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Ask the Expert: How to Find the Right Arm Protection?

by Julie on May 26, 2017

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There are endless combinations to consider when choosing the right arm protection: thumb hole, no thumb hole, amount of arm coverage, material type and level of cut resistance. It can get confusing — I don’t like confusing. If you’re the same way, then you need to watch this video. Our content marketer Matt sat down with Robert Gheesling, our resident sleeve expert, to talk about choosing the right arm protection for you.


Watch the video then sample the products Robert recommends below!



The Original Sleeve:

When sleeves were first introduced the option was a tubular Kevlar® sleeve (pictured below). It provided cut resistance, was fire retardant and was a barrier between your skin and things that would hurt you.
Superior® Kevlar® Knit Stockinette Cut Resistant Sleeves Product ID: KKWC
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About the Sleeve:

  • 1354 grams of (ANSI level A3) cut protection
  • Flame resistant
  • Fully launderable (no bleach)

What Robert said:

It’s a great concept but the issue was that they would stretch out of shape, they’d fall down the arms so they became uncomfortable and issue to the people wearing them because half the time they were down at the forearm instead of up on the bicep.


Developing Tapered Sleeves for Added Comfort:

Superior Glove’s design team saw the flaw in tubular sleeves and came up with our line of STAYz-UP™ tapered sleeves. STAYz-UP™ refers to the elastic top that fits snugly around the bicep and has silicone dots to stop slippage.

This sleeve (KP1T) was the first tapered sleeve that Superior developed. A basic ANSI level A2 cut-resistant sleeve that was similar to Kevlar® tubular style but a lot more comfortable.
Cutban™ Black Tapered Cut-Resistant Sleeves with STAYz-UP™ Armbands Product ID: KP1T
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About the Sleeve:

  • 580 grams (ANSI level A2) of cut protection
  • Tapered sleeve
  • Incidental contact 500°F for 2.75 seconds

What Robert Said:

“You notice your arm is smaller down at your wrist, it’s bigger up in the biceps, so it made perfect sense to make a sleeve that would fit the human arm…”


Flame-Retardant Sleeves:

After tapered cut-resistant sleeves were developed, the next step was to include flame-resistant properties, this was how our Contender™ series came about.
Contender™ Aramid Cut and Flame-Resistant Sleeves with STAYz-UP™ Armbands Product ID: KGC1T
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About the sleeve:

  • 1650 grams (ANSI level A4) of cut protection
  • Flame resistant
  • Incidental contact 600°F for 3.25 seconds


What Robert Said:

The Contender™ series is going to be a sleeve that has Kevlar® or other flame-retardant materials blended into it. So now we have a sleeve that not only gives them the cut resistance they want but we can also give them a sleeve that they can be very safe in wearing that’s not going to continue to burn should a flame or a spark hit it.


Choosing Cut-Resistant Sleeves:

When it comes to choosing cut-resistant sleeves, Robert suggests starting with an ANSI level A2 sleeve for general applications. “In a lot of plants, sleeves are worn because people might accidentally bump into something and scratch their arm.” But is specialized jobs, the answer isn’t so easy.

Understand the Type of Work

In industries like pulp and paper, employees need to change and carry enormous blades against their body.  A sleeve for low cut hazards won’t work. Instead, look for something like our newly released TenActiv™ Black Level A8 Cut-Resistant Sleeve.
TenActiv™ Black Cut-Resistant Sleeves with STAYz-UP™ Armbands Product ID: KPSTA18TH
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Can Sleeves Be Used for Heat Protection?

Sleeves can be used for jobs with heat applications, and are tested under the same standard as gloves but there’s an important distinction. Unlike gloves which you wear to carry something for a period of time, sleeves are used for incidental heat contact, or the time it takes to realize that you’re touching something hot and move your arm away. Superior sleeves with the icon pictured below will let you know the contact time at a specific temperature. Learn more about heat-resistant sleeves in Joe’s Guide to Heat-Resistant Sleeves.
Contender™ Aramid Cut and Flame-Resistant Sleeves with STAYz-UP™ Armbands Product ID: KGC1T


What Robert Said:

We have started rating all of our sleeves using the ASTM F1060 test method, it actually has two parts to it, a time to pain and a time to second degree burn and if you meet the criteria then you get an actual heat level.

What we’ve done is taken the time to pain part of that and applied it to our sleeves and the vast majority of our sleeves will run from a minimum of 300°F to 600°F for incidental contact. What that means is that if I have this particular sleeve on, I could bump into something and it could be 400°F and within three to four seconds, it’s going to get hot enough that I’m going to know it and I’m going to move my arm.


Thumb Hole:

Deciding between a sleeve with or without a thumb hole can be difficult. Thumb holes are called “elbow holes” or “watch window” by people who hate them. But Robert said that you can benefit from thumb holes because it keeps the sleeve in place. “If you were to reach up, it’s not going to pull down and separate from your glove, exposing the wrist area for a possible cut or scratch.” The good news is that if you don’t want a thumb hole, the majority of our sleeves come without them.


How to Choose the Right Sleeve:

Now that you have this wealth of information about sleeves, how do you choose the right one? Robert suggests:

  1. Consider the length: Do you need the whole arm or just the forearm covered? We have sleeves as short as 10 inches and as long as 22 inches
  2. Thumb hole: Will your team benefit from it or will it be a window for their watch?
  3. Features: Cut-resistant, FR, incidental contact
  4. Sizing: Will you have enough sizes to properly outfit your employees?


One Final Thing About Sleeves:

Be sure to incorporate your arm protection into your glove laundering program. Robert says that any of the sleeves listed above wash wonderfully and you can get between 10 to 15 times the life out of them through washing.

Want to try any of the sleeves listed above? Click the “get my sample” button now!

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