Work gloves are vital to protecting your precious digits from the potential hazards that are always lurking around while you do your job. Many materials have been chosen to make work gloves, among which leather is one of the most popular options for their versatility, durability, and softness.
There are many types of leather when it comes to leather work gloves, but the most popular are cowhide, deerskin, goatskin, and pigskin, each of which excels in some aspects. Besides the type of leather, there are other criteria to look for when choosing the right work gloves. You need to pay attention to their level of durability and protection, their dexterity as well as fitness and sizing.
It’s virtually impossible to have the perfect leather work gloves that serve all criteria. Therefore, I have picked out my top 10 favorite leather work gloves with different features that might meet your needs. So, let’s dive right in.
1 Carhartt Men’s Insulated Leather Work Gloves
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When it comes to working gear, many people turn to Carhartt as their number one choice for its high-quality and various products for all types of work and environment. And these Carhartt insulated leather work gloves do not disappoint.
The gloves are made from cowhide, one of the most popular types of leather for work gloves due to their easy maintenance and high resistance against wear and abrasion. Don’t be fooled by their dressy appearance because these gloves are thick and feel rugged once you put them on. Plus, the full-grain leather actually makes it easier to keep clean, especially in the mud. It only takes me about 1 minute to return them to their original state.
These gloves would be ideal for the most rigorous household works from splitting firewood, shoveling snow, or moving furniture. With such abuse, they shout durability and has lasted for several years without the thought of replacing them with something newer ever crossed my mind.
The C100 3M Thinsulate lining will keep your hands comfy and warm in a 20°F weather, while still maintain some of that snug and dexterity that you need in a pair of work gloves. However, the cuff of these gloves is quite loose despite the presence of an elastic, making the sleeves fall short at the wrist when handling things.
In terms of sizing, these gloves do run a bit small, so I suggest going for one size bigger. If you happen to have thick hands or fingers, however, be generous and get one that is 2 sizes bigger than what you normally wear.
My knock with these gloves is the stitching quality around the fingertips, which results in a crooked positioning, though this might not be too much of a big deal if you’re more into functionality than aesthetics. Moreover, the thumb and pinky are disproportionately large when comparing to other fingers. So if you have short fingers, you might want to check out my other recommendations below.
All things being said, these Carhartt gloves have persuaded me with its durability, functionality, and price.
2 Carhartt Men’s Insulated Grain Leather Work Glove with Safety Cuff
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Here’s another suggestion for Carhartt work gloves with a few different features from the previous ones.
Made from thick and durable cotton duck fabric, these gloves are very rugged on the outside while being cushy and warm on the inside. 100g of 3M Thinsulate insulation keeps your hands nice and warm when working in snowy conditions. The palm is reinforced with suede patches to give some extra protection for your hands when doing tough works.
As with other pieces of Carhartt clothing, these tough gloves do not disappoint and have held up for a long time with extensive use. If you constantly have to do lots of cutting or hauling lumber and usually go through a couple of gloves in the winter because they get holes in them easily, you would highly appreciate these Carthartt gloves.
The fit is an important criterion when looking for leather work gloves and these gloves have pretty accurate sizing, something hard to find in glove brands these days. Plus, the gloves are available in extra-large size, so if you have large hands and can’t seem to find gloves that fit, these might the one.
In terms of dexterity, these gloves are a bit on the bulky side in exchange for better insulation. In the end, it all depends on how you weigh up the two sides. Overall, good value for money.
3 Vgo 3Pairs Men’s Leather Work Gloves
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These Vgo gloves have landed among the best leather work gloves for good reasons.
Unlike Carhartt, these Vgo gloves are made from pigskin, which is known to excel in many aspects like toughness and pliability, grip as well as abrasion resistance. It’s thinner than cowhide, which means they breathe well and will become suppler as it is worn. If you’re working in a wet environment, pigskin would make a better choice since it won’t crack or split after getting wet.
One upside of not being too thick is a better dexterity, allowing you to, say, use your fingers to tighten a nut on a bolt. Another important factor that makes great work gloves is their durability, whereas common ones tend to last for 3 to 5 weeks before getting holes on them. These gloves, however, have lasted for 1 to 6 months with tough works like handling lumber. Better yet, they come in a pack of 3 pairs, so no need to re-order them every single month.
Regarding the fit, I must say these gloves seem a bit tight due to the rough seam, so go for one size larger and the leather will break in overtime for a better fit. The biggest issue with these gloves is apparently quality inconsistency among each pair and package, though that is not my case as all 3 were in great conditions. Still, with such price for a great pair of pigskin work gloves, these gloves definitely surpass my expectation.
If you wish to know more about other types of work gloves available on the market, definitely check out this article.
4 OZERO Insulated Leather Winter Work Glove for Men
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These Ozero heavy duty leather work gloves are my first go-to for winter outdoor works.
Made from tough and heavy split cowhide that is puncture and cut resistant, these gloves have performed admirably and stood up to the work I have been putting them through, from chopping and stacking woods, shoveling or driving the tractor. After a year, they are still up and running with little sign of wear and tear. Sure, there are other cheaper ones out there, but those gloves would wear out after several months, even weeks and would actually become more expensive after a while.
The synthetic lambswool inner lining seems to be just what I was looking for, considering how warm these gloves are. The inside is nice, soft and provides a snug fit to the gloves. I’m confident enough to go out and do some chores in these, knowing they will keep my hands toasty warm. One tiny problem with this would be that the lambswool has a tendency to trap small debris inside the gloves, something that could be fixed with by adding a wrist closure.
Such warmth and thickness come with the cost of dexterity, as it’s not easy to pick up nails and screws, or weeding the garden beds. Having acknowledged this drawback, the company was quick to take action and incorporated the Gunn cut and keystone thumb design in order to improve its dexterity.
One caveat is that these gloves run a tad on the small side, so make sure to pick one size larger. Should you still find them to be a bit tight, try rubbing a handful of snow-seal leather protectant into the gloves and allowing the wax to melt deep into the leather. From my experience, the snow-seal will make a big difference in breaking the gloves, making them better overall.
5. OZERO Leather Work Gloves with a Detachable Magnet
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Apart from the winter work gloves, Ozero was considerate enough to introduce a pair of leather work gloves for the hot summer days. And once again, the brand proves itself to be one of the top quality gloves manufacturers, hands down.
The company uses the same type of cowhide leather as the ones above, so you can rest assured that these gloves will safely protect your hands. What’s more, the leather hide is incredibly smooth to the touch and so nice that you don’t even want to mess them up by doing the work. Nonetheless, the gloves have held up to heavy jobs, such as landscaping, gardening, or other outside work that is rough on the hands.
What I love most about these summer gloves compared to the previous ones, however, is that they have much better maneuverability. This flexibility is mainly thanks to the mesh lining, which is thin and breathable, making them a dream to wear while working on those heated days. Ozero also keeps their Gunn cut and keystone thumb design from their other products for some extra mobility, which is a nice bonus.
Speaking of bonuses, the gloves also come with a removable magnet to attach on the cuff, allowing you to store small metal parts. That way, you don’t have to fidget around looking for those nails or iron sheets that seem to hide whenever you take your eyes off them.
The sizing of these gloves can be quite small for men, so go for one size up and the leather will break in before you know it. It’s worth bearing in mind that these are made to be quite thin for comfort and easy movements, which, in turn, makes them not as protective against needles or thistles. So if your job involves many sharp objects, you might want to take a look at some other suggestions here.
6 OZERO Work Gloves, with Deerskin Suede Leather Shell
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Considering how Ozero continuously exceeds my expectations for work gloves, I would like to recommend another, equally as great, a product from the brand.
Unlike their two cousins that are made from cowhide, these gloves are constructed using 1.2mm – 1.4mm of deerskin leather, one of the toughest leathers available, with high abrasion resistance and durability. At the same time, it’s extremely comfortable and much softer than cowhide. What’s more, when they dry out after being wet, these gloves don’t turn into a piece of cardboard and still remain pliable instead.
With the 3M Thinsulate insulation, along with a layer of Thermal TR cotton, these gloves are confident to keep your hands warm down to about 20°F. Lower than that, and the chill starts creeping in after a while. I have been using these gloves mainly for driving, snow blowing, and shoveling, and they have held up well with a great grip, partly thanks to the reinforced patches.
Something worth noticing is that these gloves are not really water-resistant, as I found them to start taking water in after using for a while. Therefore, I tried spraying waterproofing on them and another water sealing repellant, which seemed to have somewhat improved the warmth factor. Nevertheless, this feature is without a doubt something the company should work on to make these gloves perfect.
Other than that, there’s little to complain about these gloves. The sizing is pretty accurate, simply follow the measuring instructions provided and you’re good to go. If you’re looking for a pair of gloves to provide you relative warmth and flexibility for light duty tasks, these Ozerio gloves are one strong contender.
7 KIM YUAN Leather Work Gloves Gardening
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Here’s the answer to your problem above – about gloves that are thick enough to protect your hands from needle and thorn pricks.
These Kim Yuan leather work gloves are made from 1.2mm of genuine full-grain cowhide, which is both soft, pliable and rugged at the same time. They are also thin enough to allow for control and dexterity. Similar to the Ozero above, these gloves feature a keystone thumb design and Gunn cut to create even more flexibility.
These gloves might be soft and flexible, but they actually have great puncture resistance. They have held up well against the most ruthless and invasive plant species I’ve come across, especially on large blackberry clearing projects, and I haven’t got a single prick wearing these. They would also be ideal for garden and yard works or other DIY projects, thick enough to withstand needle pricks, though understandably not as good as Teflon or metal.
The palm is reinforced to give your hand more protection as well as a better grip. Plus, there’s an adjustable cinch to tighten around your wrist for a better fit when you’re lifting heavy stuff, or loosen should you need more breathability.
The stitching appears to be thin cotton strings, unfortunately, which should have been a hardcore thread for better durability and a longer lifespan. Thus, I would consider these gloves to be for light to medium duty if you wish to keep them for over one month. The gloves run a tad small, so go for one size up.
8 Wells Lamont Leather Work Gloves (1130)
Wells Lamont has been a household name in the glove industry for over 100 years and is “stubborn” to bring about high-quality products that live up to its name. And these gloves are no exception.
Made from grain cowhide, the gloves offer superb durability as well as resistance against puncture and abrasion. The leather, at the same time, is soft enough to give a great feel for your work subjects, whether it’s holding a nail or a delicate plant for your garden. Moreover, the gloves are unlined, providing you with some extra dexterity and breathability.
I have been using these gloves for landscaping, gardening, and other DIY projects for the past year. The gloves help make driving 3-inch screws, measuring and cutting much easier. Plus, the reinforced leather piece across the palm also provides more grip and extend the gloves’ lifespan if you’re operating a shovel or pickaxe.
The gloves feature a Gunn cut and Keystone thumb design to add some extra comfort and flexibility. Speaking of comfort, I find these gloves to have a nice fit, easy to slip on thanks to the shirred wrist but not too large that they slop around or fall off. I can spread open my hands almost all the way before the leather between the thumb and index finger pulls taut. Sizing is a bit small, so go for one size larger.
One issue with these gloves, however, is the inconsistency in quality among sellers, so make sure to go for the most trusted one. All things considered, these are high-quality, affordable leather work gloves that you should not overlook.
9 Wells Lamont Men’s Leather Winter Gloves (7664)
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Here’s another product coming from Wells Lamont that is ideal for keeping your hands warm when you’re out of your elements.
These black leather work gloves are made from a combination of cowhide on the back and goatskin on the inside palm. While cowhide is durable and abrasion resistant, goatskin provides more tactile flexibility as well as sensitivity, allowing easy finger bending and giving your hands more dexterity compared to the former type of leather.
One drawback of having too much sensitivity and not enough, however, is the durability of these gloves due to the lack of reinforced fabric on the palm. Therefore, I would suggest using them for general outside wear or light works which don’t have a ton of friction such as shoveling, snowplowing, etc.
With 150g of 3M Thinsulate on the back of the gloves and 100g on the palm, these gloves are capable of keeping my hands toasty on cold mornings when the temperature hits 20 to 30°F, but not too warm that I get sweaty hands. The fleece-lining is soft and feels good to sink my hands into. There’s also elastic around the wrist to prevent the cold from seeping in, as well as some extra length to the cuff for additional protection.
In terms of sizing, these gloves do run quite small. My advice is to order from X-large upward and go for one size up from normal. These gloves are not really stretchy, so it would be better ordering a larger one for more comfort.
10 Wells Lamont Ultra Comfort Grain Deerskin Work Gloves (3210)
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To end the list, I would like to introduce another, equally as nice, Wells Lamont leather work gloves. These gloves are different from its 2 brothers in that they are made from grain deerskin on the palm and stretch spandex on the back.
As I did mention earlier, deerskin is extremely soft and ultra-comfortable to let you feel whatever you’re handling, and thick enough to protect against yard debris and junkpile scrap. The leather molds to the natural curves of your hand after a bit of use like your second skin and the spandex also gives some stretching room for those with longer fingers as well as more breathability.
These gloves are not only functional but actually look quite fashionable with the compact design and the yellow-black color combo. They also keep your hands pretty warm and comfortable should the temperature drops slightly. The velcro wrist closures provide a more secure fit and are long enough to support those with narrow wrists.
On the other hand, deerskin, despite having more dexterity, is not nearly as tough as cowhide making them suitable for light and non-abrasive work like gardening, tool operating or carpentry. If you want to keep these gloves for a long time, I would advise against construction, rock or mud jobs. These gloves have withstood rose thorns, brush cutting, limbs hauling and more for over one year and are still up and running.
One issue with these gloves is that the yellow dye tends to bleed onto your hands if your hands sweat or the gloves get wet. Although the color comes off eventually with soap, water, and some scrubbing, this can be quite annoying for some.
Other than that, I can’t seem to find anything else to complain about these gloves. The size is a tad small, so remember to choose one size larger.
Wells Lamont gloves are so good that I have to save one whole article dedicated to this brand. Check out the review here.
It’s easy to be unfastidious when choosing a pair of work gloves, considering most of them are on the cheap side and tend to last for only a few weeks before being replaced. However, with the review above, I hope to introduce some of the best-quality leather work gloves that might meet your needs and actually last for a long time. Believe me, you’d be surprised how much money and effort you could save from buying the right pair of work gloves.
Buying guide: How to clean your leather work gloves?
No matter how carefully you keep your working gloves, they are bound to get dirty, which will seriously eventually damage their flexibility as well as lifespan. Leather also requires some special treatment to maintain so that it won’t lose its oil, so here’s a guide to properly clean your leather work gloves.
What you’ll need is a bucket, some salt, soap (preferably Marseille soap), an old toothbrush and clothespins. Avoid using harsh soaps since they might remove the natural oil in the leather, making them stiff and brittle.
Step 1: Using a toothbrush, clean off any dry dirt on the gloves especially the finger areas which collect the most dirt.
Step 2: Soak the gloves in a solution of salt, soap, and water for at least 10-15 minutes before rubbing them to remove the more stubborn stains. While rubbing, put the clothespins onto the fingers of the gloves to prevent them from stretching.
Step 3: Rinse the gloves in cold water, or even better, a mixture of water and some drops of olive oil.
Step 4: Allow the gloves to air-dry completely. Once they’re partially dry, remove the clothespins from the fingers. What’s more, make sure to massage the gloves every 2 hours until they’re thoroughly dry to prevent the leather from stiffening.
Seems like a lot of work, isn’t it? You can always buy cheap, disposable leather work gloves and save yourself the hassle of having to clean them. But if you’re looking to invest in a more expensive, high-quality pair, this is how you can keep them for months, even years while still looking new and presentable.