Driving Shoes Guide: Best Driving Loafers & How To Wear Them

Driving Shoes Guide: Best Driving Loafers & How To Wear Them 2018-07-12T10:49:28+00:00

Driving shoes, also known as “driving loafers” or simply “drivers,” are a popular footwear choice for men. Driving loafers are best known for the rubber nubs on the sole and heel, as well as the slip-on design.

Read our guide to Driving Shoes below including:

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Men's Brown Driving Loafers

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Quick Buyer’s Guide

Already have an idea of what you’re looking for? Quickly shop our top picks below! You can also learn more about each driving loafer by reading further below.

Allen Edmonds Daytona

Allen Edmonds Daytona Summer Driving Shoe

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Lacoste Concours 118

Mens Lacoste Driving Moc Loafer

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Wolf & Shepherd Gunner

Wolf & Shepherd Suede Driving Loafers

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Cole Haan Howland

Cole Haan Mens Driving Shoes

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Allen Edmonds Interstate 90

Allen Edmonds Interstate 90 Navy Leather Venetian Shoe

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Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo Luxury Driving Loafer

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"Great info!" I found the perfect driving shoes and now I feel confident wearing them.
Bespoke Unit Driving Shoe Guide Reviewed by Bill F. on .
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

What Are The Best Men’s Driving Shoes?

When searching for the best driving shoes it’s important to keep in mind many factors including style, quality and price. We’ve created a helpful list of our top recommendations to help you find the best shoes for your particular needs.

Here’s our list of the Best Driving Shoes that you can buy online right now:

  1. Best All Around: Allen Edmonds Daytona Drivers
  2. Best Under $100: Lacoste Concours 118 1 P
  3. Best For Comfort: Wolf & Shepherd Gunner Drivers
  4. Best Penny Loafer: Cole Haan Howland Driving Shoes
  5. Best Venetian Loafer: Allen Edmonds Interstate 90
  6. Best Luxury: Salvatore Ferragamo Grand Prix Driver

Interested in a particular pair? Just click on the link above to jump right to it!

What Is A Driving Shoe?

Driving loafers (also referred to as “driving shoes” or “drivers”) are slip-on shoes that have dot-like rubber nubs on the sole and heel counter. The upper can have tassels, a lace, or any kind of adornment. Or none, for that matter.

Available in leather, suede, nubuck, and exotic skins, driving shoes are often slipper-like in their lightness and comfort. They’re also made in a wide variety of colors from quite a few different shoemakers around the world.

What Is A Driving Loafer

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Top 6 Best Driving Loafers For Men

1. Allen Edmonds Daytona Driving Shoe

Allen Edmonds Daytona Summer Driving Shoe
  • Color: Tan
  • Material: Leather
  • Price: $225 [Buy Now]
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Overview

The quality and versatility of the Daytona Driver by Allen Edmonds have helped it earn a spot at the top of our list. This classic driving loafer can easily be worn with jeans and a tee, yet it’s versatile enough to wear with business casual attire if necessary.

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2. Lacoste Concours 118 1 P Driving Shoes

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Overview

The Lacoste Concours are a great budget-friendly option when it comes to driving shoes. They feature a decidedly the classic driving shoe style.

At less than $100 these drivers provide exceptional value.

3. Wolf & Shepherd Gunner Driver

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Overview

If it’s comfort you’re after then the Gunner Driver by Wolf & Shepherd is the shoe for you. These suede driving loafers are a bit more casual than some of the other recommendations on this list and they have the laid-back comfort to match.

Pick up a pair of your own Gunner Drivers to experience the superior comfort that Wolf & Shepherd is known for.

4. Cole Haan Howland Penny Drivers

Cole Haan Mens Driving Shoes
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Overview

The Howland Penny by Cole Haan is a sleek driver and is by far the most popular option on this list. We particularly like the darker saddle leather which gives these driving loafers a more formal look adding to their overall versatility.

5. Allen Edmonds Interstate 90 Drivers

Allen Edmonds Interstate 90 Navy Leather Venetian Shoe
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6. Salvatore Ferragamo Grand Prix Drivers

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How To Wear Drivers

Though drivers are a casual shoe you shouldn’t wear with dress trousers or suits, they cover quite a bit of ground. They can be worn with or without socks and can smartly dress up shorts and a t-shirt as much as they can lend some Continental flair to chinos and a blazer.

Formality

Again, drivers are quite casual. Try to wear them during the day, especially if they’re a light or non-standard color like red or light blue. They are best paired with:

  • Shorts and fitted tees or polos
  • Jeans and tees, polos, or button-downs
  • Chinos with tees, polos, and button downs

Driving loafers shouldn’t be worn with dress trousers and certainly not with suits or evening wear. They’re just too casual for these scenarios. With that said, rules were meant to be broken, and we’re sure that someone who has a lot of style could find a way to make the pairing work.

If you happen to be that guy, do let us know.

Seasonality

Drivers are a fantastic shoe for warm weather because they’re lightweight and low cut. Here are some color suggestions by season:

  • Spring: Beige, blue, or light brown leather or suede
  • Summer: Yellow, green, red, sky blue, whatever. As Pink Floyd said, “Any Colour You Like”
  • Autumn: Brown, black pebbled leather or suede
  • Winter: N/A. Avoid drivers in the winter

The Importance Of No-Show Socks

It is extremely common to wear summer shoes without socks. Like boat shoes, drivers can be worn with or without socks, but a brief discussion on no-show socks (“man-peds,” as we pejoratively call them) is warranted.

When you wear summer shoes without socks, great things happen visually. The sockless look is clean, and it pairs beautifully with a casual summer shoe. Whether the look pairs well with a dress shoe is a debate to be had at another time.

The problem is that the insides of your shoes get wrecked when you wear them repeatedly without socks. Our feet sweat, on average, about one cup per day. That all gets absorbed into the leather sock liners and insole, which will likely separate from the sole inside the shoe.

The smell is gross, the discoloration unseemly.

No-show socks, on the other hand, offer the best of both worlds: a sockless presentation and a funkless shoe.

Why The Rubber Nubs?

Sole Of Driving Loafer

Drivers are so named for a reason: they’re shoes meant for driving. The rubber nubs exist to help the wearer grip the pedals of a car more effectively, and it also affords the driver the opportunity to minimize wear on his “regular” shoes.

In 1963, an Italian company was created: Car Shoe. Despite having the least creative name in the history of the universe, they invented the driving shoe as a shoe for the wealthy, who at the time were the only folks who’d be able to afford a shoe specifically for driving.

If you think about it, such a concept is still a luxury, as it’s safe to say that most of us don’t wear special shoes for operating our cars.

Drivers As Walking Shoes: A Note On Lifespan

Driving Shoes With Holes At Toe

The downside of wearing driving shoes for regular walking

Now that driving loafers are not considered luxury items that are inaccessible to the masses, many people like to wear them as walking shoes. This is understandable, as a well-fitting pair of drivers is extremely comfortable. Why wouldn’t you want to hoof it around all day in the comfiest shoes you can find?

Well, if you walk on concrete or brick a whole lot (read: if you’re a city dweller, especially in the eastern U.S., Europe, or Asia), the toes will get chewed up to all hell. There’s no way to get around this, unfortunately. Every time you take a step, the lack of a sole lets the toe scrape the ground. Over time, leather wears away and you get the holes that you see in the picture above.

If you wear the same pair of drivers even as little as three times a week, this could happen in a matter of months, so if you plan to walk in them, make them part of a rotation in which they’ll only be worn once a week at a maximum.

Another option, one that we would typically not advise with a more “structured” shoe, is to purchase cheap ones and just blow through them. Tread carefully if you take that bit of advice, as cheap shoes’ only benefit is often their price, while comfort and quality fall by the wayside.

Our Recommendation

Do we suggest that you buy a driving loafer? Absolutely, we do. This is one of the best casual shoes a man can own, so if you find yourself dressing down more than up, you should own a pair or two.

Do we suggest that you spend a lot of money on a driver? Well, that depends on how much money you have and how much you plan to walk in these shoes. We appreciate quality just as much as the next guy, but driving shoes are a case in which we’re comfortable advising paying a bit less given how the shoe wears over time.

This is particularly true for suede, which will likely be comfortable at any price point.

No matter what, treat yourself to a pair.

More Shoe Resources

Interested in learning more about other shoe styles? Visit one of our detailed resources below:

Other Shoe Resource:

Shoe-Homepage Shoe-Style-Guides Shoe-Color-Coordination Shoe-Care-Button Shoe-Reviews

One Comment

  1. John Parker May 19, 2018 at 4:15 am - Reply

    Nice post! I wear driving shoes non stop. So comfortable! I prefer the rubber nubs over a regular sole. I like that you made a list of some great driving shoes for a good price.

    I used to only buy the Tod’s gommino driving shoes. But they are very expensive. I will definitely try some of your list!

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    Cheers,

    John

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