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Which Part of a Cut-Resistant Glove is Actually Cut Resistant?

by Julie on March 7, 2017

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As part of our unofficially titled series “most of the world isn’t as big of nerds about gloves as we are,” we’re making an effort to take a step back from the highly technical side of glove manufacturing, and cover the basics. We kicked the series off with our video about glove gauges. So, today we’re looking at which part of your work glove is cut resistant. The answer may seem pretty obvious if it’s a steel-mesh glove like the one pictured below. But confusion seems to grow when the steel is hidden within a glove’s knitting.


chain mail gloves


Cut Resistance Starts in the Yarn:

A glove’s ability to protect you from a sharp object depends on what it is made from. If the glove is made from leather or fibers like cotton or nylon, it will not protect you from cuts. Look to high-strength fibers like para-aramids (brand names: Kevlar®) or high performance polyethylene (brand names: Dyneema® or TenActiv™) which are inherently cut resistant. These fabrics have high-tensile strength that are 5 to 15 times stronger than steel on a equal-weight basis.

Bottom line: If your glove is made from Kevlar® or TenActiv™ (or the non-brand name versions), you can rest assured that the glove has 360 degrees of cut resistance. The video below shows the cut resistance of a Kevlar® glove versus leather and cotton.


Highly Engineered Yarns Ups the Cut Protection:

Kevlar® and TenActiv™ are great options on their own for low to medium cut resistance. However, if a higher level of cut resistance is needed, engineered composite yarns are used. These are yarns that are made using two or more components (ie. Kevlar® and fiberglass or steel). Adding an element like steel to a high-performance yarn is like reinforcing concrete with steel rebar. It’s making something that’s already strong even stronger. Engineered composite yarns will still offer 360 degrees of cut protection.

(Want more information on cut-resistant gloves? Download our Definitive Guide to Hand Protection for FREE by clicking the image below!)


Palm Coatings:

A glove’s palm coating will provide a small amount of extra cut resistance compared to non-coated surfaces.  For example, a cotton glove with a nitrile palm coating will offer slightly more protection than the cotton glove alone. But neither option will have the cut resistance of fibers like Kevlar® or TenActiv™ and a palm coating should not be treated as having cut-resistant properties.


Exceptions to the Rule:

There are circumstances where a glove will have more cut resistance on one side — typically the palm. However, any glove company that’s interested in retaining customers will make that apparent.

A good example of a glove that is only cut resistant on the palm is our Dexterity® Cotton/Poly Knit Glove Lined with Punkban™. The palm of this glove is lined with Punkban™ which is created by spinning and weaving Kevlar®. As a by-product of creating a glove with protection from hypodermic needles, the palm has cut-resistant properties. However, the glove shell is made of cotton and nylon, meaning the areas not lined with Punkban™ will not be cut resistant.

hypodermic needle gloves

Other times a glove can be cut resistant on both the palm and back of glove, but one side will have additional cut protection. Our Emerald CX® Kevlar® Gloves with Steel-Mesh Palms uses a steel-mesh layer on the palm for ANSI level A6 cut resistance while the back is level A4. This glove has been designed for applications like metal stamping, where a higher level of protection is required on the palm.


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Can’t wait until the company I work with gets hooked up with you!

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Great gloves. Can you send to me Catalog. Please.

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