Sparco, the Italian motorsports equipment manufacturer, has agreed to sponsor me. In return, I promised to give honest reviews of their products, as well as give my clients a chance to experience the products first-hand. The first thing I bought was new shoes, as I desparately needed new shoes and I wanted SFI 3.3 rated shoes for my safety.
My shoes are worn. Badly. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not just into racing, but also hiking and paintball. Those are sports that wear shoes down, with lots of walking and running. It came time to buy a dedicated pair of shoes for summer time/racing., to distinguish once more between paintball and racing. Of course, racing is my main hobby and interest, so I chose to spend a bit more on my racing shoes ($204 Canadian) than my paintball shoes ($20 and some dryer lint.)
But, I didn't want that money to be wasted. My plan was to get a set of shoes that would last a long time, and protect my feet, if, god forbid, I ever get into an automotive fire situation.
You see, when you purchase racing shoes, you're not just getting style. You're getting comfort, and safety. SFI Spec 3.3 safety ratings were perfect for me, as a time-attack driver. I ordered some Size 11 Sparco Race shoes, due to my love of suede racing shoes, and was not disappointed.
I do have a qualm or two with them, for sure, but they're minor. Primarily, these shoes are incredibly tough to put on. The closure around the ankle is very, very tight. I suppose that it's required, to keep the flames off of your feet in a fire situation, but it's slightly frustrating to spend literally fifteen minutes putting on a pair of shoes.
My other complaint, well, is that the shoes are not exactly ideal for even remotely damp climates. I guess the suede will get wet very easily. This is an issue only when it rains, but still an issue regardless.
However, this is where the complaints and suggestions end, and the praise begins. These shoes are amazing. I had to nitpick to find any substantial issue with them to provide an un-biased article. I'm serious. The issues I found were minor, but I wanted to include them to reinforce the idea that I'm telling the truth. Even though Sparco did offer me a discount in exchange for these articles, I am not going to sugar coat to say thanks. I'm genuinely satisfied with my purchase.
The fit and feel is remarkably comfortable, once you finally fit your ankles through the small, fire-retardant hole. The stitching is high quality and the style is incredible. The suede is smooth and finely made. The laces feel nice. The velcro lines up perfectly, and attaches with very nice ease.
Everything about these shoes screams of comfort and dependability... And that's not bad for Sparco's most affordable, "budget" racing shoe.
Check them out here: http://www.sparcousa.com/product/race
Pros: - Great comfort, great safety, great style and design
Drew Geier is a Canadian petrolhead whose main mission is to make motoring accessible, enjoyable, and affordable well into the future, by improving the art, hobby and lifestyle of motoring. He builds cars, and he writes about other builds. He's built a Subaru WRX and is building a Honda Civic EK.