Mazda and Mizuno’s sneakers are meant to enhance the feeling of driving

The “Bareclutch” shoes boast rounded soles and thin padding to allow for a more direct feeling on a car’s pedals.

Mizuno x Mazda Bareclutch driving sneakers

Mazda is shifting gears with its latest offering. In partnership with performance wear brand Mizuno, the automotive company has introduced a “Bareclutch” sneaker made to enhance the feeling of driving. The low-top shoe features a thin sole to provide a more direct feeling on the pedal, while efficient cushioning ensures the sneaker is comfortable enough to wear outside of the car.

The Bareclutch sneaker serves as an extension of the Jinba-Ittai philosophy, which Mazda has cited over the years in building its cars. Jinba-Ittai reflects the feeling that the sense of oneness between a rider and his beloved horse is the ultimate bond — a bond Mazda has worked to recreate between its cars and drivers. Its Bareclutch sneaker intensifies this bond even further with a direct pedal feel and more accurate pedal feedback.

A heightened driving experience — According to Mazda, the shoe was created to better let a driver “communicate” with their car. A thin Mizuno COB sole enhances the feeling between feet and pedals, and unlike most driving shoes, doesn’t compromise on cushioning. While the Bareclutch isn’t recommended for walking long distances, its padded insole lets wearers switch between driving and walking around with ease and more importantly, comfort.

A special uneven structure of the inner sole gives more accurate feedback from the outer sole, a feature that allows more feedback from the pedals. By the ankle, Mizuno’s “posture control technology” — initially designed for swimsuits — reinforces leg movements between accelerating and braking maneuvers, offering less strain on muscles.

Rounded soles, which provide a bigger contact area between the sole and pedal, support smoother and more controlled movements when stepping down on the pedal. The soles also grant better heel rotation, stabilizing the wearer's heels when their feet are moving between the throttle and brake pedals. Treaded outsoles finish off the Bareclutch sneakers, adding improved grip between the sole and pedals.

Start your engines — To match the sleek look of the cars they’ll be pushing pedals with, the shoes’ soft artificial leather uppers come in clean monochromatic builds including white, black, and blue iterations. Each will be available beginning September 20, with pairs retailing on Mizuno’s website and at select stores. Once the sneakers drop, driving enthusiasts should race to grab the Bareclutch before it sells out.