How about using DRIVING shoes for uni?

I’ve got duck-footed, clunky size 13 feet. Keeping my heels from hitting the fork is a fairly constant concern (I’m still a beginner, surely that concern will fade with time). Shoes with flared soles under the heel are especially prone to hitting the fork. I’ve tried on many pair of skateboard-type shoes and the styles are too wide for me. I’ve been using a pair of “recreational type” mountain biking shoes, the kind that have lugs and can clip in, but without the clips of course. These give me great clearance and comfort, but re-adjusting the position of my feet on the pedals is a pain because the lugs get stuck on the pedal pins.

I think I found a great solution. The driving shoes I use on my 'lil red racer (great for heel-toe shifting, another skill I’m trying to learn) seem PERFECT. They fit like a glove and are made to be as streamlined as possible. Has anyone tried these? Below is a link to one popular brand (I’m not shilling for them, there are many other great brands, just google “driving shoes”):

I’m curious if anyone else has tried this route, and what your experience was like. Hope this is helpful to anyone else with feet that make a big “V”!

I did not know that they made shoes especially for driving. Those do look like decent riding shoes though.

Yes, I looked at them and they gave me a good laugh:)

Good racing boots have a very hard thin sole, to the extent that they are uncomfortable to walk around in for too long. Riding them on pinned pedals would likely be uncomfortable and the grip would be poor. They’re expensive and the outer fabric can wear fairly quickly. They are also not designed to be streamlined, your feet genreally go inside the car where there is little airflow. Their fireproof nature might be useful for fire hockey.

As for heel and toeing, pedal height setup is vitally important, so that the accelerator and brake are level when the brake is fairly heavily depressed. Rocking, where you place your foot the normal way up but with your big toe on the brake and little toe on the throttle can sometimes work better, it is my father’s preferred method, but requires exacting pedal setup as you have less ability to account for differential in pedal height.

Yeah I prefer rocking method too, much better for duckfooted drivers. In fact, one time when being duckfooted is actually an advantage. Another time is if you’re the mascot at a Duck’s game…

Hey you guys might laugh, but they’re working good for me. Yes the really good shoes have paper-thin soles, but I never said I was using really good ones! There are actually some pretty comfortable ones out there, they barely can qualify as “driving shoes” but I think they’re great for muni. I’m not doing big jumps, I like cross-country rides, and when I ride like I hear I’m supposed to on these forums – with weight on the saddle, not the pedals – the pins pushing on the soles is not a problem.

But then again I AM a beginner, so there’s a good chance I’m completely wrong, so I bow to the voices of experience here. But I’m still gonna try it!

no it’s fair, if they work for you then great, I just can’t imagine that they’d work for me. I guess there’s some difference between racing boots and driving shoes in terms of comfort.

didn’t mean to make any fun, just never thought of getting driving shoes before despite driving about 1000km/week for the past few months, and considerably more in the near future.

That makes sense that they are for racing. Once you get more into a sport there is all sorts of equipment that can give you a slight edge. Mostly I drive barefoot (legal here in Sask) because I like to be able to feel that extra bit of feedback. Thin stiff soles sound like they would do the same thing but with a bit more support.

stiff soles are nice for unicycling but thin is not so nice. For just riding around I often use whatever I have on which is usually nothing, flip-flops or moccasins. If I decide to do some trials or Muni where I put more pressure on the pedals and not the seat I find some socks and put on my hiking boots.

Yep you pretty much hit it on the nail. They are also an important safety concern as racing boots are made from fireproof nomex II. I often drive barefoot (illegal here), some of the cars i drive are impossible to drive in, for instance, a pair of skateshoes (which i ususally wear) as there isn’t sufficient spacing between the pedals, and I can;t be bothered to always bring driving shoes or race boots with me.

…that really only applies to when you’re learning…

Barefoot riding, now that’s impressive!

Yeah I’m sure that when I get better this won’t be such an issue and I’ll be able to ride with thicker soled shoes.

BTW, no offense taken at all! I know it sounds pretty stupid, shoes for driving. They’re not needed for normal driving at all. But if you want to brake & downshift simultaneously, and manipulate two pedals at different pressures with one foot, they come in real handy.

Doh! Just realized you meant you DRIVE barefoot, not ride uni. OK I think I’m in danger of being the idiot in the room…

I can ride my uni barefoot if I either put my old, dead pedals on first, or just rough it out.

I don’t recommend doing much more then just riding if you’re standing on metal pins. I rolled over a smallish bump and almost skinned my foot.

I recently picked up a pair of Piloti shoes at a local discount store (only US$20 at Ross Dress for Less) just because they were there, and I knew (from looking at Piloti shoes online at some prior time) that it was a pretty big bargain. Mine have pretty decent soles, thickness-wise, and are quite comfy for walking as well as driving. I’ll have to hop on the uni next time I’m wearing them to see how they feel.

pkittle, let me know how they work out on your uni. Mine are “Shelby” brand, they give me great clearance from the cranks and easy to adjust over the pedal pins. Only complaint is the thin soles make my feel ache after a few miles.

That’s how Gracie Sorbello rode her unicycle coast to coast a couple of years ago;

The thought of unicycle riding barefoot still sends shivers up my spine though!


There is one brave woman dedicated to a great cause.

I’ve had a few beginner UPDs where my foot got caught in the spokes, even the thought of riding barefoot sounds painful.

So I gave this shoe a quick ride around the neighborhood today. Good grip and pretty comfortable, overall. But the sole, while not paper thin, is a lot thinner than the 5-10s I wear for muni, and when I stood up, I could feel the pins through the sole. They’re a lot more flexible, too, which isn’t bad, but affects transfer of power and could potentially tire your arch on an extended ride. I would be leery of wearing these for technical muni, at least around here, where the trails are very rocky–they’d likely hurt from the constant pin pressure and I’d worry about really smacking the soles of my feet on the rocks when I UPD. But on smooth trails or for casual road riding, these would be nice.

Yeah that’s pretty much my verdict too, I have to say. It looked like such a good idea on paper! I need to check out these 5-10s. Thanks for the great feedback.