7 July 2022


Why do glove coatings matter?

Gloves not only enhance the protection of your hands but also offer a range of different features which should be considered.

Grip: Different glove coatings offer different levels of grip.  Depending on the job in hand you may need a coating that gives protection even in wet and oily conditions.

Cost: As the glove coatings get more durable, the price increases – for example Nitrile is the most durable and therefore is more expensive.

Flexibility: Flexibility must also be considered when deciding which is the best glove coating for the job.  Various glove coatings offer different amounts of flexibility, allowing us to provide you with a glove which gives you all the features you need.

Resistance: The resistance of the glove differs with each coating.

Durability: Different glove coatings effect the durability of a glove – for example a thinner coated glove will not last as long as a thicker coated glove.

All of these are affected by the glove coating. There are 3 main glove coatings; Nitrile, PU and Latex.  Keep reading to find out more! 


PU stands for Polyurethane which is a very resilient, durable and flexible polymer. PU also offers high dexterity making it the perfect glove coating for light manufacturing and small parts assembly. 

On the downside, PU is a non-breathable coating and therefore is only used for finger or palm dipped style gloves to ensure there is not a build-up of perspiration. Alongside this, PU has a higher penetration level into the seamless knit liner and can heighten skin sensitivity.

Solvent vs. water-based 

Water-based systems tend to make the coating sit on top of the liner which gives a very thick glove and loses the dexterity, tactility, and the durability. 

The advantage of a solvent-based system is that the PU penetrates into the liner which gives extra durability.  The thinner glove coating allows for greater comfort, and dexterity. The downside to a solvent system is that DMF is one of the chemicals added to achieve the penetration.  However, the amount of DMF used can be significantly reduced by using state-of-the-art dipping plants, the DMF limits are also controlled and regulated. 


Nitrile is synthetic rubber which provides protection against abrasion, punctures, cuts and snags, along with chemicals, oils, greases, and fats. Nitrile provides excellent grip and can withstand extreme temperatures. Nitrile coated gloves are very soft and conform to the hand well.  Nitrile tends to offer slightly less dexterity as it does not have micron thickness properties like a PU coating.

Under the Nitrile umbrella, there are a variety of coatings such as flat nitrile (X-Dura), nitrile foam and nitrile microfoam (MicroDex).

Unlike nitrile foam, flat nitrile is highly durable and repels liquids because it has no air blown into it. Flat nitrile has a shiny appearance, and offers superb grip in dry conditions, but in wet conditions is far from useful - imagine aquaplaning on your hands! Flat nitrile is a more economic option as there are less processes included within the manufacturing process. 

Nitrile foam and nitrile microfoam are very similar, they both have a matt feel and a super soft finish.  Microfoam has smaller holes compared to the regular nitrile foam, hence the name ‘micro’. Microfoam is considered to be at the more premium end of glove coatings as it offers a thinner, more dexterous glove. A microfoam glove also offers high comfort levels due to increased breathability. Whilst not flame resistant MicroDex nitrile performs well in a range of temperatures between -4C and 149C.  The holes in nitrile foam almost act like a sponge when working it wet or oily conditions meaning grip in such conditions is not a problem! Although wetter conditions aren’t a problem for nitrile foam coated gloves, it can mean the gloves becomes quickly saturated and heavy to work in, so dryer less oily conditions are more suited. 

Within the Traffi LXT range you will get the added benefit of the LXT treatment being applied to the Microfoam, which adds to the oil resistance and water resistance on the coating. 


Latex is a natural rubber which has high elasticity, offers superb longevity and grip, and is able to withstand extreme temperatures. This makes Latex coated gloves perfect for construction, rail and groundwork industries as they are both resilient and durable. 

Latex coatings can be processed to form a crinkled surface offering not only great grip but also cut and tear resilience. 

On the downside some people suffer with Latex allergies and are unable to wear Latex coated gloves.