One of the key parts of your kit in kart racing is definitely a good pair of boots. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which are the best ones for you. That’s why it helps to check out a list of the best karting boots on the market.
The 5 best karting boots are:
- Sparco Superleggera KB-10 Karting Shoes
- OMP KS-1 Karting Shoes
- Adidas Daytona Series Racing Shoes
- Sparco Omega KB-6 Karting Shoes
- Alpinestars Tech-1 T Karting Shoes
Below, we go into more detail about each of these karting shoes so that you can decide which are best for you. But first, let’s discuss all the things you should consider when buying a pair of go-karting shoes.
How To Choose Karting Boots
In my experience, the best brands 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.
Do Your Research
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, checking out karting sub-forums for gems of knowledge from those with experience who can share their insights on specific boots.
Choose Your Style
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, 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 number. Sometimes, an extra $30 or $40 can get you something way better in terms of quality, features and longevity, so it becomes worth the extra cash over time.
What To Look For In Karting Boots
The key things to look for in karting boots are:
- Lightweight materials
- Anti-fatigue features
- Thin sole
As you can probably imagine, comfort is a no-brainer when looking at kart footwear. No matter whether you’re in a short sprint or an endurance race, the last thing you want are blisters and general discomfort while you’re racing. It’ll become the only thing you think about!
It’s important to pick out the right size of shoe, and as I mentioned before, to choose a style of kart boot that you like – whether it be a full boot, mid-top, or low-top shoe.
Choosing lightweight gear in karting will give you a huge competitive edge, because there’ll be less weight in your kart and it can sometimes give you extra speed compared to heavier kart racers around you. It’ll also add to the overall comfort factor, because who wants to feel as if they’re carrying around bricks on their feet when you want to be making quick inputs on the pedals?
One of the worst things while karting is to have hot feet. Sweat will inhibit your ability to press down on pedals with purpose, because your feet will be slipping inside of the boot. Always choose a boot that offers some kind of breathable material and you’ll be grateful you did so, both in terms of comfort and performance.
Foot fatigue is a real killer, trust me. Especially in endurance races when you’re making up to 200 laps of a circuit, the last thing you want is your feet to start cramping and generally feeling sloppy on the pedals. To combat this, good kart boots have various features to reduce foot fatigue.
One such feature to look for is an elasticated or open Achilles flex in boot heels, which is a real life-saver for avoiding blisters and repetitive strain. Another fantastic feature in good-quality kart boots is the inclusion of a shock absorbing insole of some kind. Anything that will cushion your foot during races will help minimize foot fatigue.
Another must-have on your kart shoes is a thin sole. So much of karting is about feel – this mystical thing that allows you to react to track conditions and how your kart is moving before you can see it. Having as little distance between your feet and the pedals as possible will really help you achieve this consistently, race after race.
Last, but certainly not least, you need really good grip on the soles of your karting boots. You’re open to the elements and everything that comes with it while go-karting. Always look for boots or shoes that have a specialized, grippy sole that’ll help you continue racing without slipping, even if the rain starts falling.
The 5 Best Karting Boots
1. Sparco Superleggera KB-10 Karting Shoes
The best of the best in karting begins with these amazing, top-quality karting shoes made by Sparco, a manufacturer that has been working within motorsports in general and karting in particular for many years. They designed this footwear with excellence in mind, and they’re described as being tailor-made for the top levels of competitive karting.
First and foremost, the Superleggera was designed to be ultra-lightweight in its composition. Sparco wanted to make a kart boot that could be used by professional teams in the racing circuit, because at those levels, they’re always searching for the lightest gear to gain every possible edge against their opponents.
This is achieved by using a blend of leather and fabric, providing the durability you want without overloading on weight. The specific combination also gives the karting shoe a very comfortable fit with high levels of breathability for those long, grueling races.
As a culmination of their years in motorsport, Sparco have also developed a special lightweight sole for the Superleggeras. This will enhance your overall feel on the pedals and work together with the unique material composition to keep a light, comfortable boot.
The sole is also non-slip. It will remain grippy even if fuel and oil find their way into the kart, and especially if you get caught in a downpour. As with any good karting boot, the sole doesn’t just stay on the bottom of a shoe!
The Superleggeras also have an outsole, which is a small part of the sole extended to the outsides of the boot to protect the fragile boot from wear, as you can often make frenzied pedal inputs in the haste of a race that catch this section of the shoe. It is also molded with a bit of sole that stretches up to the heel to reduce wear from rocking foot motions.
Inside the boots, you’ll find an elasticated panel at the rear (just above the heel) to allow for easier movement. Blistering in this area is very common, due to how often you’ll be increasing and releasing pedal pressure.
Perhaps one of my favorite features of these boots is the pre-shaped latex insole for the ultimate, cradled fit. Due to how latex functions, being almost rubber-like but keeping impressions made in it, the boots essentially have memory foam embedded in them for extra comfort.
The cost of the Superleggeras, for professional-level boots, is a complete and utter steal. Between the focus on absolute comfort, lightweight build, anti-fatigue features and the highest quality of materials used, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better kart boot!
- Professional-level lightweight materials
- Ultra-thin yet sturdy sole for amazing pedal feel
- Breathable material on the upper isn’t water-resistant
- Very expensive
2. OMP KS-1 Karting Shoes
You can’t get very far in karting without coming across OMP, a company dedicated to all things motorsports and with a specialized focus on karting. They use their research and findings in the world stage of motor racing to bring the best of the best to the gear that they make, and the quality really shines through.
The first thing you’ll notice when browsing these boots is the distinctive choice of colors on offer. Aesthetics aren’t the most important thing to consider when buying karting gear, don’t get me wrong, but the ability to choose colors that match your suit and gloves is a nice bonus!
The style of these karting shoes may look familiar to you if you follow professional motorsports in any capacity, and there’s a good reason for that. OMP took inspiration from F1 and the WRC while making their kart-specific racing shoes, and the style has benefits as well as looking professional.
For starters, they’re a mid-top kart boot, which a lot of people find preferable compared to the complete boot or low-top shoe. They’ll give your feet the required support and structure needed for kart racing, without potentially rubbing blisters at the backs of your heels.
The boots themselves are mainly made out of polyurethane, a flexible, lightweight and durable material that balances all necessary traits in a good pair of karting boots. Its unique composition also provides a way of supporting the foot without being stiff or restrictive. They also boast an amount of heat resistance too.
In a similar vein of making a lightweight pair of racing shoes, the outsoles on the base of the boots are thin and light to allow for good pedal feel.
Full Range Of Movement
The backs of the boots on the inside have similar elasticated material for improved comfort and a pivot heel design for smooth actuation, even at full and partial foot extension. All of that is fancy wording for comfortable, responsive inserts in the shoe that are purposefully designed for heavy pedal usage.
Laced up with tension laces instead of having to tie them means there’s one less thing to worry about while racing, and the Velcro ankle strap can be adjusted for your comfort, whether you prefer a tighter or looser fit.
To bring it all together, large portions of the shoe have a breathable mesh to help circulation around your feet to combat sweat development and discomfort during long races, or even during short, hot weather races.
These kart shoes are at the cheaper end of the pricing scale, but the quality and features boast of a professional tier boot that’ll stand the test of many hard races.
- Thin sole allows for amazing feel while driving
- Pivot-heel design reduces repetitive strain risk
- A bit rigid-feeling and weighty
- Not wet-weather friendly
3. Adidas Daytona Series Racing Shoes
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: Adidas doing kart racing shoes? It seems pretty wild to think about, but the sneaker brand has expanded into this area with great success and with high praise from kart enthusiasts the world over. They offer two types of kart boots, and I’ll be looking at their premium brand that everybody’s raving about.
These boots were developed and tested by Adidas drivers. The Daytona boots are made of full-grain Taurus leather on the upper parts, some of the finest and lightest leather money can buy. Not only is leather durable, but the right type (such as the Taurus leather these shoes feature) is very supple and comfortable too.
Lightweight & Safe
Adidas opted to use Nomex as the material for the lining due to how lightweight and safety-forward it is. It’s a special material designed to be flame retardant, so if the worst happens in your kart, your feet will be protected.
The bottoms of these boots are also highly practical, due to the oil and flame-retardant rubber material they’re made of. Oil spills in your kart won’t be a problem while you’re racing, and you’ll keep your footing no matter how slippery it gets!
A Durable Karting Shoe
On the soles and sides of the boots, you’ll find anti-abrasion rubberized print for increased durability, something rather unique to this shoe specifically. Most kart boots offer this feature as an extension from the sole, on the sides of the toes to avoid wear in that high-pressure area. But you can snag and wear down your boots elsewhere too, so this extra durability feature is very practical.
A special gusset area is embedded into the backs of the boots to be gentle on the driver’s heels, even while under repetitive movement that would otherwise cause blistering.
Overall, Adidas has thought about and included a lot of premium features in their Daytona series of kart boots. For the price, you’ll receive a kart boot that’s not only durable, but nicely lightweight and certain to last longer than a lot of others on the market.
- Anti-abrasion prints on the boots to mitigate wear and tear
- Leather makes them sturdier than most boots
- Stiff and a bit unforgiving before they’re properly broken in
- Not very breathable compared to other boots on this list
4. Sparco Omega KB-6 Karting Shoes
It wouldn’t be a list of excellent karting boots if Sparco didn’t appear more than once! The Omega model of boots is described as being part of a “premier” karting range, taking advantage of innovative technology and features to keep giving you a racing edge if the professional-level feels a bit out of reach.
The shoes are another of Sparco’s distinctive mid-top design, which gives both the benefits of a stiff high-top and loose low-top shoe. There are more options for color with the Omega boots, which can bring together your whole karting attire to ensure you’re recognizable in a race!
They’re made of a combination material, using both soft leather and lightweight perforated mesh, which combines for the perfect balance of breathability and comfort. No matter the heat of the day, your feet won’t be getting too hot thanks to this incredibly breathable shoe!
If you’re not a fan of bulky Velcro straps around or near your ankles, like most karting boots feature, you’ll really enjoy the fact that the Omegas have a thin strap instead. This will still help with ankle support, but won’t feel as obstructive.
To truly enhance grip and pedal sensitivity, Sparco have designed an anatomic insole with elastic Achilles support combined, allowing the heels to move freely while karting. No more blisters or rubbing, regardless of how much you move your feet! The fact that the insole is specifically molded to your foot will unlock all new potential for feeling through the boots, combined with the ultralight outer sole.
This sole is also anti-slip, anti-static and entirely oil resistant, giving you extra grip even in challenging conditions. They’re at the cheaper end of the budget range, but not for lack of features! The Omegas are great boots for competitive beginners or racers who’d classify themselves as intermediate, or even trying to jump into premier levels of competition.
- Affordable excellence
- Highly breathable
- Not as supple/comfortable as some other boots
- Leather quickly shows signs of wear under frequent use
5. Alpinestars Tech-1 T Karting Shoes
Last but certainly not least, we have Alpinestars and their Tech-1 T series of karting shoes. When I started karting in the bigger kids’ leagues, the Tech-1 karting gear was seen almost everywhere – mostly for the eye-catching looks, but also for the quality! They may be in 5th place on this list, but they’re still one of the best pairs of kart racing boots out there.
A Reputable Name
If you’ve been in karting for any length of time, you’ll have heard of Alpinestars and their popularity. They offer quality, stylish products for an affordable price, so they’re very much a beloved brand.
They re-design and improve their Tech-1 series of gear a lot, and their ‘T’ rendition of kart boots is no exception! They offer the flexible mid-top style, which caters to drivers who like the full boot and the kart shoe design, due to having the benefits of both.
The Tech-1 T’s are made with bovine leather and suede combined, with a specially designed suede ‘collar’ to be soft on your ankles. As with many other pairs of boots on this list, they have a cut-away section in the heels to allow free movement while operating the kart pedals. The decision to use supple leather and suede, plus the Achilles cut-away, all point to a comfortable boot.
Lightweight & Comfortable
Everything in these kart racing shoes was considered to create a very lightweight piece of footwear, even down to the single layered Velcro strap, which acts as an extra ankle support without being uncomfortable.
The soles on these boots were entirely redesigned compared to previous Tech-1s, and this is due to the introduction of a tread pattern mimicking an asymmetric tire. This specific tread is designed to be extra grippy, assisted by the material being water and oil repellent. Your feet won’t be slipping off the pedals, that’s for sure!
The soles are thicker than most kart boot soles, which gives an extra layer of comfort while driving, but does diminish the aspect of ‘feel’ that kart drivers seek. There is an outer toe protector on the shoe to add an extra layer of durability where you’d first see wear and tear from excessive use.
All in all, the Tech-1 kart shoes are lightweight and responsive, but the lack of a thin sole specifically made for feeling through the pedals is ultimately what decided its position on our list. If you find thin soles to be uncomfortable, these boots would be perfect for you! Overall, they’re a pretty affordable and long-lasting boot for karting.
- Highly durable yet also lightweight
- Unique, grippy tread pattern on the soles
- Thicker sole than average may offer less feel
- Not very breathable
The best kart racing boots are the Sparco Superleggera KB-10 Karting Shoes, thanks to their excellent look, high comfort factor, and superior build quality. A good budget choice from the same brand are the Omega KB-6 Karting Shoes.