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Cut-Proof Gloves (and Other Misconceptions About Cut Resistance)

by Joe Geng on November 23, 2016

Comments (7)

Did you know that 70 percent of workers who experienced hand injuries were not wearing gloves? Or that the other 30 percent were wearing the wrong type of glove.

According to our sales team, cut-resistant gloves are one of the most confusing topics when it comes to hand protection. To set the record straight this blog focuses on misconceptions about cut-resistant gloves.

(Already an expert? Download our Definitive Guide to Hand Protection for FREE by clicking the image below!)


Cut-Proof Gloves:

Cut-proof gloves are the unicorns of the safety world — no, not magical and wonderful. I mean entirely mythical.

There is no such thing as a cut-proof glove. If there was we would only sell one glove and it would be called the “Perfect Glove 3000” and this job would be pretty boring.

What we manufacture is a cut-resistant glove and there are different levels of cut resistance based on the hazards you’re facing.

Even though cut-proof gloves don’t exist, gloves design to be cut resistant are sometimes misinterpreted as being cut proof.

This leads to two things:

  1. People who get angry because their cut proof glove didn’t withstand a sharp blade.
  2. People who get a false sense of security and perform tasks they wouldn’t normally do.

They’re called cut-resistant gloves because realistically cuts can still occur. But by wearing a cut-resistant glove, a cut that required stitches becomes a cut that needs a band-aid.

So we know cut-proof gloves don’t exist, but what about performing a field test to see how cut-resistant a glove really is?


Makeshift Cut Test Methods:

These field tests might be taking a pair of scissors or a table saw or a machete — our sales team has heard it all — to a glove and being dissatisfied that the glove didn’t hold up.

But it’s not surprising.

Cut-resistant gloves are not designed to stop a pair of scissors (or those other test tools). They are tested and rated based on the standards set by American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) ASTM F2992 cut test.

field cut tests

The science behind ANSI’s test method is to measure the cut resistance of a material against a razor blade under a specified load on a TDM-100 machine.

The test accounts for measuring errors by using a new blade each time the test is run since a dull blade would need more force to cut through the material.

The problem we find with performing a cut-resistance test in the field is that they are not realistic.

A pair of scissors will most certainly cut through a glove, even the “Perfect Glove 3000” cut-proof gloves. But how often does the cut hazard a worker is facing come from a pair of scissors cutting through their finger?


Leather is Cut Resistant:

The main reason we need cut-resistant gloves is that our skin cuts very easily. Since leather is just the skin of an animal, it cuts just as easily. Some leather gloves like our Endura® Oilbloc™ Goatskin Anti-Impact Driver Gloves are cut resistant, but that is thanks to a Kevlar® lining.


Only the Palm is Cut Resistant:

We covered this question more in-depth in our post “Which Part of a Glove is Actually Cut Resistant?” but as a general rule, cut-resistant gloves will give you 360 degrees of protection.

If  your glove is made using high performance yarns like Kevlar®, Dyneema® or TenActiv™ then you should feel confident that the back of your hand is just as well protected as your fingers, palm or wrist.

This misconception is a little different because there are some gloves where only the palm of the glove is cut resistant. For instance, our Dexterity® Cotton Glove with Hi-Viz Latex Palm has an impressive ANSI A5 cut level on the palm because of the Punkban™ lining. But, that should be made clear by the manufacturer.


A coating will increase the glove’s cut resistance slightly but only in the area where the coating is applied (usually the palm, unless the glove is fully coated).

As a way to significantly increase the cut protection and make sure it is still 360 degree protection, we use engineered composite yarns.

What are Engineered Composite Yarns?

Engineered yarns are made using two or more components (ie. Kevlar® and steel). These gloves can offer twenty times the cut resistance of comparable-weight leather gloves.

These gloves are needed in a variety of jobs in the pulp and paper, butchery and metal stamping industries.

Adding steel to a high performance yarn is like reinforcing concrete with steel rebar. It’s making something that’s already strong even stronger.


The Highest Rating = The Best Rating:

So cut-proof gloves don’t exist but surely the glove that has the highest cut resistance must be the best glove, right?


This probably seems pretty basic but it’s worth repeating: The best rated glove is the one that protects against the hazards you face. A worker who uses a box cutter once a day won’t need the same protection as someone who works in metal stamping eight hours a day.

Using a glove designed for heavy-duty cut protection for a light-duty application has a snowballing effect: If a worker has less dexterity in the glove, they won’t be able to do their job right. If they can’t do their job right, they won’t wear the glove and then compliance takes a hit. Then the risk of hand injury skyrockets!

Want to learn more? Download The Definitive Guide to Hand Protection!

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Share Your Comments

Reader Comments'

The workplace can create many hazards for your hands, whether from chemicals, cuts or burns. No single glove can provide appropriate protection for every work situation, so it is important to assess the risk for each task and select a glove that provides specialized protection.

Reply Health and Safety Blog - November 24, 2016'

Gloves are the basic safety needs while somebody is working, choosing right gloves according to work is very important.

Reply Gavin Hoult - November 28, 2016'

A client of mine who owns a roofing company in Denver, Colorado, was advised by a local safety consulting company, Advanced Safety Consulting, to get cut resistant type gloves for his crew. Which ones would you recommend?

Reply Clark Carlton - September 8, 2017

    Hi Clark, that’s a great question. There’s a few variables to take into account when choosing the right cut-resistant glove, give us a call at 888 428-1210 to discuss.

    Reply Joe Geng - September 11, 2017'

I have a window producing company. So basically the workers handle glass sheets like float glass, 4 s , low-e the whole day. Most glives that i have had teared up after severall days although they are being carefull whrn handleing the gloves and the glass. I would need something that prevrnts the glass from slipping, and that doesn’t stain or damages the low-e glass either. Does something like that exist?

Reply Engelhardt Maria Mirabela - November 28, 2017

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