Hooniverse Asks- Driving Accouterments – Necessary, or Just Douchy?

Driving gloves, Piloti shoes, silk windbreakers with CORVETTE written up each arm- there are certain garments that  are claimed to make driving more enjoyable, or help you celebrate your passion for a particular vehicle. But, are they really necessary, or does wearing them make you look like a dink?
We’ve all seen Burt Reynolds in his flaming chicken BANDIT jacket, which seemed to define his celebrity persona in the late ’70s -early ’80s. We’ve all also seen people wearing driving gloves – usually in inappropriate locales, such as Starbucks, or the cemetery in the opening of Night of the Living Dead.
Driving moccasins, with their roll-off heels and low “unsprung weight” can obviously shave a couple of seconds off your commute, and Piolti has made a name for themselves manufacturing shoes designed for the dilettante driver. And, of course, no car show or swap meet would be complete without a sea of heavily auto-branded tee-shirts stretched tight across the beer bellies of their proud owners.
But do you subscribe to the notion that clothing can make your driving more enjoyable? Is there a pair of mesh-back gloves lurking in your car? Do you own a Jacket that proudly communicates your brand of choice down each sleeve? And what about your feet- do they work the pedals wearing little more than flip-flops like a certain automotive writer we know? Or do you wrap them in specialty footwear to enhance your heel and toe-ability?  How much of your car has creeped into your wardrobe?
Image sources: [Motivemag, Scrapetv]

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78 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- Driving Accouterments – Necessary, or Just Douchy?”

  1. Zach Avatar

    You can use a luxe-brand key fob, as long as it would be clear to at least some others that you're being ironic, not aspirational. For example, it would be okay for me to hang the keys to my beat-up '87 Civic hatch off of a Spyker or Bentley logo.
    Other than that, if you want to wear vehicle-related clothing or accessories, you need to get a motorcycle.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Reminds me of when I put the Little Tree "New Car Smell" air freshener in my basket case/PCH 67 Imperial convertible to cover up the mildew/old car funk smell.

    2. CptSevere Avatar

      I dunno, the only time I went to a bike rally I left my leather jacket and helmet on the bike and was walking around like any civilian. I was asked why I wasn't dressed like a biker, and told them I rode my bike every day and never felt the need to dress in any special way. Hell, the bike was parked.

    3. jjd241 Avatar

      Some accessories do make you go faster though…

  2. skaycøg Avatar

    I'll never own a Ford GT in real life, but I have pleasure in wearing one close to my heart.
    <img src="http://rlv.zcache.com/ford_gt40_spaghetti_strap_top_tshirt-p235677563413819125qn8v_400.jpg"&gt;

    1. dwegmull Avatar

      Is that you in the picture? Are you trying to pull off a "Murilee" on us?

      1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

        haha..more COTD today..

  3. joshuman Avatar

    Gloves are fine to wear until the car warms up enough so you can feel your fingers. If you are driving with the top down in cool weather, you can wear them the whole time. Otherwise, no. That stuff really is not necessary. We should all aspire to drive as well as Senna in loafers and jeans.

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      A-flipping-men.[youtube yAwJsOECGBU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAwJsOECGBU youtube]

  4. jims63valvert Avatar

    IMHO, the only driving accoutrement you need for the daily commute are driving shoes. A good pair of driving mocs, or Pilotis. They help you heel and toe. I guess if my feet were bigger I could do that barefooted..but you know what they say about guys with small feet…they wear small shoes.
    Driving gloves don't really enhance the driving experience. They numb some of the feeling from the steering wheel. If you were driving a race car with no power steering and needed the protection, then I say go for the driving gloves. This reminds me of one of the few times I ever saw someone actually driving with gloves. Indulge me in a little story if you will…
    In the mid-90s when I was field rep I was driving down the PA turnpike when I saw an old couple (appeared to be mid-70s or so) on the side of the road with a flat tire. The car was 67 Chevy Biscayne. You know, one of the avocado green ones. So, I stopped and changed the tire for them. While I was doing that they were telling me how they were from NY and driving to OH to see one of their kids, then down to TX to see another. Really nice folks. So anywho, I finish changing the tire and they take off. A few miles down the road I passed them.
    The guy waves to me and I notice he's wearing black leather driving gloves. Then I take a closer look and I notice one of the fingertips is patched with black electrical tape. Priceless. It made me chuckle all the way to Pittsburgh.

    1. HeinzInc Avatar

      I usually have these black leather gloves that I got for cheap at Target. They aren't meant for driving, but they help when the cars ice-cold in the morning. I don't use them when it's warm, obviously.

  5. Feds_II Avatar

    Hmmm… I come at this from two angles:
    As a driver, I own a pair of half-length stringbacks that I bought from a shop in Rome, 3 doors down from the Spanish Steps. I wear them only when driving (different from commuting in) the RX-7. It is one more little ritual that allows me to focus on the drive, and separate it from the mundanity of my normal commute.
    As a motorcyclist, clothing is everything. I have, about 3 times, gone out in either a half helmet, or with no ear plugs, or in sneakers. Not having proper gear on takes focus off of the riding, as I am always holding back and worrying about an unexpected dismount, rather than just getting into the ride and enjoying the flow.
    To answer the actual question: Not much. Gloves come off when the car turns off, and ride in a coat and armoured jeans, so I don't walk around in colour matched leathers.

  6. Texan_Idiot25 Avatar

    I have a seat belt for a pants belt (and it still buckles into my truck's seat belts!), and a pair of Chevy shirts. A belt buckle as well, for 3 bucks why not but I don't wear that belt or buckle much more.

  7. Goingincirclez Avatar

    I don't dress for my ride unless it's time to conduct the sort of bidness where the Angstmobile is required:
    <img src="http://www.goingincirclez.com//Kaleid2G/site/Blog/AngstMobGIC.jpg"&gt;

    1. Alff Avatar

      That thing deserves a little preparation. Book 'em, Dano.

      1. scroggzilla Avatar

        (in best dramatic voice-over voice…..cue theme music)
        Goingincirclez………..A Quinn Martin Production
        Tonight's episode……….A Date With Your Mom

  8. franchitti27 Avatar

    I will defend my Piloti shoes to the death!

  9. CaptainZeroCool Avatar

    There is no way to prove that I, may or may not, own 4 pairs of Piloti shoes.

  10. scroggzilla Avatar

    I'll defer to the judgement of Mr. Fangio on this matter.
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4022/4365664347_c7dc7e6e79.jpg"&gt;
    [youtube L7Ifcgl789E http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7Ifcgl789E youtube]

    1. dustin_driver Avatar

      How on earth did they get such stable shots back then? I'd love to see their camera rig.

  11. Tripl3fast Avatar

    No gloves unless a fire is possible. a.k.a. Racing.
    Go Fast Sunglasses. The Blues Brothers had them on when they drove. Now how far is Chicago?

  12. lilwillie Avatar

    Yup, hand raised. There are two different T-shirts I wear in the summer on a cruise night or car show. Then a pair of Khaki shorts, my Road America Visor and Nike Flip Flops. Every time, guaranteed. I'll throw a UW Wisconsin Hoody in the back seat if it is going to get cold. Pair of shoes and a pair of blue jeans for the really cold nights.
    This is my wardrobe for cruise night http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Roa2FoSgix4/So7n0WvaU8I

    1. lilwillie Avatar


  13. Thrashy Avatar

    I wear gloves when I'm driving, but for the same reason I wear a hat and a jacket: it's winter and the heater in my car doesn't do a whole lot. However, unless you're shilling for somebody, I don't see the point of wearing a brand across your chest or on your head.

  14. Alff Avatar

    Not solely for the act of driving, no. For keeping your hands warm when you insist on driving an aging topless euro with dodgy electrics and heat down while the temps dip into the 40s? Absolutely.

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      I wear one winter glove sometimes while driving this time of year. My Volvo's blower fan barely functions; at high speeds, this is fine, but when I want both the heater and defroster, it's often best to give up on the heat, roll down my driver's window partway, put on that left glove, and set my right hand on the wheel by the more-direct heat vents.

  15. BGW Avatar

    I look ridiculous enough on a regular basis; I suspect plastering myself with a bunch of NISMO gear just to take a truckbed of brush to the dump wouldn't help things.
    And while I'm glad to know that Piloti makes size 15 shoes, well, just because they make 'em doesn't mean they belong on my clownfeet.

  16. P161911 Avatar

    For driving: sunglasses.
    Hats and t-shirts are OK. Marque specific ones are sort of douchy unless it is for the race team.
    I used to use driving gloves when I was a teenager. I might have to dig the old pair out now that my daily driver has a stainless steel shift knob (really cold in winter, really hot in summer).

  17. MechE Hokie Avatar
    MechE Hokie

    I have worn gloves while driving, but only for one reason.
    I worked in south Mississippi last summer, and my car does not have working air conditioning. Combine that with the fact I had to leave my car windows rolled up because of the surprise thunderstorms that the gulf breeds, and the temp in car after I got off work had to be pushing 150 on multiple occasions. If I really wanted to, I could have probably slow roasted pork on my dash.
    So I left a pair of mountain biking gloves in my car so I could shift gears and use the steering wheel until everything cooled down enough to not give me blisters.
    Other than that, no real driving wear. I do like to drive barefoot, but that's a lack of accouterments.

  18. muthalovin Avatar

    Timely question. I just broke out my pair of Piloti shoes on Sunday. I stopped wearing them about a year and a half back because some threads started popping out after just a few weeks of wear. I decided to start wearing them to determine if I should get another pair. And just today my boss asked what kind of shoes I was wearing.
    "Well, they are driving shoes."
    "Driving SHOES? Hmmmm."
    "Yeah, they are specially designed for heel-toe, errr, they are super comfortable to wear when driving."
    "You know, I did pilates once. I didn't know they made shoes for it. I thought you did it barefoot."
    Driving shoes do make the commute a lot more tolerable than boots chafing my calves. Other than that, the racing t-shirt works to keep you e.t. down.

  19. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    I don't think I should have to defend my choice of a Speedo as driving attire. Speed is the main part of its name, for crying out loud. I am quite certain that it shaves several minutes off of my commute, although I have to shave in order to wear it.

    1. Ambersand Avatar

      Shaving in order to wear it helps with your personal aerodynamics, especially if you drive with the windows down. Just please no zebra print.

    2. CptSevere Avatar

      Do you wear your Chippendales cuffs, too, or just in cold weather?

      1. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

        I only wear the cuff when I'm takin' the lady out for a night on the town. You know, I'm just classy like that.

  20. Ambersand Avatar

    Ermmmm I have 3 pr of Piloti's…and they are a topic of conversation each time I wear them. I have black/orange and black/pink Prototipos and a pair that are truly street shoes – the PCH.
    I wear the prototipos when driving my Speed3 because yeah, I DO feel the car better through my feet as apposed to my high heels or my big clunky clogs.
    I do sometimes wear car shirts – but classy ones…with a subtle washed out logo or something cool like a faded out 60's 911. No driving gloves or any of that stuffs.
    And I do also wear *EH HEM* a certain Tooque on a daily basis – but that's not really considered an accoutrement – it's more of a show of love for the ol' Hooniverse. 😉

    1. Eggwich Avatar

      Lol, I have those black and orange prototipos too. I only wear them if I'm out for a drive, but I too think you get better feel through the pedal with those thinner soles. The rolling heel is nice too, but it's not like I notice it's gone when I'm wearing other shoes. And I rarely heel too, even more rarely do so effectively, but I guess they help with that, too.
      I also have a pair of deer leather Prada driving mocassins that I really like. They match well with my monocle and top hat.

    2. dragon951 Avatar

      Oh right, I forgot to finish measuring my head…
      I'll get on that.

      1. Ambersand Avatar

        Hey you, yeah, GET ON THAT!

  21. smokyburnout Avatar

    It's been said already, but driving gloves are cool if you drive a car where the heat works "when it wants to'" as is the case with my car. Also, when I go back to work I don't think I want to dirty my interior with my work boots, and they're probably a tight fit in the pedalbox, so maybe some Pilotis are in order.

  22. LTDScott Avatar

    LeMons clothing makes up about 10% of what I wear on a regular basis.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Is that proportional to the percentage of time spent thinking bout LeMons on a regular basis?

  23. Tanshanomi Avatar

    Just for the record, I do sometimes wear the appropriate headgear for my Town Car — a gray fedora.
    Or perhaps a woven straw gambler if I'm feeling particularly jocular.

    1. Goingincirclez Avatar

      The motoring world needs more Fedoras freed from the casketeer hell of Buicks, I commend thee!

    2. Alff Avatar

      On the few occaisions when I've piloted a Town Car (very pleasant experiences, BTW), I've worn an Aussie sailing hat and accessorized with a big ass stogie. It just feels right.

  24. FTGDHoonEdition Avatar

    I hate wearing brand specific clothing, unless its some kind of retro/yuppie apparel. My collection is: 1 Ford WRC championship fleece (got it for free when I worked as an intern at Dearborn), a Cosworth racing hat and a couple of faded out retro muscle car tees. And a pair of Puma driving shoes. I do like my Pumas.

  25. Clashtastic Avatar

    I used to have a pair of adiddas driving shoes which were comfy and worked well…. but really haven't noticed much difference between those and my sperry's, and the sperry's look better too. so unless you're doing competitive driving on the whole racey lookin driving shoes are kinda douchey IMO…. some classy driving mocs, those are ok. Didn't Fangio race wearing Penny Loafers, and that man had bigger cojones than any of us… and I remember seeing that video of Senna driving the NSX around some circuit in japan…and he was wearing loafers…

  26. Tomsk Avatar

    I have a set of suede-ish palmed wool gloves for cold days, and although I have plenty of auto-related shirts and a few hats, I don't own a single Mercedes-Benz branded item of clothing or gear (I'm not made of money, you know.).

  27. IntendedAcceleration Avatar

    I've never tried driving shoes, so I can't attest to how well they work (or don't) for me. From my experience, Chuck Taylors or the like are good for driving a stick; the soles are thin, so you can feel the pedals. Also, they're not too wide, which is good in the Porsche. Running shoes are alright, though, and I've been known to wear hiking boots, slippers, or even barefoot while driving. In an automatic, shoe choice doesn't matter.
    Driving shoes are fine, as long as you don't make a huge deal about how they're specially designed for driving. A T-shirt with a car on it is alright; at best, it's cool, at worst it's dorky (or ironic). Some stuff, like windbreakers, or Porsche polo shirts will always be douchey, though.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      Chuck Taylors are appropriate footwear for any occasion. Back when I did such things, they were my skateboard shoes, they're like slippers and you feel everything through them.

  28. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I have an '80s HRC shop apron…does that count? After all, a real enthusiast is liable to spend more time in the garage than out on the road.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      A large percentage of my racing t-shirts have had to be retire from wearing in public due to stains of one sort or another, usually automotive related.

  29. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar
  30. dmilligan Avatar

    I live in Sacramento where it gets fairly warm for long period in the summer, and years ago I got into the habit of wearing lightweight leather gloves when I got into the car because I was tired of getting burned on a daily basis. Now I wear them whenever I drive, kind of like putting the seat belt when you get in the car. I also wear fedoras, but that has nothing to do with cars.

  31. ptschett Avatar

    This winter I've been known to wear one of my pairs of "spring/fall" motorcycle gloves while driving. On the bike they're only good down to 40-ish but in the car or out walking they're good down to the +/- single digits. Even so I've had days where I wasn't ready to take them off till I was waiting for the last green light at either end of my commute.
    My dad manages to drive the Sprite Mk II while wearing cowboy boots. I have no idea how. It's hard enough to only hit one pedal at a time in that car with my usual hiking boots.

  32. BrianTheHoon Avatar

    The only car-related accoutrement I wear when I drive is a seatbelt. I think gloves, driving shoes, etc are fine if it's track day or something but, when I see people donning them as weekend wear they look very douchey to me and just seem to scream "I'm a poser!" The again, I live in La Jolla and there are always a bunch of euro-trash thusly attired and with the dreaded popped collar or some such perusing the farmers' market, so maybe for me it is "douche by association."

  33. dragon951 Avatar

    Jackets? We don't need no stinking jackets! I will also wear clothing for one particular car marque, but t-shirts and the odd hat, not their "Design" crap.

  34. aaaarrfffurrr Avatar

    I wear Pilotis, but only because I like how they look and they're comfortable 🙂 The heel-toe benefits are useless, as my car isn't manual.

  35. CptSevere Avatar

    I drive a very old Ford pickup. I have a cowboy hat. I have several cows. I live in Tombstone, AZ, where most people wear cowboy hats. Therefore, you'll often find me wearing said hat while driving the truck. I'm not posing or making a fashion statement. It's a natural thing here. However, since I work in a mine, I wear steel toed boots, which don't hamper heel-toe driving in a 44 year old truck at all. I have cowboy boots, but hardly ever wear them.
    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I had the truck way before I ever had the hat. Once I moved down here to the desert, wearing a cowboy hat made perfect sense. Having a truck has always been perfectly sensible.

  36. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    It is extremely douchey if you are driving a Cimarron.

    1. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

      I would think that it would be more sad than douchey.

  37. TurboBrick Avatar

    I have a pair of black leather driving gloves that I wear quite often, winter or summer. Almost like the Cimarron guy there has, except the straps button to the side. They make the wheel more comfortable and on my last trip to Austin I noticed that they did make long drives more comfortable. Whether they're acceptable to the general public really isn't my concern, I've joined the nutter club long time ago anyways.

  38. Mach830 Avatar

    I use driving gloves in areas of heavy, high speed traffic situations (think, California freeway). My hands tend to sweat and the gloves give me grip. I don't listen to the radio or any other media while driving freeways. -GTI VR6

  39. coupeZ600 Avatar

    When I first got my '72 Honda Z600, I was bummed because I couldn't drive it wearing my size 12 steel-toed Logger work boots without heel-toeing,…. every shift. The pedals were just too close together, forced by the tunnel for the exhaust in the center and the left front wheel well into a minuscule space. and so I would change into and out of sneakers at work just so I could drive it. After about a week I said "Screw this!", and decided I needed to figure out how to drive it with my boots on. I'd post a video of what it looks like, but there's certainly no room for a camera down there. Here's the foot-well (I had to pull out the nasty-ass carpeting and most of the undoubtedly toxic insulation):
    <img src="http://i422.photobucket.com/albums/pp308/rexjenney/P3031152.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    1. coupeZ600 Avatar

      And here's the boots that go in there (on top of the spare).
      <img src="http://i422.photobucket.com/albums/pp308/rexjenney/P3031150.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

      1. coupeZ600 Avatar

        And no, the spare doesn't go down into the foot-well, I was just using it to show what was cramping everything on the left.

      2. smokyburnout Avatar

        Is that an optical illusion, or a 10" wheel?

        1. coupeZ600 Avatar

          145/80 R10 Kumho tires are still available at Discount Tire or Tire Rack, although they laugh at you when you ask and they always need to be shipped (the last ones i got came from Ohio and I'm in AZ). The old-school Mini guys will tell you about the 165/70 R10 Yokohama racing tires, but they'll never tell you where they got the Michelins that are on their car.

  40. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    Oh, actually, I do have a 'driving hat', but it's also a 'walking around hat', just less so. It's a brown fedora that goes well with the beard I used to have (not pictured).
    <img src="http://hphotos-snc1.fbcdn.net/hs266.snc1/9326_157366591820_563911820_3259947_6479314_n.jpg"&gt;
    I think it goes well with my old blue Volvo 244.

    1. TurboBrick Avatar

      Those Volvo headrests can be a problem – not so much with fedoras, but a cowboy hat is completely impossible to wear while driving.

      1. CptSevere Avatar

        That's true of a lot of cars. Pretty much anything with a headrest. Of course, if you're wearing a Stetson while driving a Camry, it just doesn't look right. Like the turistas we get here, walking down the street in a brand new cowboy hat, Michigan T-shirt, shorts and flipflops. It doesn't work.

  41. rocketrodeo Avatar

    Until steering wheel rim heaters become more widespread, from my perspective gloves are pretty essential for the first ten minutes from December through February. Dunno 'bout no fancy Pilotis, but I have found that casual shoes with a roll at the back of the heel are pretty comfortable for all-day driving. I did a two year stint as a test driver and found that there is a wide range of driving comfort with different kinds of shoes.

  42. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    Erik Carlsson got it right. Jeans and a T-shirt FTW!

  43. SSurfer321 Avatar

    It doesn't have anything with the car but it does help my performance.
    <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/photo-hub/news_gallery/6/2/629478/1252448611955.JPEG"&gt;

    1. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

      Helps your performance… where? That could be somewhat kinky.

  44. dustin_driver Avatar

    I wear these:
    <img src="http://www.webundies.com/images/f3001521.jpg"&gt;
    Good for an extra 10 horsepower, at least.