The year's best karting gear

2018’s coolest karting gear

© Dutch Photo Agency/Red Bull Content Pool

Stay safe and look like a legend on the kart track with our top gear suggestions for this year.

Karting is a dangerous sport, with drivers reaching speeds of over 70mph while perched just centimetres from the ground. Wearing appropriate safety equipment is therefore essential. All the top motorsport apparel brands manufacture karting-specific safety equipment that not only keeps you safe, but also looks slick out on circuit.

Here’s our pick of the best, from head to toe…

Helmet – Arai SK6

The Arai SK6 might be pricey – but hey, you only get one bonce
The Arai SK6 might be pricey – but hey, you only get one bonce

For many years, the helmet to have in karting has been the Arai SK6. A glance at any major karting event will show you the popularity of this helmet. Comfortable, stylish and safe, this helmet is the top of everyone’s list. I’ve had mine for a couple of years now and I love it. While not cheap at just under £500, can you put a price on the safety of your head?

For that extra ‘wow’ factor to your custom helmet design, why not upgrade your Arai with some Antman Custom Trimz from just £17.

Race suit – Custom suit from Custom Racewear

Having a race suit that really pops can turn your look from Sunday driver to Max Verstappen in no time. There are many plain suits out there, but if you want to stand out, then why not go fully customised and design your dream suit at an affordable price.

Custom Racewear offer this exact service and a made-to-measure fit for roughly the same price as an ‘off the shelf’ model. For £350 you can go all out with colours, names, logos – you name it, they do it.

Gloves – Freem Spider Touch II

Gloves are one of the most important items of clothing when driving fast. You need feel and comfort, as well as protection from blisters. Gloves are always one of the first things to wear out in karting, as all the force on your body is supported by your hands on the steering wheel. The Freem Spider Touch II gloves are our pick. Packing the holy trinity of comfort, feel and durability, these gloves might be slightly above the average price at £50, but they will last much longer than most others on the market. I'm still using the pair I bought five years ago…

Rib protector – Tillett P1

Believe us, it's not worth getting a broken rib!
Believe us, it's not worth getting a broken rib!

Only a fool would race a kart without a rib protector. Every harsh bump and kerb sends a jolt straight to the ribs of the driver, and without protection a cracked rib or two is the likely outcome. The Tillett P1 is the protection system to have; solid enough to defect even the harshest impacts away from your delicate bones, plus the P1 is so comfortable you'll forget you're wearing it. The price may make your eyes water at £189, but a broken rib can see you on the pit wall for a couple of months. Moreover, the fabric outer material also stops your seat boring holes in your brand new custom race suit!

Ear plugs

While not the sexiest of products, a few sets of ear plugs for the price of a cup of coffee will save your hearing in later life. Not only that but you'll be more sensitive to the sounds around you and be able to hear if someone is on your tail and eyeing up an overtake. All pro racers, from Marc Márquez to Daniel Ricciardo, protect their hearing, so why wouldn’t you?

Boots – Adidas XLT

Not only will you want to feel the pedals for the most precise throttle control, but you probably want to look cool while strolling around the paddock too. The Adidas XLT kart boots resemble high-end football boots more than they do a racing shoe. In four eye-catching colours, you’ll not only be the latest on the brakes, but also have the best-looking boots.

Safety should always come first, but if you can look great while being safe then happy days! There are of course many different products available, but if you turn up at the wearing this equipment, you will surely be the envy of your competition.