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, use your shifters, rotaries and buttons just as accurately and in some cases, while maintaining touch screen compatibility.
Sim racing apparel vs Motorsports
The requirements that sim racers have for gloves are 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! With that said, I’ve included a few pairs of FIA racing gloves too. My preference is very much towards something lighter and breathable making summer cycling gloves among the best choice for sim racers.
Read the full article below or jump to my best recomendations using these links:
- FIA Racing gloves
- OMP Karting gloves
- Alpinestars F-Lite
- Alpinestars Radar
- Sparco Hypergrip
- Sparco Meca 3
FIA Racing gloves: are they OK for sim racing?
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 colors and offer a fantastic combination of a snug fit, lots of steering grip thanks to their HTX printed silicon grips.
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.
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.
My Fanatec wheel tends to leave my 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 wrapped wheel too.
But FIA racing gloves might be overkill for sim racing; they’re probably 3 times too expensive, you get hot because of the lack of airflow. If that doesn’t bother you, go ahead and try them.
On a lower budget, karting gloves like these from OMP are just as effective:
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.
What makes a glove good for sim racing?
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!
Cycling gloves are very good for this, and they also help you manage heat – like these:
If heat is an issue, try a lightweight glove like these Alpinestars Radars (below), or the popular Alpinestars F-Lite cycling gloves (above).
Alpinestars Radar Gloves
I’ve grown from being an adamantly non-gloves racer in the sim to become very enthusiastic about finding exactly the right gear.
Sparco Hypergrip gloves
For a reasonable $20/£20 I’d recommend you give these gloves a go:
The Hypergrips from Sparco are excellent on grip, but user reviews indicate the velcro clasp gives up after a while. The touchscreen compatibility claim is dubious, too. The forefinger has a capped end that you can flip over to expose your actual finger! There are, however, plenty of new entrants to the scene with lightweight construction, breathability, tactility *and* touch screen compatibility.
Mobile / touchscreen compatibility
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).
But a big problem is compatibility with touchscreens: these gloves are equipped with small inserts on the thumb and index finger that allow you to operate on touch screens – for a sim racer this is ideal especially when using a tablet or mobile phone as a dashboard display screen.
Augury sim racing gloves
As for my personal recommendation, the Augury gloves are the ones for me:
Augury Simulations are a specialist sim racing equipment supplier who manufacture their 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.
Freem sim racing gloves
Freem are a well known high end Motorsports manufacturer who have dipped their toes into the sim racing world. They’ve come up with the higher end, higher priced Freem Sim-glove:
Freem have made gloves with input from the “world’s top sim racers” and have all of the features you’d hope for: grip, screen compaitibility and so on. The only catch, aside from the price, is finding somewhere that has them in stock!
Sparco Meca 3
While they’re not touchscreen compatible, the Meca 3’s from Sparco have eveything else going for them:
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 – I think these are among the best gloves your money can buy.