Introducing Chicane: The Sole of Racing
The future is here, and it's like having performance tires on your feet! Chicane: The Sole of Racing is the FIRST motorsports safety manufacturer to offer gender-specific designs, fits, and sizes. All Chicane footwear arrives complete with an ergonomic insole with a deep heel cup and proper arch support to keep the foot in a neutral position, one of the features that made Chicane's founders' previous shoe company a very successful one.
Staff at our Sterling, Virginia Headquarters raved about the incredibly sturdy construction and fantastic sole, stating, "Clearly, Chicane footwear was designed by a shoe specialist, not just a racing equipment specialist."
"Unlike many racing shoes on the market, these offer great traction thanks to the Michelin® rubber soles." The innovation that went into these shoes is obvious from the second you lace them up. They are practical, stylish and well made says David Bowen, who you've likely spoken to if calling into OG.
Our in-house lady racer Livi appreciated the all-day comfort and thoughtful color options for the ladies-specific sizes. "It's comforting knowing that manufacturers are noticing and filling the void in ladies-specific safety gear as Women continue to become more and more involved in motorsports, weather track days, or wheel-to-wheel racing. "
Continue reading to learn the story behind Chicane footwear!
Fueled by a Strong Passion for Motorsports and Footwear, Chicane was Born at the Track
By John Connelly – Founder and CEO of Chicane Racing Footwear
I started going to sports car races when I was 16, first to VIR and the following year to Sebring, Daytona, and Watkins Glen. I continued going to races while in college, and it became my dream to be a race car driver one day. The smell of race fuel, the fantastic engine sounds, and the incredible cars were all in my blood. But life got in the way for 50+ years.
After selling my outdoor footwear company in 2018, I was able to focus my attention on auto racing and embrace the sport like never before. It was amazing and exhilarating to realize my dream of racing. Still, I was missing the footwear business in the back of my mind. Early one evening, after the track went cold and after a couple of beers, I mentioned to my racing buddy, Scott, that we should start a new footwear brand for motorsports enthusiasts to offset some of our track expenses. Scott, always up for an adventure, said, "let's do it." Having been in the footwear industry for 40+ years, I had the experience and connections to develop premium racing footwear. With Scott's long history in the racing community, he knew many key players and brought authenticity to the concept.
The plan was hatched. The original idea was to approach the market with a women's only line of racing footwear. Female participation in motorsports is still relatively small but is a growing subset, and most racing organizations are trying to attract more women to the sport. I knew that all the other brands just offered unisex sizing and fit, so this would allow us to keep the line tight and offer the market something that wasn't available elsewhere.
As we began to develop some product concepts, I decided we should offer both men's and women's styles, and I started thinking about how we could differentiate Chicane from the competition other than just offering women's specific sizing and fit. I had a contact at Michelin and called to tell him about our plans. I suggested that since they have the #1 racing tire wouldn't it make sense to connect the driver to the car in same way tires connect the car to the track? He said, "great idea" and our partnership and collaboration with Michelin began. We'd now have the best soles for driving and racing; to connect the driver to the pedals by incorporating Pilot Sport tread designs and Michelin's grippy and durable compounds.
Unfortunately, Covid started to rage, causing delays and all kinds of challenges. We had second thoughts about timing, but we were committed. I hired a well-known designer, a product development ace and a marketing guru, all serious car guys. We decided to use lightweight PU for our thin midsoles in place of EVA to provide better durability and support. In addition to performance, we also focused on comfort and fit. The shoes are slim but have more room in the toe-box than Euro brands. All styles have a proven, genuine ergonomic insole with a deep heel cup and proper arch to keep the foot in a neutral position improving performance, comfort, fit, and feel, one of the features that made my previous company so successful. The shoes ended up being so comfortable most people leave them on all day.
In early 2022 we were able to soft-launch the brand with our Track Day shoe called the Speedster, and in late summer, we delivered our GT collection of racing shoes. The silver lining of the delays is that it allowed us more time for testing. Our pro driver, Dylan Murry, was driving in the Porsche Carrera Cup Challenge Series and in IMSA LMP2. We spent many hours driving in prototype shoes. Dylan, driving in LMP2 was on the podium at the Rolex 24, 12 hours of Sebring and Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen wearing our GT1 model. Lots of Champagne soaked shoes!
The launch was successful, so I bought a GT4 Clubsport factory race car. Now, I'm close to turning 76, and I should finally have my competition license 60 years after it all started.