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Leather Work Gloves: Which Ones Are Right for You?

by Tony Geng on August 18, 2014

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You can ignore a lot of things – your mother’s phone call, your buddy’s texts to help him move, the baby monitor in the middle of the night (just kidding). But, if you’re buying leather work gloves, there are some basics you can’t ignore.


Ask these six questions when buying leather gloves:


1. Is Leather the Right Choice for You?

When it comes to work gloves, many people don’t like change. Many people use leather work gloves because that is what they always used.

But like Ray DiBello wrote in Confessions of a Leather Glove Addict, in many cases palm-coated gloves are a better option for protection, comfort and price.

That being said, there are a few exceptions to the rule where leather gloves perform better:

  • Jobs that need flame resistance: Leather is naturally flame resistant. In industries like oil and gas or welding, leather is a great choice.
  • Heavy-duty abrasive applications: Leather has incredible abrasion resistance. Anyone working in industries like lumber or brick laying will benefit from leather.


2. What’s the Best Style of Leather Glove?:

Here are the best styles of leather gloves, ranked in order of highest to lowest dexterity:


Drive/Roper Gloves:

Driver (sometimes called roper) gloves are designed for holding steering wheels. These gloves conform to the shape of the driver’s hands to allow them better feel of the road. Driver gloves are meant to be worn snug and not interfere with hand movement. See more driver and roper leather gloves here.


Leather Palm String-Knit Gloves:

Leather palm gloves have several advantages compared to tradition full leather gloves, including breathability and comfort. Since leather is not itself cut resistant, a liner must be sewn into the glove, adding an extra layer. This way, leather palm gloves also reduce bulk. See more leather palm string-knit gloves here.


Clute-Cut Leather Gloves:

The clute-cut pattern is one of the most cost-effective options for leather gloves. Using a leather palm and nylon back, clute cut refers to the placement of the seams along the back of the glove for a seam-free palm. See more clute-cut leather gloves here.


Safety Cuff Leather Gloves:

Safety cuff leather gloves have a longer, two-inch cuff to keep your wrist protected. These gloves are constructed in a similar fashion to driver gloves.


3. Which Leather is Best?

In general, the leather with the best combination of dexterity and durability is goatskin. It is very thin and flexible but surprisingly abrasion resistant.

COW-GRAIN at 5,644 rotations before wear-through

GOAT-GRAIN at 13,000 rotations and no wear-through

If your application requires exceptional durability go for cowhide, horsehide or even water buffalo, with water buffalo being the most durable.

Sheepskin is a good choice for ultra-fine dexterity required for some welding gloves, but the durability is not generally suitable for work gloves.

4. Split or Grain?

Split leather is less expensive and good for application where oil absorption is an advantage (metal stamping). Grain leather is better for working outdoors and is more durable.

Split Leather

Grain Leather


5. Do You Need a Cut-Resistant Lining?

Leather is not cut resistant. A cotton glove is more cut resistant than a leather glove of an equal weight. That’s why it is a good idea to choose a glove a leather glove with a cut-resistant liner for added protection.


6. Can Your Gloves Be Laundered?

A lot of times people don’t even think about laundering leather gloves, but a good launderer can help you get multiple uses out of a leather work glove.

Want to learn more about leather gloves?

Click the picture below to read The Bad-Ass Guide to Leather Work Gloves:

bad-ass guide to gloves

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Reader Comments'

Hi i currently have a drill crew working in south america. They are having a hard time finding a durable work glove that holds upto bentonite soil/clay do you have any products that can withstand the humidity, heat and soil type of that environment? Thanks in advance for any help

Reply Matthew - September 14, 2017

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