Mazda is shifting gears with its latest offering. Partnering with performance apparel brand Mizuno, the auto company introduced a “Bareclutch” sneaker designed to enhance ride feel. The low-top shoe features a thin sole to provide a more direct feel on the pedal, while effective cushioning ensures the sneaker is comfortable enough to wear outside the car.
The Barelutch sneaker is 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 feeling of oneness between a rider and his beloved horse is the ultimate bond – a bond that Mazda has strived to recreate between its cars and its drivers. Its Barelutch sneaker intensifies this bond even further with a direct pedal feel and more precise pedal feedback.
An enhanced driving experience — According to Mazda, the shoe was created to better enable the driver to “communicate” with their car. A thin Mizuno COB sole improves feel between the feet and the pedals and, unlike most driving shoes, does not compromise on cushioning. Although the Barelutch is not recommended for walking long distances, its cushioned insole allows wearers to easily transition from riding to walking and, more importantly, comfort.
A special uneven structure of the insole gives more precise feedback from the outsole, a feature that allows more feedback from the pedals. At the ankle, Mizuno’s “Posture Control Technology” – originally designed for swimwear – reinforces leg movement between acceleration and braking maneuvers, providing less strain on muscles.
The rounded soles, which provide a larger contact area between the sole and the pedal, allow for smoother and more controlled movements when you press the pedal. The soles also allow for better heel rotation, stabilizing the wearer’s heels as their feet move between the accelerator and brake pedals. Contoured outsoles complete the Bareclutch sneakers, adding better grip between the sole and the pedals.
Start your engines – To match the sleek look of the cars they’ll be pushing the pedals with, the shoes’ supple artificial leather uppers come in clean monochromatic versions, including white, black and blue iterations. Each will be available from September 20, with pairs retailing on Mizuno’s website and in some stores. Once the sneakers drop, driving enthusiasts should race to catch the Barelutch before it sells out.