A great pair of karting shoes won’t make you the next Michael Schumacher, but it will allow you to reach your full potential in karting. While I’ve found that any regular shoe will be good enough for beginners, many professional karting racers argue that a good pair will make you faster.
Go-kart shoes aren’t required for most league races, but that depends on your local track’s rules. That said, they can provide a competitive advantage since they will allow for a better feel of the pedals. Below I’ve included the 6 best go-kart shoes for beginners that I found, with the help of professional racers and personal research.
The best pair of karting shoes you can get if you’re a beginner is the RaceQuip 303. It’s affordable, well-reviewed, and made from durable suede leather, which will hold up nicely for your first years of karting.
But choosing the perfect go-kart shoes for you can be difficult, especially when you’ve just started karting. So, I’ve also included a guide on how to pick the perfect pair for you right below.
How to Choose the Perfect Go Kart Shoes for Beginners
I’ve already covered every aspect of a pair of go-kart shoes you should look for. However, since some of these aren’t essential when you’re a beginner, here are a few aspects that I think you should consider.
On average, new go-kart gear will set you back more than $200, with prices going as high as $2,500. Considering that a go-kart costs much more, you should find ways to cut costs when starting out. Thankfully, your go-kart shoes are one of the pieces of gear that won’t cost a fortune.
You’ll usually find a nice pair of karting shoes for less than $100, with some costing less than $70, like the Zamp ZR-30 shoes I mention below. I suggest you not spend more than that when you’re a beginner because the added features that come with more expensive go-kart shoes won’t be as noticeable to you as a veteran driver.
That said, if your budget is very tight, I’ve been told by other drivers that any shoe with a thin sole will be equally great to a karting one. More specifically, you can look into wrestling shoes that cost between $40-$50. And, you could use the money you saved up for an extra practice session!
Most entry-level pairs won’t have any sweat-absorbing materials on the interior. The karting shoes I’ve found have a fire-retardant interior, which isn’t the most comfortable.
That’s why you’ll need to pick the correct size and wear a good pair of socks. Choosing the right shoe size won’t be easy since different brands have different sizes. That’s why I’d suggest you try out your favorite pair at a local karting equipment store to ensure that it’s not too big or small for you.
While your first pair of karting shoes won’t last your whole career, they should still be made from durable materials. As I looked through many different pairs, I found that the best go-kart shoes for beginners are often made from suede leather.
Despite not being as durable as regular leather ones, suede leather shoes will be great for at least 2-3 years of racing in karting leagues. Then again, I’ve had fellow drivers tell me that their suede leather pairs have lasted for tens of races. As long as you only wear your karting shoes when you’re… karting, they’ll last you for a long time.
My Top Picks for Go Kart Shoes for Beginners
So, now that you know how to pick the perfect pair of karting shoes let’s see some of the best go-kart shoes for beginners on the market. Keep in mind that these are pairs that the karting community online and at my local track have suggested, as well as some that I’ve tried.
Best Overall Go Kart Shoes For Beginners: RaceQuip 303
If you’ve read any of my other gear reviews, it’s no surprise that RaceQuip tops this one. Its karting gear is amazing for beginners since all its pieces have rugged looks and can also be used for auto racing. And the RaceQuip 303s are no different.
Their exterior is made from durable suede leather, while the interior is made from the fire-retardant material Pyrovatex. This is a bit useless for karting since fiery crashes are very rare, though.
This pair also has an Achilles’ flex opening, which adds extra support and comfort to your heel. That’s great when you’re learning how to brake and pedal control since you’ll get the full feel of the pedals. Keep in mind that RaceQuip suggests getting one size above your regular shoe size to have a comfortable fit.
Runner-Up: PROFOX Karting Boots
ProFox is a new name I found out when I was looking for the best go-kart boots for beginners. This model is very similar to the 303s I mentioned above, but it features a more simplistic look while also having a few neat features.
For starters, instead of a Pyrovatex interior, the ProFox karting boots have a Nomex one, which is more comfortable. Also, ProFox has its own patented sole for this pair, which is said to be better in terms of durability. Though, I’d argue that it’s very similar to the 303s’ one to notice any significant difference.
Apart from this, these karting boots are pretty much the same as RaceQuip’s model. Their main difference is price-related, with the ProFox karting shoes costing a bit more than the 303s.
Best Premium Go Kart Shoes For Beginners: Sparco K-Pole
I was stunned to find a pair of Sparco karting shoes at such low prices. Then again, I’ve raced against drivers rocking the K-Pole pair, and they’ve always told me that it’s one of the best pairs of karting shoes for beginners.
Unlike the ProFox and RaceQuip karting boots, the Sparco K-Pole shoes have a fancier design similar to higher-priced pairs. With this came many features I wasn’t expecting to find on an entry-level karting shoe, like several holes for great airflow and amazing heel support for even better pedal control.
The only downside of the Sparco K-Pole shoes is that they’re not as affordable as the other pairs I mention on this list. But, if you can add a few more bucks to your budget, you’ll get a shoe that looks amazing.
Best Affordable Go Kart Shoes For Beginners: Zamp ZR-30 Karting Shoes
If the K-Pole pair is way over your budget, you can look into the Zamp ZR-30 karting shoes. These look very similar to what you would wear when going for a run, so they’re excellent for minimalists like me.
Apart from costing less than any other shoe on this list, the ZR-30 pair doesn’t have much going for it. They’re almost identical to the RaceQuip pair, even though Zamp’s model doesn’t have a velcro strap on top.
While it doesn’t have any premium features, the Zamp ZR-30 pair is an excellent bang for your buck, especially if your budget is tight. And, the shoes are made from suede leather, so they should also last you for a couple of years of racing.
Most Comfortable Go Kart Shoes For Beginners: Simpson MT-BK
Even though Simpson hasn’t made any of my karting gear lists yet, there’s no doubt that the brand has awesome karting shoes. The MT-BK model is ideal if you want that extra bit of comfort and a durable pair.
The MT-BK go-kart shoes are similar to all the other shoes I’ve mentioned, like the 303s or ProFox’s pair. The difference lies inside, where the Simpson pair excels with a very comfortable Fleece lining.
Also, these shoes have an Achilles’ flex opening, like the RaceQuip pair, which will provide extra heel comfort. But, despite being the most comfortable karting shoe for beginners, the Simpson MT-BK pair is a bit pricey.
Most Durable Go Kart Shoes For Beginners: G-Force GF-236 Pro
Finishing off the list, I’ve found a very durable pair of karting shoes by a somewhat unknown brand. The G-Force GF-236 Pro go-kart shoes piqued my interest because of how nice they look and how durable they are.
Despite being somewhat expensive for their features, the GF-236s are among the most durable karting shoes I found. They’re made from leather lined with carbon fiber for a rugged look. On top of that, the sole is designed to replicate the feel of go-kart tires.
Getting the best go-kart shoes as a beginner can be pretty scary, especially if you’ve been karting for a short time. Hopefully, everything I mentioned above should make it much easier to choose the best karting shoes. That said, always remember to try on any piece of karting gear before you make the purchase.
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!
FAQs for Go Kart Shoes for Beginners
Do I Need Karting Boots?
If you’re karting professionally, you’ll need to wear a pair of karting boots. But, if you’re visiting your local track spontaneously, any pair of shoes will be good enough.