Why do some parts of my cut-resistant gloves offer no cut resistance?
That's a great question, and the answer is a bit complex because all cut resistant gloves are basically cut resistant in their entirety, with very few exceptions. And these exceptions are really gloves designed for specialty tasks that only require specific areas of the glove to be cut resistant.
What kind of cut resistance you need depends on the task you're doing. If the task puts your whole hand, wrist, and some of your arm at risk, you'll need two products (gloves and sleeves) both with the same cut resistance levels.
In my opinion, this question keeps coming up because of the way cut resistant gloves can look and because many of them are designed for more than one hazard or risk.
Even when your glove is cut-resistant all over, it might also have a special coating for grip, water resistance, chemical resistance, or heat or cold resistance. It might also be puncture or stab resistant, impact resistant, or have other features.
Glove design features, such as elastic at the wrist, or with a locking nylon strap or Velcro strap closure, can also be incorporated into or over the cut resistant fabric itself.
The product information will specify which parts of the glove are cut resistant and which (if any) are not. For example, a work glove with a leather palm may have a cut resistant inner liner for the palm and cuff. The product information will state that, along with all of the tests, and the levels of protection that the glove has passed.
Testing and Standards
Any glove that is sold cut resistant and bears (in the USA) the ANSI/ISEA 105 -2016; ATSM F2992-15 Stamp A-1 through A-9 is cut resistant all over.
The stamp, which ranges from A-1 (lowest resistance) to A-9 (highest resistance), indicates that the glove material has passed a specific cut resistance level test, to the standard.
That ANSI/ISEA standard was amended to align testing with (Europe) DIN EN 388:2003 and ISO 13997.
(Learn more in Cut Resistant Gloves: A Guide to Cut Resistance Levels.)
Cut Resistant Glove Materials
Cut resistant gloves are primarily made from engineered fibers, including Para-Aramid or High Performance Polyethylene (HPPE) fibers, which are then made into yarns and woven into materials from which gloves are made. You may recognize brand names like Kevlar, which is incorporated into gloves by many manufacturers.
Often, fibers are also made into threads of various weights that are then used to stitch the cut resistant glove fabric together, making the glove truly a one-piece cut resistant construct. Seamless cut resistant gloves can also be made without stitching by knitting cut resistant yarns.
Cut resistant gloves are also made from steel mesh, woven steel threads, and steel rings. Fabrics such as nylon can also be used, and all of these materials can be used in combination with others to make the fabric even more cut resistant.
Other factors affect the level of cut resistance, like the weave (a tighter one offers higher cut protection). The thickness of the finished fabric also makes a difference.
Making Sure You Have the Cut Resistance You Need
The distributor or manufacturer can supply you with all the information you need about this type of PPE. If you've done a careful hazard and task analysis and you've had a conversation with their representatives, you'll be able to find the right glove for the job.
Written by Michael Smeaton | President
Michael “Mike” Smeaton serves as President of the SafetyNetwork. He has over 39 years of experience in the industrial safety marketplace. Prior to becoming SafetyNetwork President, Mike worked in American Optical’s Safety Division as a Regional Sales Manager until he acquired a portion of Quad City Safety, Inc. In 1989 Mike purchased the remaining portion of Quad City Safety and, over the next decade, turned it into one of the leading independent safety distributors in the United States.
Mike attended both The University of Iowa and St. Ambrose University. He has two children, Mike, Jr. and Melissa. Mike is married to Deborah Smeaton.
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