Knuckle Strap

Definition - What does Knuckle Strap mean?

A knuckle strap is a band of material that is stitched into gloves over the area where the fingers meet the hand. As knuckles are rounded protuberance, they are more likely to be exposed to harmful physical contact than many other areas of the hand, and so knuckle straps are used to provide additional protection.

Knuckle straps are frequently used in gloves worn in construction and manual labor, and provides additional protection against abrasions, cuts, and impacts. They are frequently made of leather.

Safeopedia explains Knuckle Strap

Knuckle straps are additional material sewn into gloves in order to keep the knuckle secure. Gloves outfitted with knuckle straps are designed to protect against cuts, lacerations, and abrasions, while also providing extra protection against accidental impact. Collectively, these hazards are often referred to as “mechanical risks."


Knuckle straps may be used by employers to meet their duty to provide employees with personal protective equipment when necessary to protect them from harm. In the United States, OSHA standard 1910.138 specifically requires employers to provide hand protection “when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions,” and other hazards.


Knuckle straps may or may not be considered as part of a glove’s safety rating. Safety gloves are rated according to their ability to provide protection against specific hazards, and based on how the glove performs when tested according to a recognized testing standard. Thus, depending on the specific test the standard requires, the protection offered by the knuckle strap may or may not be considered as part of the test. The ANSI/ISEA 138 glove testing standard specifically measures impact protection at the knuckles, while the EN 388 testing standard does not.

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