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The Ultimate Guide to Racing Shoes and Boots
Clothing in motorsport is a fundamental part of becoming a racing driver. Not only is it a regulatory requirement but it can also provide safety, additional comfort and extra performance.
A driver's racing kit consists of a helmet, neck restraint, suit/overalls, gloves, balaclava, underwear and boots. Each piece of clothing plays its role in motorsport and each comes with its nuances. Within this article, we will cover the essential, need-to-know information regarding racing boots.
Why Comfort is Key
Racing boots are an essential piece of gear for any professional or amateur racer. They are designed to provide maximum protection and support for the feet, while also allowing for maximum pedal feel and control.
Several other factors make an excellent racing boot, the first, however, is fitment. A good racing boot should fit snugly and comfortably, without being too tight or too loose. A poorly fitting shoe will not only be uncomfortable, leading to fatigue in the car, but it can also change the way you feel the pedals.
In driving you use two main sensory inputs, vision and feel. Your ‘feel’ comes from your hands on the steering wheel and your feet on the pedals. If either of these sensations is disturbed then you will lose a percentage of control of the car.
When choosing boots, try before you buy! Or, order the same shoe in multiple sizes to ensure you find the right one for you.
Alpinestars 2022 TECH-1 Z V2 Racing Shoes
What are Racing Boots made of?
When it comes to materials, racing boots are typically made from a combination of leather, synthetic materials, and high-tech composites.
Leather is the most common material used in racing boots, as it is durable and resistant to wear and tear. Synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester, are also commonly used, as they are lightweight and flexible.
Many high-end racing boots will feature high-tech composites, such as carbon fibre, which provide additional strength and support. Examples of these are the Sparco X-Light, Alpinestars Tech 1-Z, OMP ONE EVO X and more.
The Difference Between Karting and Circuit Racing
Go-karting and circuit motorsport are both popular forms of motorsport that require specific footwear for optimal performance and safety. Go-karting boots and circuit motorsport boots are both designed for use in motorsport, but they have some key differences.
Karting boots are designed to typically have a low-cut design that allows for maximum mobility and flexibility, as well as reinforced toes and heels for added protection. They are also often made of lightweight materials to help reduce fatigue.
Circuit racing boots, on the other hand, are typically taller and more heavily reinforced than karting shoes, as they need to provide additional protection against the higher speeds and greater forces involved. They also often have fire-resistant materials, which is a requirement in most motorsport events.
Although they have different constructions, drivers can use a racing shoes as a karting shoes but not the other way around.
Racing Shoes for Every Budget
When it comes to budget choices for motorsport circuit racing shoes, the options are quite varied.
Low budget options generally provide the basic level of protection and durability for circuit racing, medium-budget options may include added features such as increased fire resistance or improved ventilation, and high-budget options are often made from the highest-quality materials and offer the highest level of protection whilst keeping the weight to a minimum.
In terms of specific options, for low-budget choices, you can find shoes like the OMP FIRST for around $200 that comply with FIA 8856-2000 homologation.
Alpinestars 2022 TECH-1 T V3 SHOES is a medium-budget option that retails for around $300, they have features such as a reinforced toe box, heel, ankle and sole, which makes them an ideal choice for those who are looking for a little more support and protection.
Lastly, high-end options like OMP ONE EVO X R Rotor Lacing shoes will retail for around $550, which are top-of-the-line options made from ultra-lightweight kangaroo leather paired up with highly lightweight breathable inserts makes it one of the lightest race boots available today whilst still being extremely comfortable and breathable. This racing shoes features a micro adjustment lacing mechanism which allows for a more precise snug fit and is far faster than a traditional lacing system.
As mentioned before, regardless of your budget, it is critical to choose a racing boot that fits well and offers the level of protection and support you need. Always make sure to try on a few different options and choose the one that feels most comfortable and secure. It is also important to note that these are just examples and prices may vary based on location and availability.
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