If you’re racing on a budget, you’ll likely be looking for some cheap karting gloves. Gloves are an essential part of your safety gear, so you need to choose carefully. It helps to check out some of the best cheap karting gloves on the market.
The 4 best cheap karting gloves are:
- RaceQuip 351 Race Gloves
- Alpinestars Tech-1 Race S V2 Gloves
- K1 RaceGear RS1 Kart Racing Gloves
- Fly Racing Coolpro Mesh Gloves
All of the karting gloves found in this article balance affordability with quality, so any pair would make a great addition to your gear. Below, we’ll go into each pair in more detail, but first we’ll consider what you should look for when buying karting gloves.
What To Look For In Good Karting Gloves
Above all else, I spend some time lining 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. However, they’re not always the cheapest.
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!
But I can’t always afford new gear from the big brands that I know and love. 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 gloves. I personally spend a lot of time on Reddit, stalking the various karting sub-forums to learn from the experiences of others.
The Type Of Glove You Need
Another good tip to think about is the location where you’ll be doing most of your racing. If you live somewhere that rain and cold weather are rare, you might be better purchasing a pair of lightweight gloves as opposed to rugged multi-purpose ones. And if it rains and gets cold frequently where you live, don’t even consider those hot weather gloves!
Ideally, you want to own two pairs of gloves so you can alternate between them. I always owned standard kart racing gloves, and wet/cold weather gloves when racing competitively. Having cold, uncomfortable hands during races isn’t enjoyable and it can affect your performance too.
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.
SFI is a safety measure in place across motorsport that rates the flame retardancy of materials, normally present only in karting suits. Overall, karting has a very low risk of fire and as such, most gear doesn’t have to possess a high SFI number. In some cases, it isn’t a requirement at all.
But one piece of gear that should have a level of protection against fire is your pair of gloves. A lot of kart components get very hot after races, and your hands are often at risk of touching these areas when getting into and out of the kart.
Overall, you want gloves that feel comfortable, cut down your hand fatigue with extra grip, and last a long time. There’s no worse feeling than replacing gear shortly after buying new stuff! But what are the best budget friendly karting gloves you can buy?
The 4 Best Cheap Karting Gloves
1. RaceQuip 351 Race Gloves
Durable? Check! Comfortable? Check! Rated high on safety? Absolutely. These SFI-rated gloves from RaceQuip are the perfect combination of everything you need a pair of karting gloves to be. There’s a reason these are the bestselling product from the manufacturer’s line of gloves!
High SFI Rating
The RaceQuip 351 gloves have an SFI-rating of 3.3/1, which is the same level of protection as a lot of regular kart racing suits. This means they’ll give you protection that you can rely on.
Looking at the gloves, you might assume that they’re rather heavy, especially considering the protection rating given by SFI. However, RaceQuip have designed the 351s from a single layer of Nomex, a specialized hybrid material that gives the gloves a very supple, soft feel. The palms have gray suede leather grips, adding to a luxurious look and also providing a reinforced, high-grip material.
Unlike rubber palm grips, which perform poorly in the rain, the suede leather won’t absorb all of the water and will remain grippy even in a downpour. Long races in the wet won’t be ideal however, due to the Nomex not being very water-repellent, and so your hands will get wet after a while.
The glove is of ‘standard’ length, meaning that the cuff will neatly cover the cuffs of your kart racing suit. Long gloves are nice, but the longer cuff can often interfere with and make the cuffs of your suit feel uncomfortable. The 351s also have an adjustable hook and loop closure on them, so they can be as tight or loose on your wrist as you wish.
Flexibility in the glove comes from the sturdy yet supple Nomex, and how the reinforced suede is attached with very small, unobtrusive stitching. Oftentimes, fabric grips can be stitched heavily and they penetrate through into the inside of the glove itself. There’s no worse feeling than scratchy stitches on your hands while racing, so this is a nice touch.
Great Value For Money
The main reason I’ve placed these gloves so highly, aside from the myriad cool features, is the affordable price. All sizes of the gloves are available brand-new for an absolute steal when you consider the SFI rating. Normally, gloves that comply with SFI are quite expensive.
These are a fantastic pair of gloves for those starting out in karting, or intermediate drivers who need an alternate pair that will last a long time!
- SFI-rated to protect hands from burns/blistering
- Nomex material is durable and comfortable
- Standard cuff can interfere with some race suits
- Not the best looking gloves
2. Alpinestars Tech-1 Race S V2 Gloves
Alpinestars, while not a kart-specific manufacturer, have always produced quality gear for a reasonable price that’s pretty difficult to pass up. They mix style and substance together for great-looking products with amazing features.
Plenty Of Options
There are a few variants of the Tech-1 gloves, so it’s worth looking at all of the ones available before buying. The biggest differences are in the colors of each pair. I’ve chosen the Race S V2 version due to my familiarity with the V1s I used to wear, but all of the Tech-1 gloves will be great choices for any karting enthusiast!
The sleek, stylish look of these gloves makes them pretty striking. They’re very slim and will provide a bit more of a snug fit compared to the RaceQuip gloves, making them the ideal pick for racers who want a lightweight, thin glove that doesn’t interfere with their suit.
One of the biggest benefits of thinner gloves is the enhanced feel you will have on the steering wheel. Go-karts are very streamlined machines at their core, and the driver is naturally an important part of directing the kart. Feeling how the kart behaves before tough corners can often be the difference between advanced drivers and beginners.
Grippy & Comfortable
The Tech-1s are specifically designed not only for enhanced racing feel, but also for comfort and grip. The palms are fitted with synthetic suede leather for superb grip even in tricky weather, and the gloves themselves are made with a blend of polyester and polymesh – a fantastic combination for durability and also a great fit.
Alpinestars have taken ventilation and flexibility to new levels with the inclusion of mesh fourchettes on one half of the glove fingers, and lycra on the other half. Racing can be a sweaty business, and a lot of heat is generated in your hands, so having a built-in way to keep your hands dry is an absolute must.
Unlike the 351s, the Tech-1 gloves also possess a silicon surface treatment on the palms, giving them even better levels of grip, even in the pouring rain. Silicon stays very grippy even with the introduction of water.
A Snug Fit
The open cuffs on these gloves also means less fiddling with straps at the track, and a fully elasticated wrist means that the fit will be snug yet never too tight. The thumbs come equipped with touch compatible prints on them, so you can text and use your phone at the track while waiting for the race or during a race break.
It was a very close decision between the Tech-1s and 351s for the top spot, but ultimately the latter’s SFI-rating and value for money won out. The Tech-1’s are also a steal of a price for such a high-tech, competitive pair of gloves. Any level of driver can rely on consistent grip and a keen racing edge with these gloves!
- Lightweight, ventilated gloves to combat heat
- Silicon-treated palm allows for high grip even in wet weather
- Thin so not great for cold weather
- Open cuff doesn’t give much wrist support
3. K1 RaceGear RS1 Kart Racing Gloves
If you’re looking for something that’s both durable and comfortable with a dash of rugged charm, the RS1 gloves from K1 RaceGear are definitely the pair for you! They’re a brand dedicated to karting overall, so all of their products are designed to cater to the needs of go-kart racing enthusiasts.
RS stands for ‘reverse stitched,’ and that’s a huge part of the allure of these gloves beyond the fabric’s long lifespan and water repellency. Oftentimes, karting gloves are stitched on the insides and, depending on the material they’re made from, these stitches can hurt more than the gloves will benefit you.
K1 realized this fact and designed these gloves with all of the stitching to appear on the outside of the gloves, leaving the insides smooth, soft and comfortable. And in the fingers, where a lot of stitching has to collide, the RS1s offer what’s called a rolled fingertip design.
Normally, four separate stitches would end in the fingertips, but in these gloves, the fingertips are longer than normal and have been rolled down, hiding the necessary stitching for more comfort.
Down the sides of all the fingers in the glove you’ll find vented mesh, allowing for much-needed ventilation to prevent your hands from overheating and getting sweaty during races. This is a nice extra considering how durable and therefore thick the fabric is, making them a good pair of all-purpose gloves.
The cuff is angled and not straight-cut, allowing for more free movement in the arms due to the tapered design. And on the palms, you’ll find padded, grippy pads of fabric that not only reduce discomfort and risk of blistering, but they also provide you with that necessary extra grip while driving.
Variety Of Colors
The RS1 gloves come in five colors, allowing them to look good paired with whatever suit and gear you possess. However, the material is rather bulky compared to some gloves on this list, which can be both a positive and a negative depending on what you’re looking for.
If you choose this pair, you’ll be getting a solid pair of gloves that are ideal for people who want a step-up from beginner-level gloves without leaping into advanced levels.
- Reverse-stitching for extra comfort
- Great all-rounder pair of karting gloves
- Bulky and heavy compared to other gloves on this list
- Materials aren’t as high-grade as other brands
4. Fly Racing Coolpro Mesh Gloves
Fly Racing is a small brand that designs and makes affordable motor racing gear, primarily for motorcycling but fairly applicable to karting. These gloves are affordably-priced and they make for a great purchase, especially for those racing in warmer climates.
Unlike the other gloves I’ve covered, the CoolPro pair are short and have a special clasp that allows for wrist support. They won’t go over the cuffs of your race suit and will instead clasp over the ends of them, allowing for a comfortable fit that some people prefer when compared to longer cuffs on gloves.
They’re also pre-curved, which makes breaking them in much easier. It’s important to get your exact size due to this specific design, and the tight fit they’re made to have.
Above all else, these gloves are designed for use in hot weather or for kart drivers to use when driving warm-up laps. This is due to the thin material used and the large mesh back panels on the gloves, meaning that your hands won’t overheat even in the hottest of temperatures.
Lightweight But Grippy
As well as being great for racing in scorching temperatures, the palms are reinforced with Clarino artificial leather and they have a silicon print for maximum grip on the wheel. This makes them great for short racing stints and to push the kart hard, because your grip won’t suffer during that timeframe.
As you may imagine, the thin material isn’t great for use in the rain. Your hands would be soaked through in an instant, and cold weather wouldn’t be fun either. There isn’t anything to keep your hands warm, which is why these gloves are best as an alternate pair or for people who live in hot climates.
Not Race Approved
They also aren’t recognized for usage in karting competitions due to not meeting the minimum safety standards set by most race series. Affordable? Absolutely. Practical for every eventuality? Not really.
They won’t set you back too much, but due to them being so specialized and specific, they’ve had to come in last place for this list. Of the gloves we’ve looked at, these are best for hot weather racing and I’d encourage people to consider them as an alternate set, but not as your only pair.
- Thin, lightweight material is great for hot conditions
- Very grippy and comfortable
- Not the most practical
- Not suitable for usage in recognized karting races
All of the gloves on this list would serve you well as a beginner kart racer or even a more advanced driver, and they’re all fairly budget friendly. The cheapest overall are the Fly Racing mesh gloves, but the best cheap karting gloves are the RaceQuip 351s.
I created and have been writing on this site since 2019, collaborating with drivers, coaches, engineers and manufacturers to provide you with the most reliable information about motorsport. Find out more about me here.