Sim racing gloves buyer’s guide: which are best?

Last updated: June 14th, 2022

As well as a good pair of race or karting boots, sim racing gloves are (in my humble opinion) an accessory that can really enhance your sim racing experience. In our buyer’s guide, we’re going to look at some favourites (including a few I own myself) and take a look at what features are most important to sim racers.

I’ve come to like the feel of a good pair of gloves while driving the sim – if for no other reason that I get a better level of grip and the racing feels more, serious. With a good pair of gloves, you can get excellent tactility on the steering wheel. You can use your shifters, rotaries and buttons just as accurately and in some cases, more accurately. And with the right gloves you get touch screen compatibility.

Critically, you can keep a suede / Alcantara rim in much better condition, for longer – I have wheels I’ve owned for years that still look brand new because I’ve never driven them with bare hands. The greases and sweat (gross, I know) can build up in the Alcantara and the end result looks pretty bad. It also ruins the resale value of the wheel.

damaged Alcantara on this Fanatec sim steering rim
The Alcantara on this Fanatec sim steering rim has seen better days thanks to barehand use – don’t do this!

Sim racing wear vs Motorsports wear

The requirements that sim racers have for gloves are very different to drivers engaged in Motorsports. Generally, a sim racing glove needs to be lighter, thinner, doesn’t need to cover the forearm and definitely doesn’t need to be fireproof!

I did start out in the sim using my FIA racing gloves though, but not anymore!

Read the full article below or jump to my best recommendations using these links:

FIA Racing gloves: are they OK for sim racing?

Let’s start with the racing gloves. I own two pairs of FIA approved gloves for Motorsport. A pair of Freem Senso gloves and a pair of Sparco RG-7’s (see here):

Sparco RG7
My Sparco RG7’s on the wheel

The Sparco Arrow Evo RG-7 race gloves are FIA 8856-2000 and SFI 3.3/5 approved for racing, but clearly, they can be used in sim racing too.

They come in five colours and offer a fantastic combination of a snug fit, lots of steering grip thanks to their HTX printed silicon grips.

Sparco
This year’s Sparco RG7’s – index finger grip has worn slightly.

The Freem Senso’s are definitely the more fashionable choice – you see a lot of professional drivers in the upper categories wearing Freem kit. They have a very brightly patterned grip, although I’ll add there is less provision for grip than their Sparco counterparts.

Older freem sensos
My older Freem Senso 16’s (Manufactured 2016)

Both gloves give a nice amount of additional grip on the wheel, particularly anything with Alcantara / Suede wrapping. There’s a very sturdy, real steering wheel feel from using gloves, and the grip on the fingers makes paddle-shifting a slightly less error-prone affair.

Using a wheel rim without gloves can leave your hands quite black after an hour or so of use, and not only will gloves keep your hands clean, they’ll help to preserve the Alcantara too.

But, FIA racing gloves are overkill for sim racing; they’re probably 3 times too expensive and you get hot because of the lack of airflow. They’re fireproof which I dearly hope you’ll never need! If the heat and expense doesn’t bother you, go ahead and try them, but I’m all about staying cool in the sim. Take my advice and don’t use your Motorsport gloves in the sim, there are far better options available!

So what about Karting gloves for sim racing?

You can achieve a lower budget with karting gloves, just like these from OMP:

Karting gloves tend to be far cheaper because they don’t need FIA approval. They tend to have brighter, more colourful designs and come in a wider range of sizes. These KS-3 gloves from OMP have silicon grips on synthetic leather and they’re made of stretch fabric, so they’ll fit tightly and give you lots of helpful tactility on the wheel.

OMP KS-4 Gloves

OMP’s KS-4 karting gloves offer the complete package; durability, breathability, style, and comfort, bringing together everything you could possibly need for sim racing.

The back side of the gloves is made from a comfortable and resistant stretchy fabric that maximises the flow of air between your fingers, while on the palm, you’ll find resilient suede leather that offers a brilliant grip on any steering wheel material.

OMP KS-4 KS4 Kart Gloves available in 6 Colours!
OMP KS-4 KS4 Kart Gloves available in 6 Colours!

The wrist features an adjustable Velcro strap which ensures a secure fit, with a slightly elongated section of material extended past the ball of the wrist.

In terms of appearance, they are undoubtedly one of the most aesthetically pleasing pairs of gloves you can buy, and the chequered flag motif on the back of the hand is an especially nice touch.

Karting gloves tend to be lighter and more breathable than gloves intended for Motorsport (owing to the lack of fireproofing), but they’re still at a disadvantage compared to gloves intended for sim racers. They’re still much thicker than you need gloves to be in the simulator, and they’re still less breathable than sim racing gloves! They don’t have touchscreen compatibility, either!

Mechanic’s gloves: Sparco Meca 3

While they’re not touchscreen compatible, these Meca 3’s from Sparco have everything else going for them. You do see a lot of sim racers using these:

They have an outrageous amount of grip thanks to the abrasion-resistant polyurethane (PU) leather palms. They fit snugly and they’re still breathable, and critically they’re the hardest wearing / longest lasting pick of the bunch – because they’re mechanics gloves!

Priced around $30/£20 – great gloves for your money, but not touchscreen compatible!

Gloves for sim racers

Most of the gloves we’ve covered above are brilliant gloves, they’re just not quite perfect for the sim. I like something that is very thin and tight-fitting, so I can feel more of the buttons and rotary encoders on my steering wheel. Tactility is particularly important! I don’t like feeling like I’m getting hot and if possible, I’d really like to stay cool while I’m driving.

Alpinestars F-Lite

Cycling gloves are very good for tactility and staying cool. The best gloves are very thin, like these Alpinestars and usually come with touchscreen compatibility.

If heat is an issue, try a lightweight glove like the popular Alpinestars F-Lite cycling gloves (above) or the Alpinestars Radars (below).

Alpinestars Radar Gloves

Love these colourful Radar gloves from Alpinestars, and they’ll last for years!

Alpinestars Radar MX Gloves are light, breathable and have silicone grips on the fingertips

Mobile / touchscreen compatibility

Mobile and touchscreen compatibility is a given these days.

Try to avoid removable index finger caps – the conductive finger cap can be sewn into the glove itself meaning you don’t have to remove your gloves to use a touchscreen!

For lightness and coolness you need a neoprene, Lycra, stretch mesh fabric to get a tight fit (loosely fitting gloves are a nightmare for the paddle shifters).

K1 Race Gear RS1 Gloves

The RS-1 Kart Racing gloves are designed with comfort in mind above all else. They feature a rolled fingertip design, which eliminates the discomfort commonly felt with the typical 4-point stitch found in most cheaper racing gloves, as well as reverse stitching throughout to reduce any irritations from the material, letting you focus on the race.

Each finger is lined with a soft vented mesh that allows for increased airflow, while the padded leather palm boosts grip levels and adds yet more comfort. The gloves are a little more on the bulky side, but they by no means feel loose when put on.

As karting gloves, they offer an over-the-wrist design, which won’t add much to your sim racing performance but will add to your overall experience in the rig as it helps to increase your immersion levels by making you feel more like a true racer.

SimHound

Simhound’s founder, Adam Walton dropped me a line and asked if I’d share my thoughts on his new SimHound Gloves:

These are an elasticated fabric construction that is snug fitting with a touchscreen compatible forefinger and a nice grip pattern on the palms. I drove with them at last weekend’s Le Mans 24h and found them to be light and durable.

The right amount of stretch in the outer fabric provides a nice sensation of support when you’re holding on to the wheel. The fabric is also hard wearing and the construction is excellent. There’s a bit of stretch across the thumb and forefinger (pictured above), but they are very good gloves for the job. A bargain for a £25.00 sim racing glove!

Boildeg Gloves

These gloves are inexpensive (at $14.99 / £14) and they’re equipped with small inserts on the thumb and index finger that allow you to operate on touch screens – while they’re intended for cycling, for a sim racer, this is ideal, especially when using a tablet or mobile phone as a dashboard display screen:

Boildeg Gloves
Boildeg Cycling Gloves inexpensive, touchscreen biking gloves might be a good shout for a sim racer.

Augury sim racing gloves

Augury Simulations are a specialist sim racing equipment supplier that manufactures its own DD wheelbase unit and various high-end accessories. These items have a lightweight upper construction and a thin suede / Alcantara grip.

After testing I’ve found these to be light, quite durable and the mobile/touchscreen compatibility is exceptional. I’ve owned these gloves from Augury for well over a year:

Augury sim racing gloves
Augury sim racing gloves (buy here)

Here they are after more than a year of racing:

My Augury sim racing gloves after about a year
My Augury sim racing gloves after about a year

Price-wise, however, they’re really expensive! I wish I could find out where they’re manufactured and buy some with a custom logo. Alas. If you order these from outside the EU they add a sales tax which can send the order price for a pair of these to over €50. Still, I love them.

Freem sim racing gloves

Freem is a well-known high-end Motorsports manufacturer that has dipped its toes into the sim racing world. They’ve come up with the higher-end, higher-priced Freem Sim-glove:

Freem's sim racing gloves
Freem’s sim racing gloves

Freem has manufactured sim racing gloves with input from the “world’s top sim racers” and have all of the features you’d hope for: grip, screen compatibility and so on. The only catch, aside from the price, is finding somewhere that has them in stock.

They’re very light, using an interesting and very stretchy fabric. A word of caution on these, though. Buy small, as they work best when snugly fitted. If you have longer fingers, you won’t have a problem with them.

Freem sim racing gloves - note the fingertips are too long for me
Freem sim racing gloves – note the fingertips are too long for me

The fingers, I found were a bit too long and leave a bit of an over-hand when you first put them on. They’re easily adjusted and then it’s less of an issue. Overall they’re a very nice item with a nice grip pattern too:

Freem's grip pattern
Freem’s grip pattern

Sparco Rush Gloves

Falling under Sparco’s karting category, the Rush gloves feature a mix of synthetic suede and silicone print on the palms, which affords all the grip you’ll need for sim racing, while the body of the glove is composed of an elasticated, semi-porous fabric that is lined with cotton for added cushioning.

As these are first and foremost karting gloves, they include an elongated wrist section with more elasticated material to ensure the gloves don’t slip off your hands. While these points may not be all that beneficial for sim racers, they certainly add to the gloves’ coolness factor.

However, one karting feature that is beneficial for sim racing is the “pre-curved” shape of the gloves, which provides more comfort when grasping the wheel as it naturally guides your fingers around the rim. It also reduces tension around the back of the hand and across the back of your fingers/knuckles, producing an overall feel of quality.

F33L SR2 Sim Racing Gloves

If you’re looking for something ultra-lightweight, then F33L’s SR2 sim racing gloves are of worthy consideration.

Even though these gloves are on the slim side of the spectrum, they have been purpose-built for sim racing, and F33L claim that they are capable of retaining their durability, even when using the most powerful force feedback wheelbase.

Featuring plenty of rubber patches across the palm and the insides of the fingers, they will go a long way in improving your grip and reducing hand fatigue.

Most importantly, the slender, ergonomic design of the gloves lends itself to plenty of tactility, allowing you to feel all the finer details of the road that may be lost when wearing heavier gloves.

How to measure yourself for gloves

Measuring your hands to fit your sim gloves is very easy. Just measure the circumference of your hand with a tape measure:

Glove size guide from Alpinestars
Glove size guide from Alpinestars

As you can see from the diagram above, measure the circumference of your hand following the path of the red line in the image. Then take that measurement and compare it to the manufacturer’s size guide. Each size guide will be slightly different, so just because you’re an “M” for a set of gloves from Alpinestars don’t mean the same thing with Freem, SimHound, Sparco and so on.

Whatever you choose, gloves enhance your sense of enjoyment in the simulator. I recommend all drivers choose a pair of gloves and then get onto a good pair of boots, too.


Sim racing gloves buyer’s guide: which are best?