Friday, April 2, 2010

Adidas, Puma, Piloti, Santoni for AMG -- racing shoes for the daily driver

Here is my review on the "here to stay" fashion trend of motorsport inspired shoes.

In the recent years, there has been a general trend of motorsport inspired shoes.  The attraction to these "racing" shoes is they are very lightweight, comfortable, and stylish.  In many ways, they are not a far departure from the indoor soccer shoes designed in the years past.

Puma started their trend with their Ferrari branded race inspired shoes including the Future Cat and Drift Cat.  These shoes have very thin soles and leather uppers, and besides for the design and style they are not really designed for professional or recreational racing.  Not that this mattered, most individuals who purchase these shoes wear it very much in the same style as a comfortable pair of loafers or sneakers.  I remember seeing these shoes appear in the scene as far back as 2006.  The style was propagated by girls then moved on to men.  In terms of comfort, they are great for driving because you have a great pedal feel, but really uncomfortable if you have to walk for an extended period of time.  Because of how thin the sole is, there isn't much cushioning and you feel every bump and crevice on the road.  Their shoes cost on average $85-90 per pair, but many times you can find them on sale for as low as $60.

Adidas came onto the motorsport scene shortly afterwards with their Porsche Design and GoodYear partnerships.  Porsche Design shoes were mainly sold in the Porsche Design boutiques and the past season designs online on store like Zappos.  Adiracer Lo Goodyear versions are commonly sold in most shoe stores including Adidas boutiques and Footlocker.  The Adi racer Lo Goodyear shoes have long lasting durable tread below a smooth suede upper.  Unfortunately, like the Pumas, there isn't much padding and the sole of the shoe is so narrow many times in more vigorous activities there is a high possibility of twisting an ankle.  So this isolates the shoes to more "mundane" walking and casual purposes.  The Porsche Design versions had better tread patterns and wider soles, but the material was sticky a.k.a. high wear.  The sole of the shoes did not last very long, although the shoes were much more amply padded.  The in season Porsche Design shoes can cost upwards of $200 per pair, but out of season models on sites like Zappos are sold at a relative bargain basement price of $90 per pair.  Adidas Goodyear shoes cost retail $85 per pair, but you can find them on sale online or in stores for as low as $45.

Piloti is the Italian word for "pilot" and they are a recent addition to the world of motorsport inspired shoes.  They are based in Southern California and probably one of my favorite shoes.  Most of their other versions are more track inspired and designed for competitive use.  There is a line for daily wear, called the "Touring".    The rest of their shoes are hideous... well, the Avus is "okay".  My girlfriend is convinced for most of their designs, they put all the colors of the rainbow into a huge lottery wheel and randomly selects the color from the spinning wheel.  Unfortunately, most of their shoes will also sport the Piloti logo in some very prominent places.  The most "wearable" version are the Prototipo.  The Piloti Prototipo have very good arch support and decent cushioning.  They have a "skater shoe" like wide sole that helps with lateral balance, and a cool rubber patch on the inner right corner of your shoes for those who wish to "heel - toe" on their commute to work.  The shoes also have decent wear, lasting well over 2-years for my last pair.  I pretty much got to the point where the memory inner sole of the shoe was starting to get distorted.  Ironically, outer sole of the Piloti is, although worn, still in decent condition.  The shoe also acts as a great daily shoe for pretty much everything because of the high tongue of the shoe, it prevents most sand from getting into the shoe if you are walking your dog on the beach.  The Piloti Prototipo are also light enough for you to walk around all day in them without getting tired. Overall, they are my favorite pair of driving inspired shoes and my girlfriend has just purchased my second pair for me.  They are also priced fairly reasonably, around $85 per pair.

Santoni for AMG is a relatively new brand for me.  I was introduced to them during my AMG Driving Academy program in Laguna Seca.  These high end motorsport inspired shoes are custom made to order.  They feel great but I do not have much experience owning one, mainly because they are on average $400 per pair -- slightly cheaper than the price of a decent Gucci loafer. 

Overall, for the price, comfort, durability, and design.  I would highly recommend Piloti Prototipo.  Though the new shoes my girlfriend got feels much stiffer and looks a lot narrower than my broken in pair, and to be honest, the broken in pair feels MUCH more comfortable, even though they are worn out.

Pretty bad camera phone picture above, but you can see the newer pair above is #1, much darker, and #2, much more narrow than the pair below.  Interesting.  

1 comment:

  1. I examine all the three brands and decided to go for Puma. All these three are great but the one I like as per the concern of price, durability and looks I would suggest for Puma.