You can enhance your sim racing experience dramatically by wearing a pair of dedicated sim racing shoes or boots. However, there are a lot of different options out there, so we’ve narrowed things down to our list of the best sim racing shoes on the market.
The 5 best sim racing shoes are:
- Abruzzi Personalized Sim Racing Boot
- Alpinestars Tech-1 T Shoe
- Fast Track Sims Sheet Sole Sim Racing Shoes
- OMP KS-3 Shoes
- Goodyear Clutch-E Boots
Below, we’ll go through each of these shoes in more detail so that you can pick the right ones for your setup. And to make your decision even easier, we’ll then discuss everything you need to consider when choosing a sim racing boot.
- • Durable but lightweight
- • Lots of grip
- • Heel cutaway for free movement
- • Very lightweight
- • Achilles flex insert
- • Good looking pair of shoes
The 5 Best Sim Racing Shoes
1. Abruzzi Personalized Sim Racing Boot
You can’t get much better than a custom-made racing boot designed specifically for sim racers! Abruzzi has specialized in producing bright, eye-catching designs across kart racing for many years, and they have branched into sim racing with great success.
If you follow sim racers on YouTube, you may have heard of Abruzzi due to their sponsorship deal with Jimmy Broadbent. He’s a popular sim racing YouTuber who made the switch from racing in his socks to racing with Abruzzi boots, and he’s never looked back. He isn’t the sort to endorse a company that he doesn’t believe in, so you just know that these boots are pretty special.
The Ordering Experience
You can choose from a plethora of colors for every part of your boot, including the main area, strap, lace panel, heel, side strip, and toe. They can be as bright or understated as you wish.
I can guarantee that this process will take you quite some time, and then there’s an extra element of customization that truly sets Abruzzi apart. You can choose what personalized text you want to appear on the boot’s strap! Picture professional motorsport racers with their name printed on every part of their body and how cool it is – that can be you!
You can choose the name you want and a number, followed by which flag you want to rep. Of course, it’s all cosmetics at the end of the day, but there’s something pretty special about having that level of care put into a sim racing product.
Lightweight & Breathable
Now, as for the footwear itself, the boots are made of entirely lightweight materials modeled after Abruzzi’s expertise making kart shoes. The suede and/or leather you choose will also be highly breathable to prevent your feet overheating.
One of the nicest features of the boots is the specialist sole and high level of grip it offers. The insole is also padded as an extra element of comfort for the wearer, which reduces the fatigue you may be used to feeling after a long racing session.
You can’t get much better than purpose-built sim racing gear, and Abruzzi have brought competitive features from their kart shoes to these award-winning, highly-praised sim racing boots.
A Long Wait
A noted downside is the fact that, as the footwear is handmade, this makes the process of ordering take a long time. You may have a 4-6 week wait time after the design has been confirmed while it’s shipped out to you, which isn’t ideal. However, these sim racing boots are definitely worth checking out, and they’re pretty easy on the wallet considering what you get.
- Fully handmade sim racing boots
- Highly customizable
- Lightweight with a thin yet grippy sole
- Long wait time due to personalized process
2. Alpinestars Tech-1 T Shoe
Provided you don’t live under a rock, you’ll have heard of Alpinestars and their popularity in the world of racing. They offer great, stylish motorsport-related products at relatively affordable prices, so they’ve very much a beloved brand, and their Tech-1 T Shoe is definitely one to check out (although it is expensive in the realm of sim racing).
Alpinestars Tech-1 T Shoe
These shoes are some of the best on the market, and they offer a lightweight, comfortable sim racing experience. They also provide plenty of grip for your pedals.
These boots offer the flexible mid-top style, which caters to those want the benefits of both a full boot and a low-top shoe. The Tech-1 Ts are made with bovine leather and suede combined, with a specially designed suede ‘collar’ to be soft on your ankles. As with many other options on this list, they have a cut-away section in the heels to allow free movement while operating your pedals.
The decision to use supple leather and suede, plus the Achilles cut-away, all point to a comfortable boot. Everything in the shoes, which were originally designed for karting, was considered to create a very lightweight piece of footwear, even down to the single-layer Velcro strap, which acts as an extra ankle support without being uncomfortable.
Lots Of Grip
The soles on these boots were entirely redesigned compared to previous versions of the Tech-1s, and this is due to the introduction of a tread pattern mimicking an asymmetric tire. This specific tread is designed to be grippier than average, so you won’t face the perils of your feet slipping through the corners.
One of the biggest reasons sim racers choose to stick with their socks or slippers is due to how racing shoes typically boast thicker soles, which reduces the level of feel you get from the pedals. But on kart boots, the soles are far thinner due to how important this aspect of feel is in karting, and the Tech-1s benefit from this.
A lot of sim racers who move to using footwear instead of their socks do so in order to reduce foot fatigue. They want the perfect balance of a thin sole for pedal feel, and something that will protect their feet simultaneously. It just so happens that karting boots check both of these boxes!
The Tech-1s are a bit of a pricey choice compared to some others on this list, but I’d certainly say that these boots are a solid long-term investment if you can afford them.
- Highly durable yet also lightweight
- Unique, grippy tread pattern on the soles
- Stylish look
- Not quite as breathable as some others
- Most expensive pair on the list
3. Fast Track Sims Sheet Sole Sim Racing Shoes
If you’re not wild about a pair of high-top, lace-up boots to struggle with every time you feel like a quick sim racing session, these could be the boots for you! Fast Track Sims is a company that specializes in the production of sim racing gear, offering everything from gaming chairs all the way to gloves and, of course, footwear for every sim racer’s needs.
They offer three different types of sim racing boots, and I decided to choose the ‘shoe’ style in order to give this list some variety.
Of their collection, the Sheet Sole Sim Racing Shoes definitely offer the best pedal feel, which makes it a very popular product. I’ve been checking out their website for weeks at varying times and it isn’t very often that the shoes are in stock, so whenever there’s a restock they get snatched up fast!
Great Grip & Feel
The sheet rubber sole gives you very good grip and cushioning, without reducing your ability to feel feedback through the pedals. It’s thinner than normal rubber, which is why this combination is so sought-after in the sim racing world.
I also mentioned when opening this review the fact that you won’t be tussling with laces with these shoes. That’s because they’re an entirely slip-on piece of footwear, leaving you with more race time and less feeling as if putting on your sim racing footwear is a chore.
Overall, the materials used are a combination of suede and cloth, which keeps the weight very light indeed. Not only that, but the cloth is a breathable, perforated variety, so your feet will also remain cool during long racing sessions. They remind me a lot of slippers in terms of the fit and comfort!
In total, each shoe weighs a miraculous 6 ounces (170 g). You’ll feel as if you’re not actually wearing shoes with these on your feet, which is what a lot of sim racers want out of their footwear!
Part of what makes sim racing and kart boots so desirable is the introduction of Achilles flex openings and protection in the heels to protect against blisters. The Sheet Sole Sim Racing Shoes also have this feature in the heels as a key foot fatigue-reducing measure.
Stay Away From Abrasive Pedals
With all of that said, there is a very notable aspect to keep in mind before you pre-order a pair. Fast Track Sims recommend that you don’t use these shoes on pedal sets that have abrasive facings, and give the example of Tilton pedals. For such pedal sets, it’s highly recommended that you have a fully hardened rubber sole. The sheet rubber will wear away too quickly to make the purchase worth it.
Overall, if you’re looking for that shoe style and something that’s easy to slip on and off, don’t look any further! When the shoes are available, they’re very affordable as well as excellent quality.
- Very lightweight, breathable design
- Slip-on design makes them convenient and comfortable
- Nice anti-fatigue features
- Sheet rubber sole isn’t very durable
- Can be difficult to find a pair
4. OMP KS-3 Shoes
In the kart racing world, OMP is one of the staple brands that you’ll see everywhere – and with good reason! They offer a whole host of amazing products across the spectrum of motor racing, with kart-specific gear that is always considered to be some of the best on the market. Luckily this gear, in particular their KS-3 shoes, is also ideal for sim racing!
OMP KS-3 Shoes
These karting boots are a great choice as they're both great looking and very versatile. They're incredibly lightweight but also very durable.
Good Value For Money
The KS-3s are a pair of recently redesigned karting boots produced by OMP, and they balance everything you need in good sim racing footwear with an affordable price tag.
First and foremost, the shoes are made of suede leather, which is a great material due to its lightweight nature and high comfort factor. On the sides of each shoe you’ll find mesh insert panels, and these provide extra breathability for your feet. The last thing you want in sim racing boots is something that’ll make you uncomfortable during a tough race.
In terms of shoe style, these boots fall in between a high-top and low-top shoe design, making them a mid-top variety that combine the best elements of each of the other two styles. They give you the appearance and immersion of high-top racing boots without the stiffened heel areas you can oftentimes find on these kinds of shoes.
A Durable Sim Racing Shoe
A nice aspect of these shoes compared to some others on this list is the slightly toughened leather portion you’ll find on the outside of each shoe. These are designed to protect the shoe from damage from pedal sets, boosting their longevity.
The sole itself is very thin, which allows for a high level of feel on the pedals. It’s also treated to make it grippy enough to withstand torrential rain falling in the cockpit of a go-kart, so you’ll find it to be pretty fantastic pushing on pedals in the comfort of your own home!
No Foot Fatigue
There’s also an elasticated rear insert in the heel of the shoes, allowing for free movement of this area while you’re extending and retracting your feet. And with the soft, comfortable insole of the boot, you won’t have to worry about foot fatigue in the slightest.
The KS-3s are in the higher end of the budget range, but it isn’t outrageous by any means. Their position on the list is reflected in their go-karting specialization as opposed to being purpose-built for sim racing, but they’re still an amazing pair of boots that provide all the features you need to look for!
- Suede leather for a lightweight yet sturdy construction
- Achilles flex insert in the heel for freedom of movement
- Great racing aesthetic
- A little expensive
5. Goodyear Clutch-E Boots
The Clutch-E boots from Goodyear (yes, that Goodyear!) are a pair of mid-top shoes that are designed for motorsport drivers with heavy influence from go-karting. A lot of sim racers swear by Goodyear shoes, so I definitely wanted to shine some spotlight on these!
Clad in black with racing red accents, the Clutch-E boots look pretty eye-catching and swish. They’re the perfect mix between sneakers and racing shoes.
They offer that middle-ground mid-top style, which is popular in motorsports the world over due to the lower rise on the ankle. Some people don’t like the high-top style due to how they can rub on your ankles depending on the material they’re made of.
A Lightweight Shoe
Speaking of materials, these boots are made of a synthetic leather blend, which gives them the distinctive cross-hatch like stitching style found all over the boots. Due to being made of a leather blend as opposed to full, heavy leather, the shoes are very lightweight.
The insides are made of a breathable fabric to allow your feet the ability to cool off in between your hot laps. There are also a couple of notable comfort features found here, namely the cushioned footbed. There’s also some nice padded ankle coverage, which will feel like a sock when you put your feet inside.
Outsole & Midsole
On the bottom of the shoe, you’ll find a pretty unique setup, as there is both an outsole and a midsole.
The outsole is a thin rubber tread-patterned piece of material, designed to offer superior grip on the pedals. Goodyear call this part of their ‘driver’s sole,’ and the next component is that cushioned, rounded midsole made of EVA foam. If you look at the shoes, it’s the red and white parts found between the bottom sole and shoe itself.
This midsole’s inclusion is a great anti-fatigue feature as it provides more cushioning for your feet with every push on the pedals!
These racing boots are a real steal when you consider the fact that they’re also used in real racing. Although the outsole is very thin and grippy, the inclusion of the midsole can be a double-edged sword. It will cushion and protect your feet more, but it detracts from your overall pedal feel due to more material being in the way.
But if you’re looking for something that is better-geared to combating foot fatigue, these could be the boots for you!
- Cushioned midsole for maximum comfort
- Grippy outsole for great contact with the pedals
- Nice design
- Midsole detracts from pedal feel
- Material can feel a bit stiff
Summary Of The Best Sim Racing Boots
|Abruzzi Personalized Sim Racing Boot||Those looking for the most customizable choice|
|Alpinestars Tech-1 T Shoe||Racers that need something super durable that’s also lightweight|
|Fast Track Sims Sheet Sole Sim Racing Shoes||Anyone after a very breathable choice|
|OMP KS-3 Shoes||Those with larger budgets looking for some of the best quality|
|Goodyear Clutch-E Boots||People looking for a stiffer boot that offers lots of grip|
How To Choose A Pair Of Sim Racing Boots
Avoid Racing Boots
Regular automotive racing boots aren’t something I’d recommend simply due to the thick soles and heavier composition. They also tend to be more expensive and have needless features for a sim racer, so make sure to focus on sim racing boots, although some kart boots may offer what you need as well without being too thick and heavy.
Choosing A Style
You should next consider the style of sim racing boot you want. You’ll find full boots, mid-top boots and low-top shoes to choose from. This all comes down to personal preference as to which style you should pick. Think about what you like in your everyday pairs of shoes, and which you’d think would be the most comfortable for sim racing.
Get The Right Fit
Take the time to measure your feet, and become familiar with the different measurements that you’ll find online. As an example, Abruzzi is a UK-based company that ships worldwide. They sometimes list their boot sizes in UK shoe sizing, so don’t get caught out by that if you’re based elsewhere.
Look Around Online
Lastly, I’d really recommend that you become familiar with the online sim racing community. Check out places like Reddit and look at product reviews to see what sim racers recommend, as you’ll often find information that you might not see on a manufacturer’s website.
What To Look For In A Pair Of Sim Racing Boots
Key things to look out for when buying sim racing boots include:
- Lightweight materials
- Anti-fatigue features
- Thin sole
As you can probably imagine, comfort is a no-brainer when looking at footwear in general, not just in your sim racing gear. No matter whether you’re practicing for fun or in a competitive race online, the last things you want are blisters and general discomfort while you’re racing.
It’s important to pick out the right size of shoe and to choose a style of sim racing boot that you like, whether it be a full boot, mid-top or low-top shoe.
Choosing lightweight gear when sim racing directly feeds into the comfort factor. After all, you’re supposed to be able to enjoy the thrill of racing from your couch! The last thing you want is to feel like you’re wearing bricks on your feet.
One of the worst things while sim racing is to have sweaty feet. Sweat will inhibit your ability to press down on pedals with purpose, because your feet will be slipping inside the boot. Always choose a boot that offers some kind of breathable material.
Foot fatigue is a real killer when you’re racing. Part of why you’re reading this article is probably related to being sick of foot cramp/pain from wearing socks. To combat this, good sim racing boots offer various ways to reduce foot fatigue.
One such feature to look for is an elasticated or open Achilles flex in the boot’s heel. This is a real life-saver to avoid blisters and repetitive strain. Another fantastic thing in good-quality boots is the inclusion of a shock absorbing insole of some kind. Anything that will cushion your foot while you race will help you tenfold in those long sim racing sessions.
Another must-have on your sim racing boots is a thin sole. So much of racing in general is about feel and being able to react to track conditions and how your vehicle is moving beneath you. 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 sim racing boots. If socks just aren’t cutting it for you anymore, the last thing you want to do is invest in footwear that doesn’t at least give you the grip you’re looking for!
Kart boots and purpose-built sim racing boots will have grippy soles as standard without compromising on pedal feel. No more anxiety about foot slippage on those crucial corners!
KEY POINTS• Sim racing boots can make you a more comfortable and more competitive racer
• Consider what style of boot you want and ensure you know the right size to buy
• You need boots that are comfortable, breathable, and that will provide grip on the pedals
Sim racing boots can not only enhance your comfort and immersion levels, but they can even improve your performance too. However, you need to know what to look for in a pair before you part with any of your hard-earned cash. The best options are the personalized boots from Abruzzi, but the OMP KS-3 shoes are a great alternative.