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A Guide To Choosing The Right Racing Gloves
When the light on the starting grid turns green and you mesh the throttle accelerating right into the thick of the action, the last thing you want is to have a poor grip on your race car’s steering wheel. Along with the pedals, the steering wheel is your main input to control your machine, and having the right gloves is essential if you want to be able to provide precise and smooth turns of the steering wheel.
Besides having a good grip on the steering wheel, it’s also vital to ensure your hands are protected from the excessive heat and the ever-present threat of fire. This is where purpose-built racing gloves come in.
In today’s blog post, we’ll tell you all you need to know about choosing the right racing gloves.
Measuring For a Proper Fit
With any safety apparel, a proper fit is vital to ensure safety on the race track. This is particularly important with racing gloves as they’re crucial to your ability to control the car as well. Improperly fitted gloves can not only lead to control issues, but can also allow fire egress.
Now, there are two effective methods you can use to measure the size of your hands for glove fitment—measuring the width of the palm just below the knuckles or measuring the palm’s circumference just below the knuckles. You can use a measuring tape to do this. Make sure you take measurements of both hands and choose the larger of the measurements.
Here at Fast Racer, every brand we carry offers a measuring example image/graphic with each listed product. Here’s an example:
Important Glove Features To Consider
When you’re considering a pair of racing gloves, a proper fit isn’t the only important factor to consider. There are numerous other factors you have to take into account, including the amount of palm grip, curved or straight glove design the type of race you’re competing in, and more.
The first important features to consider are the gauntlet length and wrist closure. These two work in tandem to protect the driver from fire ingress or heat exposure to the wrist area—which can sometimes be left exposed by the sleeves of your racing overalls. Make sure the racing gloves you get have a cuff mechanism that keeps the glove snug against the wrist.
The gauntlet is the part of the glove that extends from the glove’s main body and covers your wrist and lower forearm. Make sure it overlaps the cuff and sleeve of your race suit.
Another important feature to keep in mind is the palm grip. In the old days, racing gloves came with a thick layer of leather or rubber on the palm area for grip. However, most premium-quality modern gloves come with silicone-printed grip panels that offer optimum grip while staying flexible and light.
Last but not the least, we’ll go over the glove seams. Traditionally, auto racing glove have been sewn together with internal seams. This has been an issue for many racers as the thick suede or leather material of the gloves makes for a bulky seam. However, in recent years, leading manufacturers such as OMP Racing and Alpinestars have started offering the external seam configurations. These gloves provide racers with a more natural feel between the hand and the glove with compromising the glove’s flexibility or grip.
The level of protection a glove offers is denoted by the type of certification it has. Now, if you’re a professional racer, most sanctioning authorities require either FIA or SFI certification. If a pair of gloves is designed to be compliant with one or both standards, it will feature a tag that clearly states such. For instance, the OMP ONE EVO racing gloves are FIA 8866-2000 approved.