Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Shut Up and Drive

It wasn't the first driving shoe — that came in the 1950s when Italian race-car drivers wore narrow leather shoes with rubber nubs on the bottoms (the better to gauge the pedals and maintain traction as the foot moved swiftly). But with the Gommino, Tod's reinvented the style. Created by Diego Della Valle in the late 1970s, it was born of his desire to have an elegant, functional shoe that could be worn on any occasion and withstand a bit more wear than its predecessor.


Every Gommino ("small pebble" in English) has precisely 133 rubber bumps on the sole and is made through a painstaking process of cutting, sewing and scrutinizing up to 35 pieces of leather by hand.

Quotes and picture from Time magazine (via AddThis)


I am currently re-learning how to drive here in the Philippines - which poses a double challenge to me, being 1) an older novice driver who 2) must learn how to drive with manual transmission. Now, I don't know about you, but as much as I like my early lessons on automatic transmission, I actually prefer driving stick - mostly because I actually enjoy the concept of shifting gears and engaging the clutch pedal with my left foot. There's actually a smooth physicality involved in trying to find the best balance between clutch and gas, which always makes me feel like a suave racecar driver... never mind that my driving style is actually best described as "Jason Statham in a golf cart with 12 hyperactive chimpanzees."

Driving with manual transmission has also given me a new perspective on shoes, as well. Like many novice drivers, I tend to put too much weight on my feet - problematic enough when you only have to deal with the accelerator pedal, but doubly so when you also need to work the clutch. As a result, I've become very particular about the footwear I use for my driving lessons: not too slippery (flip-flops are a massive FAIL on that part), not too lightweight, but thick and substantial enough to give your heel leverage, so you can concentrate on using your actual feet in gauging the pedals.

Until I finally get around to buying myself a pair of decent driving loafers - like those delicious Tod's pairs shown here - my current shoe of choice for driving lessons varies between my Charlotte Russe kitten wedges and my Reebok trainers. I might even start looking around here for a pair of athletic flats, like these Merrell shoes, or even some Converse-esque sneakers to drive in. Just don't ask me when I'm going to start motoring around in heels!

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