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Most work glove leathers are not the same, and neither are all leather work gloves. Each type of leather glove has its own characteristics. Below are some descriptions of different types of leather that define these characteristics and how they can be best applied:
Grain Pigskin – Pigskin is unmatched for its abrasion resistance, and breathability (note distinctive hair follicles that contribute to this). Tanned correctly, this leather is very flexible, and moisture and puncture resistant.
Grain Deerskin – Prized for its flexibility, softness and insulating ability, deerskin is surprisingly strong and moisture resistant. Because deer are not raised for commercial use, there can be large quality and consistency variances.
Split Deerskin – The most flexible of all work glove leathers, deersplit is not available as grain because of the small hide size and the fact that deer raised in warm climates do not produce thick enough hides. Because it tends to be thinner, an excellent choice for insulated gloves.
Grain Elkskin – Very similar to grain deerskin, elkskin can frequently have a distinctive “pebbled” appearance, characterized by small bumps on the surface. Elkskin can come in very thick hides, which increase its insulation effectiveness and wearability. Again, wide quality variances occur.
Grain Cowhide – A good all-round work glove leather. The most commonly used grain leather because of its broad availability. The side shown here reflects uniformity, both in color and surface, a hallmark of this leather.
Grain Goatskin – Densely packed fibers allow this leather to be thin, but retain much of its strength. Since the hides can be very small, quality variances are common, as a single pair of gloves can contain side, shoulder and belly parts.
Split Cowhide – The most used, cost effective and versatile of work glove leathers. The pearl side split shown here clearly shows high fiber density responsible for this leather’s high abrasion resistance and strength.