The 5 Best Karting Balaclavas and Head Socks

Karting balaclavas, also known as go-kart racing head socks are a popular racing underwear that are worn on top of your head. When worn, it should fully cover your head and neck, with a gap in the front for your eyes, nose and mouth.

Go-kart head socks have an important function when it comes to go-kart racing. Firstly, a high-quality karting balaclava is made of soft and stretchable fabric, which gives an increased sense of comfort while wearing a karting helmet.  Additionally, the material material of the head sock also tends to fill the air pockets between your head and the helmet. This will ensure that the helmet is firmly held in place.

They also feature a moisture wicking material that helps to absorb sweat and grease, while kart racing. This means that you don’t need to wash your helmet as many times making it longer-lasting. As you can see, wearing a karting balaclava during a kart race has many advantages. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look into the top 5 balaclavas for go-kart racing. We’ll also be discussing further details such as their material, comfort and features. The great thing about go-kart head socks is that they are one-size-fits-all. This means that there is no measuring required. So, let’s jump right in!

1. Alpinestars Balaclava


Key Features

  • Extended neck extension for added protection
  • Moisture wicking material
  • Strategically placed chin panel

Alpinestars in known for their high-quality go-kart racing equipment and their karting balaclava is no exception. The Alpinestars Balaclava features material that has moisture wicking properties. This means that it absorbs moisture and sweat during a race, which helps to preserve your helmet.

The material used for this karting head sock feels soft, stretchable and is extremely comfortable to wear. Combined with a proper ventilated racing helmet, this balaclava is suitable for any type of season. Another great feature is the open face design. The large oval opening fits well around your head leaving your mouth, nose and eyes open.

Besides an ergonomic fit, the Alpinestars Balaclava also features a comfortable chin panel. This chin panel gives greater flexibility on the chin area, enabling a more ergonomic fit. The additional neck length also means added protection for kart races. Overall, the Alpinestars Balaclava is the top pick, when it comes to go-kart racing head socks.

2. OMP Racing Balaclava


Key Features

  • FIA 8856-2000 homologated
  • Double layer construction
  • Fire-resistant Nomex material 

The OMP Racing Balaclava is another great go-kart racing balaclava that has been designed for a wide variety of motorsports. It’s also FIA 8856-2000 homologated, which means that it also meets official automobile racing requirements.

This balaclava is made from a nomex material, which has flame-retardant properties. This feature is great to have, however not all too important when it comes to go-kart racing, as there are rarely any fires. The head sock is made of a double layer construction ensuring that it’s extremely comfortable to wear when kart racing.

Another great feature of the OMP Racing Balaclava that makes it comfortable to wear is that it’s sewn with external seams. The stitching on the outside means that you won’t feel them while wearing it. He double layered material also ensures maximum protection and doesn’t feel hot when wearing. Overall, this racing balaclava is great for go-kart racing and can also be used for automotive racing.

3. Alpinestars ZX Balaclava

Key Features

  • Hypoallergenic and anti-static material
  • Polypropylene fabric helps to regulate body temperature
  • Fabric has hydrophobic and moisture wicking properties 

Another great karting head sock is the Alpinestars ZX Balaclava. It’s made from a polypropylene fabric, which is very stretchable and fits around any head size. The main difference between this and the other Alpinestars balaclava is that the opening is only for the eyes and nose, only a small hole for the mouth. It also FIA 8856-2018 homologation.

This means that the ZX Balaclava has slightly less air ventilation, but to compensate the material feels more stretchy. This karting balaclava also features hydrophobic and moisture wicking properties, meaning that it does well in absorbing sweat when racing.

The fabric has a great thickness to it, so that it’s thin enough to stretch and thick enough to feel comfortable when wearing underneath your racing helmet. The polypropylene material is also hypoallergenic, anti-static and heat-resistant. It’s been engineered for body temperature regulation, which is especially noticeable during hot racing days. All things considered, the Alpinestars KX Balaclava is a great choice for go-kart racing.

4. RaceQuip Head Sock


Key Features

  • Unique blend of aramid fabric and fire retardant cotton
  • Comfortable to wear and material feels soft 
  • Exceeds SFI 3.3 standards  

The RaceQuip Head Sock is another great go-karting balaclava that features a front opening for the eyes and nose, while the mouth remains covered. A great feature of this karting balaclava is that it’s manufactured to exceed the SFI 3.3 standards.

It’s made of a unique blend of aramid fibre and fire-retardant cotton (FRC) that give it very durable and long-lasting properties. This blend of fabrics is also very light in weight and it’s also hypoallergenic. This means that there is a low chance that it will irritate your skin when wearing.

The RaceQuip Head Sock is also very comfortable to wear and the soft and comfortable fabric also has heat-resistant properties. Ensuring that you maintain a cool head and body throughout your karting race. It’s designed to promote great thermal management. This karting helmet is available in one-size-fits-all sizing and is a great choice for kart racing.

5. K1 Race Gear Balaclava


Key Features

  • Reverse stitching for increased comfort
  • Neck extension for increased protection
  • Made of 100% cotton fabric  

The K1 Race Gear Balaclava is another great karting head sock that is made of 100% cotton. The cotton fabric used is extremely soft and feels very comfortable when wearing. The great thing about cotton is that it has moisture and perspiration-absorbing properties. This means that you don’t have to worry about cleaning your go-kart helmet interior as often.

The open face design is large so that it leaves your eyes and nose exposed. As only the mouth is covered, the large front opening gives you great visibility. Moreover, the neck extension ensures a better overall fit and adds additional protection.

The comfort of this karting balaclava is further enhanced by the reverse stitching. It’s so comfortable that you’ll barely even notice this head sock while racing. The K1 Race Gear Balaclava is a great choice for karters and the head sock is available in black, blue and red color.

Buying Guide: How to Choose a Karting Balaclava

Getting the right karting balaclava for go-kart racing is extremely important. There are many advantages of wearing a balaclava during a go-kart race. In order to find the best suitable one for you, it’s important to take a closer look at some of the aspects that you should consider. These aspects include material, comfort, certification, design and cost. Let’s take a closer look, so that you can make an informed purchase decision. 

Material

The material of the go-kart head sock is important, as it not only determines the comfort when wearing it but it can also have some additional advantages. Most karting balaclavas are made of a polypropylene or cotton fabric. This is because both of these materials feel comfortable when wearing and are also very stretchable. This also means that they’re able to fit almost any head size.

Additionally, these two materials have heat-retardant properties and are able to regulate temperature very well. This is ideal for kart racing on a warm day. More advanced balaclavas also feature a fire-resistant material such as Nomex. This feature is generally used for automotive racing, as fires are extremely rare when go-kart racing, so it may not be part of your requirement.

Comfort

It’s important to get a material that is comfortable for you as any irritating sensation while karting can lead to distractions. Both cotton and polypropylene fabrics are soft and comfortable to wear. Another benefit karting balaclavas have is that they fill the air gap between your karting helmet and your head. This makes wearing a helmet more comfortable to wear, as well.

It’s also important to note that you should look out for karting head socks that have stitching on the exterior, not interior. Exterior stitching, sometimes referred to as reverse stitching leads to additional wearing comfort.

Certification

Karting head socks are mainly worn to increase driving comfort and to protect the lining of your karting helmet. Sometimes, you’ll see certain go-kart balaclavas with FIA 8856-2000 homologation. This homologation certifies that a balaclava is a protective clothing for automobile drivers that follow FIA standards.

Automotive protective gear usually has fire-retardant properties as fires can be quite a common occurrence in auto racing crashes. This isn’t the case for go-kart racing and therefore this homogulation is not seen on many karting balaclavas. For casual go-kart racing non-homologated head socks are fine. For competitive go-kart racing, check the safety requirements with the event organizer or the governing racing association.

Design

When it comes to design, you’ll notice that all of the karting balaclavas have an open face style. On the one hand, there’s a full open face design leaving eyes, nose and mouth exposed. On the other hand you have a partial open face design that leaves the eyes and nose exposed, only covering the mouth.

The full open face design gives you slightly more breathability, depending on the helmet that you wear. When kart racing you should only be breathing through your nose. Therefore, it shouldn’t really matter which design you opt for.

Price

The great thing about karting balaclavas is that they are very reasonably priced. You’ll be able to find a balaclava for just over $10 up to about $30. You should pick something that suits your budget. You’ll be able to find a reasonably priced head sock without much of a challenge.

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