As one of the most affordable, accessible motorsports out there, you’ll find that snagging bargains in the world of karting is easier than you’d think. Karting boots can seem pretty expensive if you don’t know where to look! Let me share some tricks of the trade to help with that.
So, what are the best cheap karting boots? My top pick would be the Sparco Gamma KB-4 pair for their perfect blend of affordability, durability and racing pedigree. They’re the culmination of fantastic technology and karting experience accrued by Sparco over a long span of producing great products.
But it wouldn’t be an ultimate list without… you know, a collection of different boots, right? Through my wealth of karting experience and first-hand knowledge, I’ll be reviewing kart boots and also offering advice as to what you should look for in each pair.
What To Look For In Good Karting Boots
When buying any gear for karting as a motorsport, it’s important to have a semblance of budget in mind. You need a lot of stuff that’s in good shape, after all, for both safety and a racing edge! And the amount of choice that’s out there can be pretty daunting. How can you ever know what makes a pair of boots objectively good?
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I started karting aged 5, and took part in racing series until turning 18; quite the long time spent in karts! That time has taught me a thing or two about everything that goes with karting, not just the actual racing. There are always a few notable things I look for when buying a new pair of karting boots to guarantee quality for a long time.
Above all else, I spend some time to line up kart brands that I’ve come to trust. In my experience, the best ones out there without a shadow of a doubt are OMP, Sparco and Alpinestars. At some time or other I’ve had gear from these manufacturers and they haven’t let me down.
Familiarity with brands is very important in karting, because it’s a hobby built on trust and reliability. You don’t want to take a chance on an outlier brand whose gloves don’t even last two races!
Now that I’m ‘grown-up’, however, I can’t always afford new gear from the big brands that I loved when karting as a kid. That’s when I turn to the internet and more importantly, reviews written by people who have owned budget brands. That’s how I found RaceQuip, a kart brand that specifically produces high-quality gear for an affordable price.
Doing your research is a huge part of how you can find a good pair of boots. I personally spend a lot of time on Reddit, stalking the varied go-kart and karting sub-forums to learn from the experiences of others.
You’ve probably noticed that there are a few different styles of karting boots out there on the market by now, especially if you’ve been browsing and shopping around. This difference comes down to personal preference as to whether you’d prefer the boot style, or the shoe style in your karting footwear.
Because of this, make sure to try on some pairs at a karting store before you commit to buying one specific type. The last thing you want is a pair of boots that you don’t like the feel of! This will also help you find the proper size in your karting boots, because they can sometimes differ from normal sizing that you’re used to in regular shoes.
I’d also suggest not to get too hung-up on your budget as a solid, unshifting figure. Sometimes, an extra $5 or $10 can get you something way better in terms of quality and longevity, so it becomes worth that extra spend at the time.
Overall, you want boots that feel comfortable, cut down the foot fatigue that comes with repetitive motion and will otherwise last a long time. There’s no worse feeling than replacing gear shortly after buying new stuff, after all!
The 4 Best Cheap Karting Boots
Through a huge collection of market research, I’ve found the 4 best pairs of karting boots out there right now. I set a top-line budget of $100 to bring the best of kart boots on a budget, so without any further delay, let’s take a look:
- Sparco Gamma KB-4 Kart Shoes
- RaceQuip 303 Series SFI Racing Shoes
- Zamp ZR-30 Race Shoes
- G-Force GF-236 Pro Shoes
1. Sparco Gamma KB-4 Kart Shoes
This karting shoe might be the most expensive on my list, but it isn’t for nothing! Sparco is a well-respected and loved brand within the karting world, with many people swearing by their product quality and longevity. These sleek, comfortable and durable boots are no exception to that rule, and they have a host of features that make them worth every penny.
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Available in five color palettes, the KB-4 is a rather unique karting boot for a few reasons. First and foremost, the style of these boots is somewhat different compared to what you’ve come to be familiar with. They offer the best of both worlds when it comes to a boot and shoe style, and this is because of the mid-boot design.
They offer the sturdiness of a boot, but mitigate the often-uncomfortable high-top that some kart drivers don’t really enjoy.
When driving karts, you want proper support for your ankles and as such, the full shoe style doesn’t really offer much of that. Yet many people dislike the complete high-top boot. Knowing this and flexing their research muscles, Sparco designed this mid-top with the aim of satisfying many in the karting world.
Alongside the unique design, you’ll find a host of both performance-based and quality features inside the boots. To enhance a driver’s grip and pedal sensitivity, the KB-4s come equipped with anatomic insoles that are the perfect fit for the soles of feet. This tailor-made design also allows the driver better control of their feet, increasing the feel they receive through their boots.
In order to give added protection and longevity in long, grueling races, the insoles also have built-in impact absorption in the heels and toes. That sort of addition can mean the difference between finishing and not finishing an endurance-style race!
Even down to the soles themselves, the striking look has a huge purpose. They’re designed to be asymmetrical, putting parts of the sole on the outsides of the boot itself at points of high wear. This is not only more comfortable for the driver, but it also protects the boot from becoming worn out faster than it otherwise would.
Sparco designed this sole purposely to reinforce these high-stress areas when the driver pivots their feet, a very common thing in karting. It shows their dedication to producing purpose-made footwear that drivers themselves have been clamoring for.
You won’t find a better karting boot for its absolute durability and race feel. For their price, you’re truly getting a bargain if you consider that Sparco boots are used in even the highest levels of kart racing! A truly pedigree boot for a reasonable price, even if it might be above the budget range of some beginner drivers.
- Anatomic soles with impact absorption technology
- Mid-boot design offers the benefits of both a shoe and boot in one
- Doesn’t have as many features as some others on this list
2. RaceQuip 303 Series SFI Racing Shoes
I mentioned RaceQuip as being one of the best parts of my research process following my ascension into adult karting circuits, and there’s a reason for that beyond their affordable prices! They offer safe, long-lasting gear for every budget, and their most popular boot is no exception to that rule.
For being called racing ‘shoes’, the 303s are actually a high-top boot style. One of the biggest benefits of this cut rather than the athletic shoe variant is the added fire safety you have if the worst happens in your kart. The ankles are a very vulnerable area, especially to burns, so having them covered is often considered a must in some karting circles.
To add to this fact, all of RaceQuip’s gear has varied levels of SFI protection as standard. SFI is something which kart suits must abide by in order to be sold and used in kart racing, because the SFI scale measures flame retardance.
These boots have a remarkably high SFI rating, higher than a lot of kart suits, measuring in at 3.3/5 on the scale. If you’re conscious of safety or even if you aren’t, this sort of coverage is reassuring and helps bring added assurance to a sometimes-perilous sport.
They’re made from suede for a comfortable fit, mitigating a lot of kart drivers’ woes about stiff, unforgiving boots. They also have a soft, springy ankle cuff so that your ankles won’t be chafed under repetitive heel-toe movements.
What impressed me so much about these boots was the inclusion of an Achilles flex opening in the back of the shoe; a feature normally seen on high-level, professional kart boots. This allows for full foot extension without discomfort on the backs of your heels, unlocking access to full-throttle power!
The whole boot provides much-needed support for your feet, especially with the rolled-up, molded rubber sole. This refers to the sole actually stretching up and to the heel of the shoe, providing an extra layer of reinforcement.
All of the seams are double-stitched, something which speaks volumes of the extra care taken to make sure that these boots will last a long time. Between that and the reinforced boot laces, you won’t be finding the typical wear on these boots anytime soon.
If you pick these, you’ll be getting a pair of boots that feel durable and well-worth their price. You won’t be losing out on any of your racing edge, either, due to the soft overall feel of the boots and their flexibility.
- Amazing value for money
- High SFI rating of 3.3/5
- Sole is quite thick, doesn’t have as much race feel as other boots
- Although made of safe material, not necessarily high-quality material
3. Zamp ZR-30 Race Shoes
Another brand that I found as an affordable yet reputable one in my search is Zamp, a manufacturer who generally works within racing and auto sports to provide competitively priced gear with good, long-lasting materials. These race shoes are lightweight yet boast durable suede as their primary component, so they offer the best of both racing and practicality!
First and foremost, the ZR-30s might look a bit similar to another kart boot on my list… namely, the Sparco KB-4s! They both have the mid-top style, which I talked about before as being the perfect compromise between a shoe and full boot.
This style also allows for the boots to be very breathable and flexible, also largely due Zamp’s choice to use suede. The last thing you want during a race is your feet becoming overheated and sweaty, because it will degrade your racing performance as you won’t be able to commit to pedal pressure in the same way.
Something else designed for race performance is the thin, flexible sole that provides kart drivers with the feel they need when using their pedals. Your feet and hands will be reacting to your kart’s behaviors to keep it under control and racing at peak performance after all, so keeping these extremities tuned into the kart is a real must.
A nice touch is the tensioner built into the boots to stop laces from becoming undone or loose during races. There’s nothing more frustrating than having this happen while you’re out on the track, because you’ll lose all of the foot support that your boots are supposed to provide and it won’t be comfortable, to say the least.
As well as being designed to give a driver their racing edge, the boots are also very safety-forward. Zamp have made the kart boots out of SFI-rated materials, to a rating of 3.3/5 which is the same as the RaceQuip boots I mentioned before!
They are, otherwise, lacking in competitive features which is why they’re placed lower down the list than the 303s. Aside from being lightweight and breathable, the Zamp boots are simply RaceQuips that aren’t put together as well. Although the rating is close, not having something such as the Achilles flex opening is a real let-down.
These shoes compete with Zamp’s main competitor, RaceQuip, and they lack the selling points in the 303s and especially the KB-4s made by Sparco. If you are situated in an especially hot location, however, I would recommend these boots due to their breathable composition giving them a slight edge over other brands.
- Thin sole, allows for great pedal feel
- Lightweight, breathable shoes perfect for long races
- Lacking in features that RaceQuip possess
- Suede material isn’t very rain-friendly
4. G-Force GF-236 Pro Shoes
Sleek, stylish and long-lasting? What’s not to love about the GF-236 Racing Shoes made by G-Force? It goes without saying that these boots are some of the best-looking in this kart boot lineup, and they have some substance to back-up that great exterior.
These boots are a true high-top fashion, which means they provide fantastic ankle support and protection against fire should the worst happen while you’re out racing. They possess a chunky strap which not only helps fasten the boots properly, but it is designed to secure the boot laces to avoid them interfering with your drive; something which can often happen.
The GF-236s have a pretty remarkable sole described as being “radial-grip” by G-Force. This is a pretty cool way of saying that the sole resembles car tires, with a unique tread that helps keep traction in a variety of conditions.
This sole also rolls up the heel a bit to provide a molded fit, adding extra support to your ankles. It also stretches to the outsides of the kart driver’s foot, providing protection from boot wear and tear when you jab at the pedals in the heat of a crazy race!
Although not as profoundly obvious as the 303s, these boots also have a small cut-out in the back of the heel to allow for the rocking motion of your heels when under a lot of driving stress. This sort of feature is pretty crucial for long races where the repetitive motion could always cause chafing and discomfort.
Unlike the other boots on this list, the GF-236s are made of a rather rigid leather material; shiny and lacquered to look at. This adds to the boot’s durability, and they’ll perform better in the rain than fabric boots unless the latter are properly treated.
If you’re the sort of person who enjoys matching sets, look no further! G-Force made these boots alongside a whole collection of gloves, too, so you can rock up at the track looking the part of a pro racer in complete racing attire.
The biggest downside of these boots and why I can’t rate them higher, in spite of these being a very attractive option, is the price compared to the quality of materials used. G-Force have tried to pitch these within the ballpark of the Sparco boots and I’d classify those as pretty luxury-standard.
And for the amount you pay, you’ll get a pair of stiff, rigid boots that aren’t very forgiving. You’ll spend more time breaking them in than wearing them at the track to begin with, unless you’re okay with blisters after half a race!
- Radial-grip soles
- Velcro strap keeps laces in check
- Stiff, unforgiving material feels cheap
- Uncomfortable for the price you’ll pay
So there we have it, readers! A collection of solid picks for cheap yet not budget (at least in performance) boots that’ll be great additions to your gear. And even if these pairs aren’t for you, I hope that my insight into what makes a pair of boots good/ worth buying will help in your search going forward!