Cornering of skid-steered vehicles without steering mechanism is realized by differential drive/brake torque generated from in-wheel motors at left and right sides. Compared to traditional Ackerman steered vehicles, skid-steered vehicles consume much more energy while cornering due to greater steering resistance. So torque allocation is critical to the distributed drive skid-steered vehicles, since it influences not only steering performance, but also energy consumption. Most researches of torque allocation control for distributed drive electric skid-steered vehicles have paid much attention to tire force characteristics or efficiency characteristics of electric motors, however, torque allocation control based on unique dynamic characteristics of skid-steered vehicles are seldom studied. In this paper, the dynamic characteristics of skid-steered vehicles with six wheels was analysed, and a 2-DOF vehicle model is established, which is important for both motion control and torque allocation control. Furthermore, a hierarchical control strategy is proposed. The upper layer calculates the generalized force based on anti-windup PI (proportion-integral) control. On the fundamental of dynamic characteristics of skid-steered vehicles and electric motor characteristics, the lower layer utilize different optimal torque allocation strategies based on energy efficiency at different driving conditions, such as straight-line driving, steering, and pivot steering. Finally, the proposed torque allocation strategy is verified by simulation. The control results of the proposed optimal algorithm show that much energy can be saved than that of equal torque allocation strategy.