Karting gloves are some of the most important parts of your safety gear, but they also offer performance benefits too. But knowing which ones to choose and what the differences are is key. So, it’s worth checking out the best karting gloves out there for advanced drivers.
The 6 best karting gloves for advanced drivers are:
- OMP Tecnica EVO Karting Gloves
- Alpinestars Radar Flight Karting Gloves
- OMP Rally Karting Gloves
- OMP Advanced Rainproof Karting Gloves
- OMP KS-3 Karting Gloves
- OMP KS-4 Karting Gloves
One of the amazing things about the karting industry is the sheer variety of brands that are now available on the market. I’ll go over the sorts of gloves you should be buying if you’re an advanced kart driver, and even look at ways to achieve competitive driving without spending a fortune.
The Best Protective/Endurance Karting Gloves
The best protective/endurance karting gloves are the Tecnica EVO gloves from OMP. These are a great looking pair of gloves that offer durability, high levels of grip, and overall an excellent experience. They’re not the cheapest, but they are some of the best on the market.
Protecting Your Hands
When you get right down to it, all karting gloves are designed with protection in mind. All good pairs will come with an FIA certificate of safety attached, which states that the fabric of the gloves was tested and found to be fireproof and abrasion proof – absolute necessities in terms of safety.
Not only that, but all pairs above $30 at the very least should have some kind of palm and finger grips to reduce fatigue over long periods of time. The effectiveness of these features will depend on many factors, but first and foremost, looking at the most prominent kart racing brands is a surefire way to be assured of great quality.
What To Look For
If you’re looking for a pair of more ‘rugged’ gloves, always look for fabric which reflects that. Gloves such as the Tecnica EVO by OMP are made of a somewhat hardened fabric that will feel stiffer to the touch.
This sort of feeling is ideal for higher protection gloves due to the extra rigidity. And if you’re in endurance races, that extra structure will keep your hands feeling more supported when compared to the lightweight racing glove varieties.
Stitches will be exposed and on the glove’s exterior to add extra durability and allow for yet more comfort. You will often be able to find gloves that have silicone or leather inserts that will sit around your wrists, adding yet more support for long periods of racing.
These kinds of gloves are an absolute must for endurance races when your hands and body will be taking the most prolonged punishment. Prices will vary, but typically expect these more protective, hardened gloves to be within the $60 to $120 range, although the best options can be much more expensive.
The Best Lightweight Karting Gloves
The best lightweight karting gloves are the Radar Flight gloves from Alpinestars. This is a well-known brand in the space, and these gloves are designed to offer plenty of grip and comfort in a lightweight package that won’t leave your hands feeling fatigued when you’re racing.
Another great lightweight option is the OMP Rally gloves, which not only look visually striking but also offer great performance in a lightweight form factor. These gloves are designed for durability and comfort, and the material is breathable but also long-lasting.
Who These Gloves Are For
If you’re looking to take part in short sprint races, you’ll need a certain element of lightness on your side for extra speed and every edge you can find. For these sprints, you can afford to peel back some of the all-singing, all-dancing layers on high-end gloves for good wheel grip without heavy leather or extra pads weighing you down.
Different manufacturers will have various ways of achieving this effect in their products, so it’s worth researching loads of different types of gloves before really knuckling under for a pair of lightweight gloves that won’t hurt your hands.
The common theme between gloves in this category is the lightweight composition, whether it be with a special spandex fitting or Nomex fabric that can be 2-layer bonded without adding extra weight.
Aside from being lightweight and therefore not weighing down your kart overall, having a pair of lighter gloves at your disposal is great for optimum feeling and control of the steering wheel. In dry conditions, this can sometimes be better than a more expensive pair!
Because of how simplistic these gloves can be, they definitely won’t be breaking the bank. You can expect price ranges to vary between $30 at the lowest and $120 at the absolute highest. In short, it’s well worth the price you’ll pay to get that extra edge!
The Best Seasonal Karting Gloves
The best seasonal karting gloves are the Advanced Rainproof gloves from OMP. These are excellent gloves for when the rain starts falling, as they offer plenty of grip without being too heavy. They’ll also keep your hands warm in cold weather, and they offer great value for money.
Why Buy Seasonal Karting Gloves?
While I was racing karts competitively, I had two pairs of go-to gloves which changed depending on whether I was racing in Autumn/Winter or Spring/Summer. The last thing you want is numb fingers if you’re using lightweight gloves in cold weather and sweaty hands if you’re using heavy gloves in hot weather. Anything that lessens your ability to control the kart is an absolute no-go.
You also need to account for wet-weather racing. Karts generally don’t like the rain and it’s a total nightmare changing to wet weather tires, plus you’ve got your waterproof over-suit on, and it can be pretty miserable. Having soaking wet hands because you’re wearing the wrong gloves just adds to the pain!
Quite a few manufacturers offer specific wet-weather gear for these occasions. They’re specifically designed with water-repellent fabrics and the rubber palm pads are treated in the same way, using compounds that remain grippy even in torrential downpour.
You’ll also often find fleece linings on the inside that keep your hands warm in the winter months. As long as you aren’t wearing gloves like these during hot races and instead pick up a pair of lightweight ones, you’ll be fine. These gloves can get a little expensive, but that’s to be expected with all the benefits they have to offer.
The Best Budget Karting Gloves
The best budget karting gloves are the KS-3 gloves from OMP. These are a cost-effective option for beginners looking for their first pair of karting gloves, or for those that just want to keep a cheaper pair on hand. They’re durable, comfortable, and they offer decent grip too.
An alternative to the KS-3 gloves is the KS-4 set, also from OMP. These gloves have a different aesthetic and a slightly lower price point, and they’re made from leather and suede, rather than the faux leather, silicone and rubber of the KS-3 karting gloves.
A Great Starting Point
Every big manufacturer of karting gear will offer budget kart gloves that do the job almost as nicely as their premium pairs. If you’re looking for general budget alternatives, look no further than brands such as OMP, K1 or RaceQuip. Sure, they might not be as stylish as the big manufacturers, but the gloves that they produce are great places to start for beginners or for those that need a spare pair.
K1 especially has a wide range of gloves for every budget and purpose, meaning you can buy multiple pairs and switch between them without breaking the bank. Otherwise, I’ll always recommend Alpinestars as a go-to cheaper brand that’s also well-known and well-loved in the karting sphere.
There’s a huge variety of kart gloves out there for any racing situation you can imagine. Being able to switch between pairs of gloves is invaluable for an experienced kart driver due to the distinct advantages that each one can provide, and it means you’ll be far more prepared for almost anything the track will throw at you.
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