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The Barehanded Guide to Gloves

by Matt on March 14, 2017

Comments (13)

Nothing starts my day off better than sitting down at my computer with a cup of coffee to check Superior Glove’s social media presence. We’ll have a few kind comments on Twitter, some content sharing on LinkedIn, a tumbleweed rolling across Google Plus… Then I visit Facebook to see what fresh hell people have come up with to complain about safety gloves.

These comments range from the misinformed:

“I’ve been [in] sheet metal for 17 years, and some of the worst cuts I have gotten on my hands were after wearing gloves. Your hands get soft, and you get used to grabbing sharp edges. Plus, you can’t pick up screws, and bolts, and nuts.”

To the poetic:

negative social media comment


We’ve joked on the site before about the macho resistance to wearing PPE. About the workers who take pride in the built-up calluses on their hands. The ones who wrap duct tape around their safety gloves, to keep wearing them long after the expiry date has passed.

We can present the statistics, yet hand injuries are still the second most common injury on job sites.

I get it, you don’t like gloves. But what I don’t get is why you would sacrifice the use of your hands to save your pride. I never want to hear someone say the sentence “it’s part of the job.”


Preventable injuries are not part of the job — they are the reason that jobs are delayed and come in over-budget.


We set out to hear from real people about why they hate safety gloves so much. Then we used the feedback to find solutions to their complaints. Not only for their sake but the sake of their exhausted safety managers who are sick of non-compliance.

Since most of the dissent came from Facebook, that became our social media of choice. To inspire Facebook users to comment, we posted this picture:


real men don't wear gloves
Here’s some of the feedback we received:


Sizing Concerns:

Randy W. commented:

“I have big hands. I very much do not like wearing gloves. They are too tight in all the wrong areas. Even with a 2XL or 3XL glove. Very rarely do I find a pair I like.”

This is a common complaint and a valid one — who wants to wear something that’s uncomfortable?

Glove Suggestion:

Avoid leather gloves; look for string-knit options.

Here’s why:

Leather gloves are good for many things, but conforming to the shape of your hand isn’t one of them. Compared to a string-knit, they are bulkier, hotter and more constricting. If you’re having an issue finding a glove size to fit your hand, string-knits are the best option.

You can also ensure the best fitting gloves by measuring the size of your hand. Download our glove and sleeve sizing guide now!


Lack of Dexterity:

David S. said:

“Usually gloves prevent the ability to do a certain task. Your sense of touch isn’t the same as if you weren’t wearing gloves, it’s tough to handle small objects, which prevent you from doing a job at a steady pace [while] providing protection at the same time.”

Dexterity can be pretty subjective. The range of motion needed to carry lumber will be different from that needed to work on circuit boards. But workers in both applications will want their version of the best dexterity. Twenty years ago the only safety glove options were a leather fitters glove or a bulkier string-knit glove.

Today, we have a lot more options:

  • Different glove gauges from a bulkier 7-gauge up to a slim 18-gauge
  • Glove coatings for different uses like polyurethane for assembly or micropore nitrile for handling oily metal
  • Engineered yarns that can increase cut resistance without increasing the bulk of the glove

Glove Suggestion:

Look for a finer gauge glove — between 13 and 18 — and choose a coating like polyurethane which is great for tactile feel. Our Emerald CX® 13-gauge Kevlar®/Stainless-steel Knit with PU Palms which combines good tactile feel with ANSI level A4 cut resistance.

Emerald CX 13-gauge kevlar/stainless-steel knit with pu palms S13CXPU
Get a Free Glove Sample


Too Constricting:

Aaron P. said:

“I hate wearing gloves. I’m a steel flame cutter by trade. I find [gloves] too constricting… My hands and arms always have burns on them. I only put gloves on when I’m handling something very hot or heavy!”

Gloves that protect against high heat can be a bit less roomy from the amount of insulation that’s needed to prevent burns.

When it comes to heat-resistant safety gloves, it’s not uncommon for people to over-estimate how much heat protection they’ll need — selecting a glove that protects against 500°F when they’re only handling parts that are 350°F.

Here are four things to consider when selecting heat-resistant gloves:

  1. How hot is the item? Use an infrared thermometer and get an accurate measurement
  2. How heavy is the item? A fifty pound piece of steel will require more contact than a five-pound piece.
  3. Is there cool down time? The glove will trap heat. If there isn’t time for it to cool down between uses, you’ll begin to feel heat through the material.
  4. How long will you be holding onto the item? The longer you handle an item, the more heat will transfer from the object to your glove.

Learn more in The Beginner’s Guide to Heat Resistance.

How to Find the Right Safety Gloves:

Without knowing the applications and the hazards associated with it, it’s difficult to suggest the perfect pair of work gloves. However, we manufacture over 3,000 styles of hand and arm protection. So it’s safe to say that we have a style that will match your needs.

You could go to a hardware store to buy generic gloves but these inexpensive options may lack protection and consistency in sizing.

Instead, look to a reputable glove manufacturer when selecting safety gloves… Might I suggest selecting Superior as your glove manufacturer of choice.

Then you can be as happy as Charles L.

“I really hated [gloves]! But then my company started to buy Superior gloves… And now seriously I only removed them for break”

If you’re ready to find your perfect pair of safety gloves, click below to take advantage of our sampling program today!

superior glove sampling program

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Reader Comments'

I don’t mind wearing gloves outside my equipment but when I am told I have to wear them when I am inside equipment that is stupid what the heck is going to happen inside a closed in cab

Reply Dan Wissman - March 31, 2017'

I am a cabinet maker and consider wearing gloves in my shop a safety violation

If a sliver penatraits your glove and grabs on to your hand it can cause major injury
Also if your glove frays and gets caught by a spinning tool or blade you get pulled in

Reply Toby - May 11, 2017'

I’m a asphalt paving contractor,from a wheel barrow full to 10,000 sqft! Gloves are good for the right instance but in certain instances they just make a mess . Asphalt is tar based it sticks to every thing! When you have to hold a lute ( asphalt rake) it is hard to grip with gloves, the gloves that grip are hot to wear, but if you can endure the heat ,the gloves get covered with tar and transfer that tar to all the other tools and controls! Plus wearing gloves gives a false sense of security and you get rammy ! There is a right time and a wrong time to wear gloves. The problem is recognising the appropriate time!

Reply Fred Denomey - July 31, 2017'

I am having trouble finding a glove that can handle 3 risk factors simultaneously, I need a glove that is cut resistant, for working with 50 pound oil filters with sharp edges on the only edge available to remove and install the filter. Heat resistant approximately 250 degrees F, with chemical resistance for ester-phosphate.
I can find a glove that works for each situation individually, or maybe for two but nothing that works for all 3 at the same time. I have sliced through leather and cut myself, the chemical gloves available are not heat resistant and the cut resistant gloves have an open mesh one the back and I get chemical exposure through the gloves. At this poisn’t I have to decide which injury I am willing to accept which means I knowingly violate safety policies.

Reply Chris - September 22, 2017

    Hi Chris, I’ve forwarded your email and we’ll have someone reaching out shortly.

    Reply Joe Geng - September 27, 2017'

How about the fact that gloves get caught in machinery and pull your hands in. Do you have a cute for that? I’ll stick with the cuts and grinds instead of loosing a finger or hand.

Reply JESS L HOFFMAN - October 3, 2017'

I’m an electrician by trade and have to sometime terminate 16 gage wire or smaller. I find wearing gloves too bulky for this job, but I still have cut hazards. Any suggestions for a glove that might work?

Reply Travis McDonald - October 21, 2017'

I have a very hard time finding gloves that fit. Like never actually. My hands are thick and solid nk loose skin and my fingers are to short for all gloves. I where everything from welding gloves, dirt biking, insulated / non insulated rubber gloves. Very few gloves on the market even come close to fitting.

Reply Robert - November 3, 2017'

Concrete: finishers and drivers/ operators. Dealing with all temperatures and moisture. Constantly washing and using water, but having to operate machinery

Reply Shawn - November 13, 2017

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