Choosing the Correct Leather Work Glove

When it comes to selecting and purchasing the correct leather work glove for your project, the wide variety of options can be overwhelming. How do you know which type of leather work glove will provide the protection you need? And what about durability and dexterity? This week at Your Glove Source we want to provide the answers to those questions and give you the information you need to choose the leather work glove that is perfect for you.

Leather Type and Quality

There are four main types of leather that are used to manufacture leather work gloves. These are: cowhide, pigskin, goatskin and deerskin. Each type of leather provides different levels of protection, durability, dexterity, and comfort based off of the inherent characteristics of the animal leather. In production, each type of leather is then classified as cut or split, which denotes their quality level.

Leather Types


  • One of the most available leathers, making it highly economical
  • High level of dexterity and durability
  • High level of abrasion and puncture resistance
  • Best leather for keeping hands warm
  • Limited breathability
  • Dries stiff after being wet, therefore it loses flexibility
  • Appropriate for use in a variety of applications including industrial work, automotive, packaging, landscaping, and construction.


  • Known to be a soft and porous leather, which makes a very comfortable glove
  • Water and moisture resistant, leather stays soft and un-cracked after repeatedly getting wet
  • Does not keep hands as warm as cowhide
  • Higher level of dexterity and breathability than cowhide
  • Out of the four leathers, it provides the highest level of abrasion and puncture resistance and is the most durable


  • Very soft and flexible glove
  • Stays pliable after repeatedly getting wet
  • Greater level of dexterity, flexibility, and breathability than pigskin
  • Lower level of durability
  • Similar puncture and abrasion resistance to cowhide
  • Does not keep hands warm as well as cowhide
  • Appropriate for applications where dexterity is highly important


  • Very soft and supple, similar to pigskin
  • Offers great dexterity and pliability
  • Leather forms to the hand over extended periods of use
  • Can get wet repeatedly without stiffening the leather
  • High flexibility leads to loss of shape under rough wear
  • Most comfortable, but least durable and least puncture/abrasion resistant
  • Breathability is similar to cowhide, in that it is limited
  • Equal to cold weather protection with goatskin and pigskin leather
  • Particularly used in welding applications where dexterity and heat resistance is needed

Leather Quality


  • Also known as “top-grain” leather
  • Finest raw material
  • Has the natural outer waterproof skin
  • Thick and durable glove
  • Offers superb puncture and abrasion resistance


  • Created by splitting the rougher interior from the supported exterior of the animal skin
  • Offers pliable gloves with great dexterity
  • Side split leather is the most durable and uniform split quality
  • Shoulder split leather is relatively economical and has the highest abrasion resistance of the split quality
  • Belly split leather is the least consistent in texture and appearance, but the most economical of the split quality

Leather Work Glove Features

Leather work gloves are generally classified in three categories: driving gloves, palm gloves, and welding gloves. These three categories refer to the style of the glove; all types of leather can be manufactured in all three of these styles. Your Glove Source has a selection of top grain cowhide and pigskin leather work gloves.

    1. Driving gloves tend to be the most rugged and comfortable style suitable for pretty much any application.

    2. Palm gloves are very popular because of their low cost and can also be used in a wide variety of general                     industry applications.

    3. Welding gloves are much more heavy duty and have very high heat resistance.

Along with the correct type of leather, different features like linings, glove cuffs, and thumb types provide more customization and distinctive benefits to leather work gloves.

Types of Leather Glove Linings:

  • 3M Thinsulate is a synthetic material that provides extremely effective insulation without the added thickness of a natural material
  • Pile is a man-made wool that is low cost, and bears resemblance to natural wool, which makes it very popular
  • Thermal Linings are a manufactured double layer of material which delivers really great heat insulation
  • Fleece is the most common glove liner made of napped cotton
  • Thermo lined gloves have heat insulation of the thermal linings, and are also waterproof
  • Wool linings deliver protection against cold even when they are wet, and they are odor resistant

 Types of Leather Glove Cuffs:

  • Knit wrist cuffs offer a snug fit that prevents debris from getting inside the glove

Knit Wrist Cuff

  • Shirred cuffs are made with an elastic band that provide a good fit, but not as good of a fit as the knit wrist cuff

Shirred Leather Cuff

  • Safety cuffs have a high amount of wrist and arm protection because the cuffs are 2 ½ inches long.

Safety & Gauntlet Cuff Leather Gloves

  • Gauntlet cuffs are essentially the same as the safety cuff, but boast a 4 ½ inch cuff


 Types of Glove Thumbs:

  • Keystone thumbs are stitched separately from the rest of the glove. This provides the greatest amount of flexibility and comfort because the thumb is kept in its natural position.

Keystone Thumb Leather Glove

  • Wing thumbs do not have a seam between the thumb and the rest of the glove. The thumb is made to be positioned diagonally across the palm, which adds comfort and maintains natural movement.

Wing Thumb Leather Glove

  • Straight thumbs are the best for jobs that require gripping because the thumb is made to lie vertically straight from the wrist.

Straight Thumb Leather Glove


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1 comment

Suirgispnrly well-written and informative for a free online article.


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