Karting vs Auto-Racing Shoes: Differences & Similarities

It is important to note that karting and auto racing are sports that require adequate use of your feet so getting the right kind of shoes for them should be one of the tops on your list of things you need to do before participating because your shoes help in the overall regulation of pedals and gears.

Karting vs Auto-Racing Shoes

Both sports also require a high level of focus so it will be a great disadvantage to you if your attention is divided between the track and the discomfort caused by your shoes so you must make sure that your shoes are comfortable and properly fitted.

In addition, you will be sitting down for a long time while participating in these sports so putting on tight sportswear will cause unease during the race, so you must endeavor to put on wears especially shoes that are not too tight.

The major difference between Karting and Auto Racing shoes is that while the Auto racing shoes possess amazing shoe design qualities and can be worn for Karting, the Karting shoes cannot be worn for Auto-Racing.

However, with the difference in vehicles used in these sports comes the difference in shoes worn.

Let’s take a look at these differences.

What are the differences between karting boots and auto racing boots?

Karting vs Auto-Racing Shoes

Karting shoe closure difference with racing shoes

Karting shoes have different closures that fasten the shoe, ensure the firm grip of the shoes on your feet and prevent them from loosening.

They have the customary laced closure which could be deadly if they loosen and get caught up in the kart’s tires, the velcro closure that has hooks and loops that bind together for closure, and a dual closure pattern which has both the laced and velcro patterns and provides added safety.

Meanwhile, almost all car racing shoes have a dual closure pattern with consists of both velcro and laced closure, with just a small percentage of these shoes having either the laced closure or velcro closure.

Fire-Resisting differences

Karting Shoes have a low fire retardant capability due to the low probability of a fire outbreak in a karting event while auto racing shoes have very high fire retardant capability due to the high probability of a fire outbreak to occur in a pro car racing competition.


Proper ventilation is a feature that is found in every auto racing shoe through the presence of perforations but this feature is absent in some highly-rated karting shoes like the RaceQuip Euro Carbon L, Simpson MT-BK, RaceQuip 303 amongst others.


Most karting shoes are made up of non-fire retardant materials like vinyl, leather, cotton, polyester, nylon, and suede whose toughness and rigidity ensure the protection of your feet from harm.

It assures of feet protection when it touches hot exhausts or if you collide with an opponent while on the track or experience fraction while karting.

These materials are oftentimes waterproof and help you have full control over the pedals even when it’s raining hence keeping you in top shape and preventing you from having accidents.

Some Premium and expensive karting shoes are however made up of microfiber materials like pyrovatex.

Meanwhile, motor racing shoes are made of CarbonX, Pyrovatex, and Nomex which have a thicker material that adequately insulates heat, more rigidness, and durability compared to the other microfiber materials.

Nevertheless, some racing shoes are also made up of the heat-eradicating and flexible suede material and the durable, well-ventilated, and heat-retaining leather material.


Most car racing boots are made with more of high-top designs with a few made with a low-top design. Karting boots on the other hand are available in high-top and low-top styles, it is up to you to choose the one you want.

Their well-crafted design also aids in rapid heel-toe transitioning.

Heel Support

Racing Shoes also provide adequate Achilles heel support which prevents you from sustaining injuries in your heel in case of friction, impact, or collisions. However, this feature could be absent in most karting shoes.

What are the similarities between karting shoes and auto racing shoes?

Karting vs Auto-Racing Shoes

Abrasion Resistance

The suede leather and leather material which karting shoes are made from are equally as abrasive-resistant as the microfiber materials such as Nomex which racing shoes are made up of.


Karting shoes and car racing shoes are built with a featherweight structure that gives you an advantage over other competitors in terms of speed on the track.

Fit and Comfort

Auto racing and karting shoes are fitted and comfortable shoes which help in the rapid application of gear, brake, and clutch hence keeping you ahead of your competitors. They are oftentimes true to the size so you don’t have to worry whether they will fit when you purchase one for yourself.


The materials these shoes are made up of also ensure that both of them are highly durable and last for a long period.


Both auto racing shoes and karting shoes have well constructed soft padding which provides added comfort to the feet and security during impacts.


Both karting and car racing shoes grip your feet firmly and offer great ankle support which are both very pivotal factors when you are going on long races.


Karting and racing shoes are built with very thin and flexible anti-slip soles which enhances full reactivity when you want to overtake or take a turn also and gives you perfect feedback, a great feel, and full control over the pedals of your go-kart or car.

Ankle Support

Karting and Auto racing shoes offer maximum ankle support and protection while also preventing them from blistering.


Auto racing and karting boots have lateral forefoot support which offers added security and a thin tongue flap design holds them in place and prevents them from moving from side to side while racing.

They are also available in different colors and stylish patterns for you to choose from.


Both karting and racing shoes are built with a very narrow structure.

This prevents them from taking too much space in the pedal box area.

Can you use karting shoes for auto racing?

Karting is a sport with a very low risk of a fire outbreak so its shoes are built with a very low grade of fire retardancy which makes it a very bad option for auto racing which has a higher risk of a fire outbreak.

Auto racing shoes are built with fire-resistant materials like Nomex, Pyrovatex, Modacrylic fibers, CarbonX, Kermel, amongst others.

Nomex is the most commonly used fire-resistant material in car racing shoes due to its stiff and durable buildup, poor conduction of heat, and capability to endure at least 370 degrees Celsius and 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Produced and launched by chemical company DuPoint in 1960, this material doesn’t melt or aid combustion in the atmosphere.

This is made possible by its inherent fire-resistant capability which helps cease burning immediately after the heat source is discarded and its ability to provide a shield and prevent burns on the wearer’s skin by becoming hardened when open to fervent heat.

Due to its impressive fire retardant ability, Nomex is also used in the production of suits for pilots, firefighters, industrial workers, astronauts and in the production of hoses in automobiles, helmet linings, insulation for spark plugs, oven gloves, and lots more.

Can you use racing shoes as kart shoes?

Despite the differences between these shoes, car racing shoes can be a perfect fit for karting.

In auto racing, the shoes of these drivers are used for complex issues like the regulation of speed using gears and that would make the regulation of go-kart speeds a lesser problem for them hence go-karts don’t have gears.

In addition, car racing shoes are highly comfortable and well ventilated so you don’t need to worry about your feet getting wet and sweaty while karting.

They also have thin and soft soles which fit perfectly on the pedal and give you a better feel of the pedal.

Their featherweight buildup is also a very valid feature that could help to keep you at a top speed with no added weight to your feet.

They also have abrasion resistance which can protect your feet in case of friction during the race and ankle protection that can keep your feet safe if you accidentally slide out of the go-kart or collide with another go-kart.

This was further confirmed when top pro racers like Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Charles Leclerc, George Rusell, Alexander Albon, and a host of others went karting during their off-seasons with their full kits including their racing shoes and did exceptionally well.

A good example of a car racing shoe that can be perfect for karting is the RaceQuip Black Race SFI Shoe.

The outer layer of this masterpiece is made from suede leather material and has a fire-resistant Pyrovatex lining.

The comfortability and great pedal feel it provides coupled with its one-of-a-kind Achilles flex opening which enhances adequate throttle regulation make the 3.3/5 rating given to it by SFI seem rather inadequate.

It is properly made with a standard rubber sole, a removable insole, and a narrow buildup which makes it great for heel-toe downshifting.

It has a double closure system (laced and velcro closure) which ensures its stability and a great arch and ankle support.

In addition, it offers top quality at a very affordable rate, a durable structure, and can be worn for long races without causing any hindrances or distractions.

However, it is only available in a clean black design.


Karting vs Auto-Racing Shoes


No matter the sport you are participating in, whether karting or racing, you should ensure that your footwear is comfortable to avoid distress in the course of the race.

You must also ensure that your shoe is true to size to avoid it slipping off or causing unease.

Putting on a lightweight shoe is always an added advantage in these kinds of sports because it enhances speed and adds little or no pressure to the feet compared to heavier shoes which could also slow you down.

Breathability is also a key factor you must consider when picking a shoe for these kinds of sports. I know you won’t like your feet to get slippery due to the accumulation of excess sweat in them while participating in either of these sports.

You can also put on socks to help in the absorption of moisture in your feet and to help your shoes to guarantee a proper fit if they are oversized.

You must also make sure that your shoes subdue fatigue so that they won’t make your feet cramp when you go for long laps.

In addition, you must ensure that the sole of your shoe is stretchable, thin, and grips your feet firmly.

If you are participating in karting, your shoes should have a waterproof build-up to keep you in top condition even when there is a downpour of rain.

And if you are purchasing shoes for amateur or professional car racing events then you should endeavor to check out the tags on the shoes and confirm it has been approved, certified, and sanctioned by either USA-based SFI Foundation, Inc. (SFI) or France-based Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

These are bodies in charge of handling the overall safety protocols in professional racing events like F1.


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