Goodyear Footwear – Clutch Racing Shoes Review
Sim racing has come along way in the last few years. Not only software wise, but also on the hardware front. While many of the sim racing community members started off with a simple entertainment steering wheel and pedal set to control their virtual vehicles, nowadays it’s a whole different story. Sim racing has grown up and is no longer being regarded as just playing a game but now reached a level where the words virtual racing, and Training Tool are synonyms. The domestic racing simulator has become a vital part of the tools used by both amateur and professional racing drivers. Sim Training, Driver Coaching and Track time have become an important part of a driver’s preparation when pursuing a motorsport career.
Those who don’t have the means to pursue a real motorsport career, often find their satisfaction in today’s online virtual motorsport competitions. This brings us to the hardware currently used by racing professionals and sim racers all over the world. Many casual sim racers on a budget are still using the mass produced racing wheels and pedals we all came to love, but the more advanced sim racers are usually on the lookout for a more realistic and immersive experience by using full motion simulators equipped with high-torque direct drive wheels and high-end load cell equipped racing pedals that need the same amount of force applied as in a real world racing car. Once you have reached this level, it will also mean that wearing racing gloves and suitable shoes are starting to make sense. This brings us to the topic of footwear.
The simplest solution would be to just go out, visit a racing store and purchase a nice pair of dedicated state-of-the-art racing shoes. There is only one problem with this option. You could easily shell out between €200 and €600 for a pair of Alpinestars, OMP, or Sparco shoes having to pay for features that are not required or close to useless for sim racing.
A good racing shoe has to fully comply with FIA and SFI safety standards. It needs to be made in lightweight flame-resistant polymer materials such as Nomex and have to be made to withstand workshop fluids. Importantly, the shoes have to be comfortable to wear and need a pedal friendly shoe sole. The thinner the sole, the better the pedal feel, the greater the control. Last but not least, racing drivers are often ego trippers, which means that the racing footwear should also be trendy and visually appealing.
Keeping all this in mind, let’s see what features a sim racer would need from such a shoe.
- We need an affordable price tag.
- We need a lightweight shoe that is comfortable to wear
- We need a breathable shoe to ensure good ventilation.
- We need a narrow sole so we can operate pedals which are situated close together.
- We need a grippy thin sole with a rounded heel to aid a smooth foot move. (Heel & Toe)
- We need it to look cool and racing inspired. (Nobody says it loud, but we all want it to look the works)
That said, we don’t need the shoes to be FIA and SFI compliant, We don’t need them to be flame-resistant, and there is virtually no chance that we will be splattered with oil and fluids while racing. Last but not least, we don’t want to pay a huge amount of money for a set of features we have no purpose for.
This brings us to the actual purpose of this review. The Goodyear Footwear Performance Racing Collection – Clutch Racing Shoes.
When we hear the name Goodyear, most petrol-heads will instantly think tires, and will not necessarily link the brand to footwear. Nevertheless, a few years ago, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company introduced the Goodyear Performance Collection of racing inspired footwear which is incidentally perfectly suited for sim racing. The Goodyear Footwear Performance Racing Collection – Clutch Racing Shoes are racing inspired driving shoes which are also very suitable to be used as casual footwear. However, for sim racers, the Goodyear shoes seem to tick all the boxes when it comes to sim racing.
How do they look?
As with most wearables, the design of the product is probably the first parameter we tend to look at. When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised. The mid height shoes look really good and have that classic racing shoe outline. At first glance, I was pleased to see that the shoes were not overly flashy, as some racing shoes tend to be a little overdressed. Let’s face it, they will not have to match a racing fire suit in our case. The shoes I reviewed were black with some white highlights which actually suited my personal taste. That said, the Clutch Racing Shoes are also available in white.
The Clutch Racing Shoes are made out of a synthetic material and leather body firmly fitted to a rubber outsole which features a very trendy looking Goodyear tire tread pattern. The biggest part of the shoe body is stitched up in a very good looking square pattern, overlocked with a strengthening strip that is imprinted with the famous Goodyear logo.
The shoes feature both laces and a top velcro strap for that perfect fit. The inner side is lined with a breathable fabric and features the necessary EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) cushioning on the midfoot and heel section.
Are they any good for Sim Racing?
When I strapped on the shoes for a sim racing session, the first thing I noticed was how surprisingly lightweight these mid-height shoes actually are. They were about the same weight as my Sparco shoes while I surely expected them to be heavier. Next up was the sole. I prefer my sim racing shoes to have a thin, yet sturdy sole. Thicker soles tend to make me feel less connected to the pedal set.
The Clutch Racing Shoes passed the test with flying colors. The sole was thin enough to have a comfortable feel on the throttle and clutch pedals while solid enough to operate the rather stiff brake pedal. The rubber length-threaded sole provided good grip regardless of my foot position and still gave me the ability to easily move or slide my foot around the throttle pedal pad.
Another plus was the fact that the shoe and sole are made as narrow as possible. I had no trouble rapidly switching my foot on the pedals, without having that famous foot fight. Especially when trying to heel & toe, when my right foot was at an angle, the narrow width and rounded toe part of the shoe and sole gave me plenty of room for those quick movements.
One of the most important features of the sole is the rounded heel part. It makes it possible to effortlessly endure the movements of your ankle while going on and off the throttle. As a right foot braking sim racer, the rounded heel part of the sole also helped me switch pedals with a minimum of effort while keeping my heel firmly seated on the footrest. Another nice thing is the heightened side-lip on the sole which makes it perfect for use on pedals with a side-guard. This way the shoes will not wear out on the sides by constantly rubbing the side-guards.
This is the no-brainer part of the review. The Goodyear Clutch Racing Shoes are available for a very modest US $49.99. (That would make €42.50 or £38.31) This makes it one of the most affordable pair of sim racing ready shoes on the market. Combined with the good looks, and nice quality finish, they are certainly worth every penny.
The Goodyear Performance Racing Collection Clutch Racing style shoes are more than suitable for sim racing. Even though they may be considered entree-level when compared to more expensive high-end racing or karting shoes, they are very well designed and at only US $49.99 offer great value for money.
Besides being lightweight and very comfortable to wear, they provide good grip as well as a good feel of the pedals. You can also use the shoes for non-racing purposes without having to worry about extensive wear or breaking the bank when they eventually do. Last but not least, the Clutch Racing style shoes do look nice and definitely will enhance your racing looks and style.
If you are on the lookout for a very affordable pair of race-inspired footwear to use for your sim racing sessions, we can strongly recommend the Goodyear Clutch shoes.
PS: At the time of writing these Goodyear Performance Racing Collection of shoes are only available in the US, but might come to some European online stores in the near future.
Goodyear Clutch – Performance Racing Collection
- Lightweight synthetic performance upper material
- Cushion sock
- EVA/Rubber outsole
- Synthetic Upper
- Lace Closure With Strap For Snug Fit
- Mid Height
- Goodyear Rubber Outsole For Grip With Rounded Drivers Heel
- EVA Midsole For Cushioning
- Cushion Footbed For Maximum Comfort
- Slip Resistant
Official Webpage – goodyearfootwearusa.com