has textured leather lateral protection for abrasion resistance.

The new light-weight RO1 anti-static and oil/fuel resistant outer sole features a unique heel design that provides more roll support in the driving position. The ultra-slim sole also offers greater pedal sensitivity. The Cross RB-7 has an anatomic pre-shaped insole.


Sparco Formula RB-8

sparco formula rb 8 racing shoes

  • Manufacturer: Sparco
  • Colors: Black/Silver, Black/Red, Silver/Black, White/Black, White/Blue
  • Safety Rating: FIA 8856-2000 & SFI 3.3/5
  • Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
  • Purchase link: Buy your Sparco Formula RB-8 racing shoes here

Our comment: The final option on our list is the King of the Sparco range, the FIA-approved Formula RB-8.

This top-of-the-range shoe competes with the best of the Alpinestars and OMP ranges and has been developed specifically with feedback from professional drivers.

Featuring a next-generation sole crafted from pure lightweight rubber, this mid-boot design also includes the option of speed laces, but also comes with standard laces if you prefer.

If you’re a big Sparco fan and keen to kit yourself out with the best gear they have to offer, then look no further than the RB-8!

Manufacturer description:The Formula RB-8 is an all-new driving shoe for 2016. The Formula RB-8 was developed using feedback from Sparco’s professional drivers. This development program created some unique features for the new shoe. The Formula RB-8 has the next generation sole made in pure lightweight rubber which enhances the pedal feel and is also anti-static, fuel and oil resistant.

The mid-boot design features a full ultra-soft calf skin leather upper with perforated vents. The upper has a Velcro strap closure and Speed Laces for better support and adjustability (standard laces also included).Another unique feature of the Formula RB-8 is the Achilles stretch panel for improved mobility and comfort. The Formula RB-8 has a pre-formed anatomic insole.


Our winner

To pick our winner from this incredible choice of racing shoes on the market, we looked at a number of criteria; price, quality, popularity, and design.

Our winner is the Sparco Race 2.

Based on these criteria we have chosen the Sparco Race 2 racing shoes to be our winner.

Sparco Race 2

sparco race 2 racing shoes

Sparco has been at the top of the game for many years, and you certainly won’t have to look far at an event to see another competitor representing the brand. This shoe brings some of the ultimate features on the market at one of the lowest prices on our list. For that reason, we feel that it’s the worthy winner of our overall prize.

If you’re on a budget, then you’re going to struggle to find yourself a cheaper pair of racing shoes than the RaceQuip Mid-Top especially with SFI-approval!

On the other hand, if you’re not shy when it comes to splashing a few bucks on the ultimate racing gear, which will also do the best possible job of keeping you protected when you need it most, the Alpinestars Supermono are an incredible looking shoe, which have FIA-homologation and have earned their spot as the ultimate premium choice on our list.


Thank you for reading our ultimate racing shoes guide

We hope that you’re now confident in choosing the right shoes to provide the ultimate comfort during those long days at the track!

Enjoyed this article? We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to provide the best products to get both you, and your car track or competition-ready, make sure you take a moment to check out some of our other recent guides?


Photography credits

We would like to thank the following sources for the use of their images:

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author avatar Written by Joe Terrell Drifted.com founder, motoring journalist and all-round car enthusiast. Read more about Joe and the Drifted team on our about us page.

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