Personally, I don’t think wearing racing gloves in the sim is as impactful on your driving as say, a good pair of race or karting boots. With that said, a lot of sim drivers do wear gloves and probably just as many, don’t. 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 better grip and the racing feels more, serious!
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!
FIA Racing gloves: are they OK for sim racing?
I own two pairs of FIA approved racing gloves. A pair of Freem gloves and a pair of Sparco RG-7’s (see here):
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 16’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 paddleshifting 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 wheel too.
But FIA racing loves are overkill for sim racing; they’re probably 3 times too expensive, you get hot because of the lack of air flow. If that doesn’t bother you, go ahead and try them. On a lower budget, karting gloves are just as effective.
So 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. Cycling gloves are very good for this.
If heat is an issue, try a lightweight glove like these Alpinestars Radars (below), or the popular Alpinestars F-Lite cycling gloves.
I’ve grown from being an adamantly non-gloves racer in the sim to being very enthusisastic about finding exactly the right gear. For a reasonable $20/£20 I’d strongly recommend you give these gloves ago.
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!
Tactile inputs: mobile / touchscreen compatibility
For lightness and coolness you need a neoprene, Lycra, stretch mesh fabric to get a tight fit (loosly 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.
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.