If you work in the construction, farming and ranching industries or do a lot of material handling you’re probably familiar with the importance of leather gloves and you most likely own a pair or two, maybe more.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at a variety of different leathers that are used to make work gloves. You’ll get a better understanding of their qualities and which might be best for your individual hand protection needs.
Why Leather Work Gloves?
As mentioned above, leather gloves are a favorite among workers in various industries because they are capable of standing up to some of the most rigorous tasks. Their durability, lifespan and resistance to abrasions are all popular factors when it comes to choosing leather work gloves.
Leather work gloves are among the most comfortable, durable and rugged types of hand protection available on the market today. Additionally, these gloves help to protect hands from everyday exposure to cold, heat, abrasions and impact related dangers.
You’ll notice we didn’t say cut resistant because even though certain leather work gloves are made of thicker material than others, they are not designated as ANSI cut-resistant gloves. If you would like to learn more about cut-resistant gloves, check out our blog post Finding the Right Cut-Resistant Gloves.
Leathers come in a variety of qualities with the top being ‘Grade A’. These leathers offer the very best in quality, durability and last much longer than inferior grades. Also, depending on which part of the animal’s hide the leather was taken from will determine its physical qualities as well.
- Full and Top grain leather comes from the external side and sometime belly of the animal’s hide and is typically the best quality.
- Split or Flesh Split leather is the part of the hide that is under the top grain leather. This leather is usually heavier and a bit stiffer, but still offers good quality.
- Leather from the shoulder of an animal has the best durability but is often considered B-Grade leather.
- Leather from the underside the animal is much less durable as compared to the other cuts above.
Types of Leather
When it comes to type of leather work gloves are made of, there are a variety of leather choices to choose from.
Since leather is a true natural product, thickness, appearance, durability and color can vary from hide to hide. Some offer a more thick and durable layer of protection, while others are more dexterous and made of much thinner hide.
When selecting leather for your gloves, it really comes down the type of work the gloves will be performing, as different hides have distinct benefits.
Let’s take a look at the 5 most popular leather types to get a better understanding of their differences.
Cowhide is the most popular leather found in work gloves as it is very easy to maintain. It offers a great value due to its availability, durability, appearance and comfort. It also provides excellent abrasion and heat resistance. You can find this leather on our TM2500 Tradesman glove.
Pigskin leather is a bit denser and offers toughness and pliability. Work gloves made of pigskin have a soft yet supple feel to them. It also offers great breathability and won’t stiffen upon drying after getting wet.
Goatskin leather is often considered one of the strongest leathers due to its flexibility and abrasion resistance. While this leather is much thinner as compared to cowhide and pigskin, it offers excellent resistance to tears and the natural oils found within the hide make it very soft and supple.
Deerskin leather is one of the most naturally soft and supple leathers available. Like pigskin when exposed to water it dries soft and remains flexible. Plus, being a lightweight leather, deerskin provides better temperature regulation and won’t overheat your hand. That’s one of the main reasons we use deerskin grain leather on the palm of our TM1500 Tradesman glove.
Sheepskin leather is one of the softest and most comfortable materials available. Its main attributes are the smooth supple grain and light weight feel which provides a unique touch sensitivity and excellent dexterity.
While these are the most common types of leather available for work gloves, there are other leathers out there that provide quality hand protection as well. These include Horsehide and Buffalo Leather. Both are extremely durable, abrasion resistant and their lifespans can last a very long time.
Now that you know all about the different types of leathers available, you should have a better understanding of what type is best for your work glove needs.
For the best longevity, look to a pair of grain leather gloves as you’ll be getting the best quality for your money. If you need work gloves but only for short-term or temporary work, then a split leather glove would be your best bet as these gloves will provide the hand protection you need at a greater cost savings.
Explore all of our glove lines including our Tradesman Series and be sure to follow us on Instagram to see the latest and greatest from GRX and to join us on our adventures in glove making! You can find us at @grxgloves.