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Sim Racing Product Guides » Best Sim Racing Gloves: 2023 Buyers Guide
What are the best gloves for sim racing in 2023? In this buyers guide, I run through the best options for sim racing gloves, and ask the question do you need gloves to sim race?
When it comes to sim racing gear, beyond a racing wheel and pedal set, sim racing gloves are one of the most common things I get asked about. Those who don’t race with gloves often ask why I choose to wear sim racing gloves at all, and what benefits they offer.
Sim racing gloves offer a range of advantages compared to racing without gloves. But like most sim racing gear, gloves come in various designs and styles. In this guide, I’m going to run through the reasons why racing gloves can be advantageous, and I’ll look at the best sim racing gloves you can buy currently.
I’m going to start this guide with the question that I get asked all the time. Do you need gloves for sim racing? This is a very similar debate to whether you should sim race in socks or shoes. And ultimately, your decision should be down to personal preference and comfort. However, there are some key advantages to using gloves when sim racing.
Some sim racers may prefer to race without gloves to have a better feel of the steering wheel. And while adding a layer of fabric between you and the steering wheel grips slightly reduces your overall feel. It can make your grip better.
The key advantages to wearing gloves when sim racing are;
I want to now break down those advantages of wearing sim racing gloves in a bit more detail. The first reason why many will wear sim racing gloves is to give them a better overall grip of the steering wheel.
During a long sim race, your hands will get warm and may start to sweat. This will not only start to wear the hand grip material over time, it’ll also loosen your grip on the steering wheel.
While sim racing wearing gloves, any sweat from your hands is absorbed into your gloves. And yes, that does mean you should wash your sim racing gloves from time to time!
But with no sweat making its way onto your steering wheel, you’ll actually have a better overall grip while sim racing. Also, some gloves come with rubber or silicon strips on the inside of your palm and fingers. This will further add to your grip.
The second reason why I’d recommend wearing gloves to sim race, is that they can actually help increase the feedback you get from your wheel. Rather than experience your hands slipping on the wheel while racing, a good pair of gloves will adhere your hands to the steering wheel tightly.
This increased grip that I mentioned above will actually mean more accurate force feedback will be transferred to your hands and arms. This works in the same way as mounting your racing wheel to a sturdy sim rig.
If your racing wheel isn’t mounted securely it’ll flex. Any excess flexing around your racing wheel will result in less accurate force feedback. So mounting it to a sturdier sim rig reduces flexing and improves force feedback accuracy. The same applies to your grip on the steering wheel.
Next, I want to touch on the extra comfort of wearing a good pair of sim racing gloves. Sim racing steering wheels use different materials in their design. Some may use a nice leather hand grip which feels nice in your hand. But others may use Alcantara or rubber. And these may not feel as nice to hold, especially rubber grips.
Over a long race session, rubber hand grips can chafe and start to rub your hands causing discomfort. And if you’re racing with a powerful direct drive racing wheel, rubber hand grips can even injure your hands as they slide around in your palm!
Wearing gloves adds a layer between your skin and the hand grips, allowing for maximum comfort. You won’t need to worry about any blisters or rubbing on your hands. And the fabric itself can cushion hard hand grips.
The final positive is possibly one of the biggest reasons people buy sim racing gloves. And that is to reduce the wear and tear on your racing wheel. Sim racing wheels can be quite expensive, and when you’re spending hundreds and sometimes more on a new steering wheel, you’ll want to keep it looking nice and functional for as long as possible. The last thing you’ll want to see is the hand grips wearing away too quickly.
For all of the reasons mentioned above, sim racing without gloves can wear your hand grips faster than if you wore gloves. The oils from your hands and the extra friction between your hand and the steering wheel will cause excess wear.
Sim racing gloves remove the issue of any oils or liquid touching your steering wheel, and the softer fabric will prevent as much wear. So if you want to keep your new Fanatec BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel looking fresh, gloves are the way to go!
I mentioned it right at the beginning of this guide, sim racing gloves come in a wide range of different styles. They range from short gloves to long gloves, internally or externally stitched and can be created from a variety of materials.
So what are the differences between all of these different styles and elements?
The biggest difference that you’ll immediately notice when shopping for sim racing gloves is that some are short and cover just the hand, while others are much longer and similar to real-world racing gloves.
Longer gloves emulate real-world racing gloves and can provide extra immersion for some. They normally fully encompass your wrist and lower forearm and are designed to look realistic.
On the flip side, shorter gloves are slightly more popular, and you’ll find more variety in shorter gloves available. Shorter gloves offer a slightly more comfortable fit from my experience. They also prevent you from getting so hot which is a problem that longer gloves can suffer from.
The next choice comes in the type of material used to create the gloves. This is a big point of variance across different brands. Some gloves use a lightweight breathable fabric which allows for maximum airflow and heat dissipation.
These are the best option in my opinion as they don’t make your hands too hot. There are thicker gloves available for a more realistic or immersive experience. These generally use thicker fabric which is much less breathable.
Thicker gloves will make you much hotter, and they can also decrease the overall feel you have of your wheel due to the added thickness of the material.
While most sim racing gloves are stitched internally, there are external stitched options available. This is essentially where the stitching is tucked away on the inside of the glove or visible from the outside.
When a pair of gloves is internally stitched they generally look cleaner. They also normally offer a tighter fit which can increase your hand flexibility. This is important as you will need to be able to push buttons and rotate encoders on your wheel mid-race without restriction.
Externally stitched gloves are more true to real motorsport. They offer a comfier fitment as you won’t have any stitching on the inside of the glove that can irritate your hand. The downside of externally stitched sim racing gloves is that they are thicker on the outside which can limit your precision and flexibility when applying inputs.
The final area to really consider is the type of grip that is present on the inside of the glove. Most sim racing gloves utilise extra grip material to ensure a sturdy grip with the steering wheel. This material can range of foam or leather padding to rubber strips.
More natural fabrics such as leather can result in a more premium feeling glove, but it may not offer as much adhesion as rubber strips can. Leather gloves also tend to be slightly thicker due to the added thickness of the extra leather material.
So now let’s take a look at the best sim racing gloves that you can buy. I’ll show you my top recommendations, and these are all gloves which I’ve tried and tested myself over the years.
The IMB SSG-2 gloves are without a doubt my favourite sim racing gloves that I’ve worn to date. They’re the gloves you’ll see me wearing in all of my videos.
The SSG-2 in particular would be my pick out of all the gloves that IMB produce. Currently, the English-based sim racing company produce four different glove variants. There are two short gloves and two long gloves.
The SSG-2 are the short gloves, and they are internally stitched. These are a lightweight set of gloves that utilise breathable fabric for maximum cooling. The internal stitching makes them mould nicely to your fingers and allows for a good range of flexibility.
The LSG-2 are IMB’s long-stitched gloves. They utilise the same lightweight breathable fabric, but come in a longer design that covers the wrist and lower forearm. Both glove designs can be purchased with external stitching if you would rather have the extra comfort and don’t mind the reduced flexibility.
One of the perks of choosing IMB gloves is that you can personalise your own gloves. You can choose from a wide range of designs, including our own Sim Racing Setup designed gloves. Whichever glove design you choose, you can add your own name, number and country flag which is pretty neat, especially if you create content or stream while sim racing.
The next pair of gloves that I’d like to recommend are the gloves from sim racing brand Sim Hound. The gloves on offer from Sim Hound also utilise a lightweight fabric that is designed to be breathable and elastic for maximum comfort.
Unlike IMB, Sim Hound only offers short glove designs, but they do offer them with both internal and external stitching. You can also buy fingerless gloves which give you a complete range of movement when interacting with the inputs on your racing wheel.
Sim Hound has partnered with a range of content creators to produce limited-edition glove designs. Although, unlike IMB, you cannot get any personalisation on your gloves.
Although, I do actually prefer the grip design on the Sim Hound gloves over the IMB gloves. This is because the grip material is less prominent which gives a slightly better feel between the hand and the steering wheel.
F33l is a sim racing brand that produces a range of gloves and caps, but mainly just gloves! In fact, F33l actually teamed up with popular sim racer Jimmy Broadbent to produce a range of different JB branded gloves.
Just like IMB and Sim Hound, F33l have also chosen a lightweight fabric for these gloves. This is a common theme among all of the sim racing gloves I’m recommending. This is the perfect route for sim racing.
You don’t need the extra thickness for protection or heat resistance like you would in real-world motorsport. Instead, comfort and grip are the two main reasons for purchasing sim racing gloves. And that is exactly what all of the gloves I’m recommending offer.
Despite being among the cheapest gloves I’m recommending, the F33l gloves are actually one of the most premium feeling. This is due to the thicker stitching that is present around the edge of the gloves. You also get a raised rubber logo on the strap which feels nice.
The F33l SR2 gloves sit the highest up the wrist due to the velcro strap being the largest of any of the three gloves recommended in this guide. This can be nice for those who want their gloves to feel a bit more secure.
Abruzzi sim racing gloves also get a recommendation from me. They were one of the first pairs of sim racing gloves I ever wore, and I wore them for a very long time and this was due to just how comfy and lightweight they feel.
Abruzzi gloves, more than any other in this guide, feel like an outer skin. They’re incredibly thin and light which allows for maximum comfort and minimal interference while racing. The lightweight fabric that they use provides enough separation from the steering wheel hand grip without limiting your ability to interact accurately with buttons and encoders.
The Abruzzi gloves are also the only gloves here that do not feature a velcro strap. And that is another feature I really liked while wearing. All gloves that utilise a velcro strap do so to stop the gloves from falling off easily.
However, a strap provides a minor inconvenience every time you put on or take off your gloves. Often to the point, where I often slide the gloves off without touching the strap.
With the removal of the strap, Abruzzi gloves are incredibly easy to remove and put on, and this gets a big tick from me.
Whichever pair of sim racing gloves you choose, the recommendations above will all provide a comfortable sim racing experience. The key for me when purchasing new sim racing gloves is first and foremost comfort and breathability. This prevents my hands from getting too hot during a long race.
Then the quality of the fabric and the fitment is right up there. This is the main reason I always opt for short internally stitched sim racing gloves, as longer and externally stitched gloves often don’t fit quite as tightly.
But ultimately, I would highly recommend investing in a pair of sim racing gloves. The added comfort and prevention of wear and tear on your sim racing steering wheel is well worth the investment!
You can use the links below to shop for your favourite sim racing products, or for any products that we may have recommended. These links are affiliate links, and will earn us a small commission, with no additional cost for you.
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