Well-made gloves often come with a higher price tag. But the benefits you’ll reap from longer product life can make up for the added cost up front. Properly crafted gloves can improve productivity, more effectivly prevent injuries by increasing the likelihood that workers will wear them, and reduce high replacement rates.
Here are four characteristics to look for to ensure the safety and quality of the knitted gloves you choose:
Material: High-quality materials contribute most to a glove’s cost. But it’s the fibers of that material that help the glove last. When purchasing yarn for knitted gloves, glove manufacturers consider the way it was plied—the way its fibers were twisted to increase the yarn’s strength. Yarn used for knitting gloves should be specially plied for glove production.
Improperly plied yarn can increase shrinkage and cause the fingertips on a finished glove to torque, making it uncomfortable to wear. In finger-less styles, improper plying causes the fingers to roll up, increasing the potential for lacerations.
There are many high-quality, durable yarns available for glove manufacture. Kevlar is known and trusted throughout the industry as a highly cut-resistant fiber. Some gloves promoted as Kevlar products are made with a minimum of Kevlar mixed together with other low-quality fibers. Gloves made of 100-percent Kevlar bear a stamp that says so.
Weight: Don’t assume gram weight of a finished glove is an accurate indication of glove quality. Extra materials are often added to gloves made with less expensive/low-quality fibers simply to increase the weight. For example, additional elastic may be put in the cuff to increase the glove’s weight, but it adds nothing to the glove’s performance.
Examine the "ends" of a glove’s yarns. Turn the glove inside-out. The more ends you see, the heavier and stronger the glove. The size of the ends may only cause a slight difference in appearance but can greatly affect performance.
Width should remain consistent in gloves of the same size. Compare different shipments of the same gloves. You may find some brands occasionally produce narrower gloves, saving on material costs. The result is a less comfortable glove that workers may not want to wear.
Reinforcement: Check for reinforcement in the thumb welt area where the thumb joins the rest of the glove. This area endures a great amount of stress, and is critical to performance and long glove life. Be sure it has been knitted to the same quality standards as the rest of the glove.
Overcast or over edge: Overcasting—the way a glove is finished around the top of the cuff—greatly enhances glove life, especially if the glove is to be laundered. With a sewn edge, look for tightness of stitching. The tighter the stitches, the less chance it will unravel. Another method called heat sealing employs a special yarn in the cuff that when heated melts into the glove yarn to seal the edge.
When choosing your glove manufacturer, insist on consistent quality. And take advantage of the manufacturer’s salesforce. An experienced and knowledgeable sales representative can be your greatest resource. Representatives should be able to help you realize these glove traits, understand their products, and guide you in making an informed decision.