The modern shoe is the product of years of evolution ever since early humans wrapped animal hides around their feet to protect them. Since the middle of the 20th century when shoe companies such as Nike and Adidas began their rise to fame, modern footwear has become the culmination of style, function, and comfort. Most of us own a few different types of footwear: tennis shoes, casual shoes, dress shoes, and boots (for those of us in the country/snowy states). Each shoe that you own has a specific function for it and its design focuses on either style, function, or comfort. The diagram below seems to summarize this point fairly well.
My normal shoe for daily use in a Nike Free Run Tennis Shoe which coincidentally is what I use for driving 99% of the time. I've bought a new pair of these shoes every year ever since they debuted in 2011 and use them for walking, exercise, driving, and even throughout the winter. So now that you know my baseline and where I am coming from, let me elaborate on my experience with the AKIN Driving Shoes that I was provided with. Over the course of 3 weeks I was able to subject them to various scenarios that most car enthusiasts would see in Minnesota. I first wore them on a few daily walks to break them in on some warm 70 degree days, then used them while driving continuously for 45 minute commutes twice a day for a week. Following that I had a weekend that involved a track day on Saturday and a 2 hour fall cruise on Sunday where I will base most of my evaluation of these shoes since they are being sold as Driving Shoes. After that I had the opportunity to wear them in the rain and even in our first snowfall.
Breaking in these shoes was a bit different than I was used to given that they reminded me of dress shoes with a tennis shoe sole, which is kind of what they are. The first week of walking in them felt a bit stiff and the sole was a bit narrower than my Nike Free Runs so there was less rubber to disperse my weight across. The first thing I noticed while driving was that they felt a little heavier than my Nike set so I had to adjust how I pressed the pedals a bit. However, the best thing that I noticed after the first day of driving was that my heel didn't get sore from resting it against the floor after an hour of highway driving. This is something that was fully appreciated by the end of the week of daily driving on the highway.
That weekend the track day and cruise that I attended both tested similar aspects of the shoes. Whether you are doing a parking lot autocross, road course at a race track, or carving up the winding roads along a river, I couldn't imagine doing it in any other shoe than these. They are the right hybrid of comfort, style, and function, which if you refer to my diagram at the beginning of the review seems to fit right in the center. If you are looking for the perfect driving shoe, that actually looks amazing and fits like a great driving glove, I would say that this is the one. Additionally, I only got the black and white design, Akin also currently has 2 others to choose from as seen below.
Bonus thoughts for cold climate readers:
As I state earlier, I had a chance to wear these in the rain and snow, and I have to say they are kind of the summer tire of shoes. They have great grip in most temps above freezing and have an aggressively awesome tread pattern. They grip only so well in the rain and are almost useless in the snow, but at least they are fairly water resistant. However lets be honest, just like your summer tires you are going to change to something with more grip when the weather gets cold, like perhaps a set of winter boots.
Now that you have read this far, we just want to remind you that Akin Gear is having a Black Friday Sale from November 24th-27th. They have discounted all shoes on their site by 30%, no promo code needed. Just check out their website and click the button below!