Racer USA High Racer Gloves
The High Racer gloves are priced among the giants in the racing industry with an MSRP of $239USD. They come packed with protection in key areas like the base of the palm, finger joints, back of the hand, wrist bone, and forearm. In fact, they are rated CE level 1 along with the competitors like the Dainese Druid 3 or the Alpinestars GP Pro.
These race-worthy gloves are best suited for warmer climate riding as they were designed for track riding not dashing through the snow.
The High Racers are overall great gloves and do what they were built to do – protect your paws. Aside from loads of carbon fiber bits scattered across key areas, the two biggest highlights are the Knox SPS palm sliders and the kangaroo leather palm. The palm sliders will pay for themselves should you find yourself sliding your way out of an apex. The kangaroo leather palms not only provides great dexterity but also provides excellent abrasion resistance.
If you’re looking for a full gauntlet glove capable of providing track-worthy protection, the High Racer from Racer (the name is a tough one), will get the job done.
Thank you to Lee at Racer Gloves USA for providing these High Racers at no cost for this review.
The High Racer comes in two colors: black and white. This review was on the all-black men’s version. You can also read wBW’s review on the women’s High Racer glove. The main difference between the two is that the men’s come with the Knox palm slider while the women’s come with a carbon fiber slider.
This glove comes to the party with a 95% leather construction. This figure is surprisingly high considering the amount of less expensive materials found in most products these days. Perched nicely over the knuckle area is molded carbon fiber held securely with a double stitch with padding underneath. This section was very comfortable and fit a closed fist with ease.
The index, middle fingertips, and thumb of each glove have a silicone fingertip grip material present. This actually hinders the dexterity and feel on the finger pads but it does give you a bit more bite when gripping the brake/clutch levers. At the end of the day, I can see the reason for them but I can’t say that I’m a fan.
Fixed atop of the thumb and fingers (excluding the fourth/pinky finger) are small carbon fiber gems or shells with a base layer of soft foam underneath that covers the finger joints. I appreciate these being left off of the pinky area – one less thing to rip off during a crash.
The fourth/pinky finger is bridged to the third/ring finger to prevent “finger roll”. Keeping the ‘weakest link’ (your pinky finger) tied to your ring finger is an absolute ‘must have’ for a track glove – if you don’t have this on your current gloves – upgrade now!
The palm of each glove flaunts two large-looking pieces of LDPE (low-density polyethylene). These are palm sliders that have been supplied and patented by Knox. They are conveniently placed over the scaphoid and pisiform (on the lower sections of the palm) to provide additional crash protection during impacts and/or slides.
At first glance, the Knox palm sliders look obtrusive and in the way, but they aren’t. I actually forgot they were there while riding for hours on end over the past few weeks.
Along the wrist section, is an accordion-style stretch (stitched into the leather) in addition to a velcro strap to keep the gloves snug – no matter how much you move around. Placed right on the wrist bone is another chuck of carbon fiber for more crash protection.
Lastly, on the gauntlet was another chunk of carbon fiber to provide crash protection and all was held together nicely with a large hook & loop for secure closure. The Racer
The interior of the glove is made up of 100% polyester Teramid fabric, a moisture-permeable and waterproof nylon woven fabric. This is present in all areas of the glove, excluding the kangaroo leather section (entire palm/finger area).
Overall, I did not have any “hot spots” or pain points while wearing the High Racer – even with the tightest of grip. The interior was comfortable and provided ventilation in way of the perforated leather sections on top of the wrist and in the sides of the fingers.
Here are the features as per Racer Gloves USA’s website:
Kangaroo palm with Knox SPS palm sliders
Carbon Fiber protection on knuckles, fingers, and wrist bone
Ring and little finger adjoined to prevent “finger roll”
Perforated gauntlet and fingers for airflow
Available in Black or White/Black
Racer Gloves USA promoted an “Outstanding fit with virtually no break-in” – but that’s a bit of a stretch (pun intended). Like “virtually” all gloves, the High Racers took over a half dozen, sweaty, hour-long trips before they calmed down and welcomed my hands into them.
Once the gloves broke in, they felt great and like a nice wine, they’ll only get better with age.
Per the Racer size chart, I wear an XL, and my index, middle, and ring fingers each comfortably reach the end of the glove. The pinky does have a smidge of extra material but it isn’t a deal-breaker nor impede function. For reference, my hand circumference is approximately 8″ / 20 cm.
The materials used on the High Racer were quality but lightweight. On that note, my curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to weigh my current track glove against the Racer glove. When weighed against my Alpinestar GP Pro (another track equipped glove), the Higher Racer came in weighing 6.49oz (184g) while my trusty GP Pros (and chunky) scaled in at 7.12oz (202g) apiece.
For the purposes of testing, the High Racers were worn with an Alpinestars GP Plus R Air, an Icon leather jacket, and a Sedici one-piece leather race suit. Not only was I able to put the gloves on quickly (speed is ‘everything’ these days), but High Racer fit over all three with zero problems leaving zero skin exposed.
Utilizing kangaroo leather on the palm is a huge plus in this area. But for me, the grip pads or “fingertip grippers” completely disrupted the feel and dexterity that you typically get with kangaroo leather palms.
In all, the feel was great once the glove was broken in and after I had stopped thinking about the “finger ripper grippers” on the fingertips.
The intended use for the High Racer is to fit snuggle on the hands of a rider at the track. During a race or a track day, your hands are usually anything but dry. And like every glove I’ve had my hands in before, perspiration is a constant, and the High Racer was no exception.
I can appreciate the attempt with the perforated leather sections but in a glove meant to provide protection first, I don’t fault Racer for not keeping my paws dry. If they were claiming to be “the perfect summer glove”, this would be a different story.
Ever get caught in a rainstorm in a leather jacket? How’d that work out? Probably the same way these track gloves would react – wet, heavy, and wetter.
For a glove with an MSRP of just under $250, I would expect the seams and stitching to be next to flawless but this wasn’t the case with the High Racers. Aesthetically, the seams and stitches aren’t perfectly trimmed, nor are the edges as clean as those on other upper echelon racing gloves. These imperfections were mostly surrounding the finger areas while everything else checked out fine.
The High Racer gives the illusion of a hand-stitched glove from decades past. While I commend the classic look, the aesthetic is outdated when put beside a competitor’s new school design.
The High Racers aren’t all bad looks – the branded piping on the cuff and stamped logo on the velcro was a nice touch.
The integrity of the glove construction has the boxes checked as the downfalls are mostly aesthetic.
The tops of the fingers consist of accordion leather and carbon-fiber armor with an additional leather layer holding them in place.
The stitching as mentioned above was not perfect but the overall functionality is not affected by the messy stitching or outseams.
The finger sidewalls are made up of perforated leather to assist in ventilation. Like all full gauntlet track gloves, these areas are extremely tough to provide enough ventilation without losing integrity, so no fault in this area.
Palm & Wrist
The palms are made up of very nice kangaroo leather with the gripper material double stitched in place. The gripper material in this area is less of a bother with the exception of the entire thumb being covered. This does detract from dexterity but the purpose is to provide additional grip. While I understand the additional grip provided may come in handy, I don’t believe adding it solved a problem worth ‘fixing’.
I personally run a combination of soft and medium Renthal or Domino grips on my 2008 Yamaha R6. There has never been a time where I needed any more than that, especially at the cost of losing dexterity while on the track.
At the base of the palm lies the Knox palm sliders – they are genius! They may look obnoxious or in the way but they aren’t one bit. The protection they will provide while sliding on the pavement will fair well when compared to the competitors still using chunks of rubber or leather-covered foam in these areas.
The hook & loop wrist strap operated without fail and easy to adjust on the go.
This where the High Racer shines! The kangaroo leather palms, the full-grain leather everywhere else, and the carbon fiber armor paired with the Knox sliders are sure to protect your hands should you go down. They are on the same playing field as the major players like Dainese and Alpinestars with CE level one certification.
The Knox sliders as mentioned before, are a huge standout. Having had my fair share of crashes in past, those sliders will come in handy when put to use.
The big piece of carbon fiber fixed on the gauntlet of the glove is light and flexible – a perfect combination that offers additional impact and slide protection.
The Racer High Racer comes to the stage packing a ton of protection for a medium price. Do they come with the same level of protection found in $400 gloves like the Dainese Full Metal or Alpinestars Supertech? Yes. Are they of the same refined caliber? No, but can they play with the MotoGP giants? Absolutely, for $150 less in fact.
After a few hundred miles of riding, the High Racers are broken in and conform to your hand. At that point, they fit perfectly and are ready to hit the track or canyons.
If you have a motorcycle gear obsession like most of us have, $239USD is a fair enough price to snag a pair. Sure you won’t have the flashiest gloves on the track but you can feel confident in knowing that your hands are about as fully protected as they can be.
Feel was good once broken in
Excellent protection throughout the glove
Stitching/finish construction wasn’t built for looks
Grip pads on the fingertips
Break-in time was not as advertised
Specs / Where to Buy
Manufacturer: Racer Gloves USA
Price (When Tested): $239.00 USD
Made In: Made in China
Alternative colors: Black or White
Sizes: S – 3XL
Review Date: May 2021
Racer USA High Racer Gloves Photo Gallery