Heel Toe Downshifting

What is Heel Toe Downshifting?

Heel toe downshifting is a technique used by experienced drivers to smoothly shift gears while braking. It involves using the right foot to operate both the brake and accelerator pedals simultaneously. This technique is commonly used in performance driving situations, such as on a race track or during spirited driving on winding roads.

Why is Heel Toe Downshifting Important?

Heel toe downshifting allows the driver to maintain better control of the vehicle during deceleration. By matching the engine speed to the wheel speed, it helps to prevent sudden jerks or lurches that can upset the balance of the car. It also helps to minimize wear and tear on the clutch and transmission, resulting in smoother gear changes and increased longevity of these components.

Step-by-Step Guide to Heel Toe Downshifting

The following technique is the big toe/little toe style, as opposed to traditional heel/toe.  Most cars are easier to heel toe with this method.  If your pedals are too far apart or you have smaller feet you might find the traditional heel toe method better for you.

1. Approach the corner or braking zone and prepare to downshift.  Position your right foot slightly to the right side of the brake pedal so that you will be able to reach the gas pedal.  Properly sized pedals will make this much more natural feeling.

2. Apply the brakes with the ball of your right foot, while keeping the heel on the floor.

3. As you are braking, depress the clutch and blip the throttle with the right side of your right foot to increase the engine speed to try to match the RPM of the incoming gear.

4. Continue to brake and smoothly release the clutch pedal as you downshift.

5. Once the downshift is complete, release the clutch pedal fully and continue driving.

6. If done correctly you will not be able to feel the downshift.

Tips for Mastering Heel Toe Downshifting

- Practice the technique in a safe and controlled environment before attempting it on public roads.

- Start with slower speeds and gradually increase your braking level as you become more proficient.

- Pay attention to the timing and coordination of your foot movements to ensure smooth gear changes.

- Experiment with different pedal positions and foot placements to find what works best for you.

- Be patient and persistent. Heel toe downshifting is a skill that takes time to master.


Heel toe downshifting is a valuable technique for drivers who want to improve their control and performance on the road. By mastering this skill, you can enhance your driving experience and become a more confident and skilled driver. Practice regularly and soon you'll be heel toe downshifting like a pro!


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