If the shoe fits, it doesn't mean that it's the ideal footwear for spirited driving. We find out more from Ken the man himself!
DC Shoes and rally driver/internet superstar Ken Block have just released the fourth instalment in the Gymkhana series, this time blasting around Universal Studios in his fiery Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle (H.F.H.V.). These videos are incredible demonstrations of Ken's driving skills in his DC Shoes. How important are shoes to a discerning driver? Let us hear what the ultimate hoonster has to say...
What are the differences between casual, driving and racing shoes? Ken says, "the biggest difference is the use of flame retardant materials. My DC Pro Spec 1.0s have Nomex lining, fire resistant laces, Kevlar thread and fire resistant rubber." In addition to being FIA certified for competition use, they also have a thinner soul than any other DC shoe in order to give great feel on the pedals.
Ken added, "the driving shoes also have a rounded heel to help you achieve a better and more comfortable angle on the pedals. Additionally, they can be built a bit lighter, since they don’t have the same durability requirements as a shoe that’s getting knocked around by grip tape on a skateboard, but this means that they may wear out a bit sooner than a regular casual shoe."
Which type of casual wear shoes are preferred for driving and which types should be avoided? Ken recommends anything that is comfortable is probably going to be good for casual driving. As for worst choice of shoe? "You don’t want to drive in a running shoe, you need something with a thinner, flat sole so that you can have good pedal feel, like a skate shoe," said Ken.
What are the advantages of using driving shoes? Can we use them on a regular basis? "Definitely increased pedal feel and fire protection in case things go really wrong! We focused on the fit and comfort, but they are not designed to be long-distance running shoes and they are not built for hiking. Use them when you’re planning on doing some serious driving or a track day."
How did Ken's range of driving and racing shoes come about? It came about when Travis Pastrana was going into rally racing. "Him being a DC contracted athlete, we made shoes for him to wear. But we still wanted them to look similar to other shoes in our line up, that’s why you can see a skate shoe inspiration in all of our driving shoes." As it turns out, Ken, Travis and Dave Mirra wear the same model of shoes when they are out racing, with the only difference being customized colours that match their individual liveries.
What would be Ken's ideal "wardrobe" of shoes for casual wear, outdoor activities, and driving? "For casual wear, I love my new Boost model that DC just released. They’re super light and comfortable. For knocking around outside, I’ll usually toss on a pair of my signature DC Spartans. If I’m doing some driving but not racing, I’ve got a pair of DC Pro Spec 2.0s that I really love. They are very similar to the FIA certified Pro Spec 1.0, but designed to be a daily street shoe."
What do you think about other brands of driving shoes and what would be your big advantage? "I’m sure they’re nice, but I’m partial to mine! They represent a good value for the buyer. They’re also super comfortable and FIA certified. Also, they look good! What more can you want?"