A-Firmative Grip (9 min read)
Racing gloves have certainly come a long way since the days of wood and metal steering wheels. In those days, gloves were often made of heavy leather and filled with thick wool on the inside. Today, racing gloves are key to steering wheel feedback and optimal safety.
Sanctioning bodies such as NASA, SCCA, POC, and SVRA mandate that drivers wear a fire retardant racing glove. Approved racing gloves are either SFI or FIA rated. It’s important to check with your sanctioning body to find out which rating is acceptable.
At first look, you’ll notice that all “true” racing gloves are cut long at the wrist. Following with SFI and FIA requirements, the extra length is needed for maximum fire protection coverage. Note: fire retarded gear has an overlapping trend. Your balaclava (headsock) tucks inside your fire suit, gloves overlap the suit at the wrist, and your socks go up beyond the cuff of your pant legs. All this overlapping means less exposed skin and optimal fire protection.
Even if you're not racing competitively, it’s quite common for track day and autocross drivers to use this style of glove, as they offer amazing grip and feedback. Not only will they protect you in a fire, but will act as a barrier between your skin and the wheel, lessening fatigue and the need to over-squeeze the wheel. When you invest in cheap gear, you get exactly what you pay for. Typically the materials are thicker or less breathable, the grips are less advanced, and the stitching is typically sub-par, resulting in chafe. If you spend a little extra on a good pair of gloves, take care of them, they’ll reward you in the long run. Trust me, it’s not fun putting Band-Aids over your blisters, then trying to fit your hand back in the shitty glove that gave you the blisters in the first place.
Here are some great glove examples in no particular order. (Pictures of gloves at end of article)
Sparco Land RG-3.1 Racing Gloves 2016 ($85)
The Land RG-3.1 glove is our entry-level competition glove that provides excellent protection and feedback. The ergonomic palm design with reinforced stitching conforms to the hand’s position. The palm has been redesigned with new suede anti-slip fingertip and palm grips to provide greater performance. The elastic wrist and wide range of sizes helps ensure proper fitment. The Land RG-3 is SFI and FIA approved.
adidas RS Racing Glove ($169)
Two-layer construction on the back of the hand and wrist for superior protection
• Single layer palm with new ergonomic silicon palm print for maximum sensitivity, feel, and grip
• Innovative, ultra-lightweight materials and construction, now with shorter cuff length
• Pre-curved fingers with external seams for optimal fit and comfort
• Elasticized wrist for a secure fit
Driven Skeleton Racing Glove ($110)
The DRIVEN Nomex Racing Glove was designed to to meet the needs of racers around the world from amateur racing to professionals. These gloves are constructed of two layers of fire resistant Nomex for the best protection and feature grips on the palms / finger tips for improved feel. Features external stitching for added comfort.
adidas Daytona Glove ($109)
A great entry level glove for the price!
adidas' new form-fitting Daytona gloves are constructed from high quality materials to provide the highest levels of grip, comfort, feel and protection.
- Two-layer construction on back of the hand and wrist for ultimate protection.
- Single layer palm and ergonomic palm print for maximum feel and grip.
- Lightly Pre-curved fingers for improved fit.
- Elasticated wrist closure for secure fit.
Sabelt Challenge TG-3 Racing Glove ($89)
FIA 8856-2000 Homologation
- Offers a high level of fire protection
- Suede grip on palm
- New fit – improved for added comfort
- Simple design lends itself to be easily customized
To see our full list of wallet-friendly gloves, check out our "Shop Gear" page.