What you see pictured above are Ringers Gloves’ model R-21 “heavy-duty Kevlocs,” and they look like some of the most badass gloves for heavy automotive work I’ve seen. Seriously, with crazy-tough puncture resistance, high-tech padding in all the right places, and specially-designed grip surfaces, these put the scores of low-buck work gloves I keep around the shop to shame. Then again, they MSRP for $45 freakin’ dollars.
What do you get for $35 more than your average pair of work gloves? To start with, you get a specially-sewn palm that meets the European “CE 4342 EN388 Level 2 standard for cut and puncture resistance.” WTF-BBQ? Yeah, I had no idea what that was, either, so I did a little digging, and here’s how it works:
To get gloves certified to the “cut” portion of this standard, companies send them off to a test lab, which mounts them on a machine that “uses a counter-rotating circular blade that is constantly moved back and forth across a sample by the test machine.” [Here’s my source.] Then they look up the results on a table to determine the performance level. (Samples received the highest fully-achieved level.) So a “level 2” glove survived at least 2.5 cycles, but less than five.
The puncture section of the test pushes a sharp object reportedly similar in nature to a roofing nail into the sample at ever increasing force, measuring the force at which puncture occurs. Again, a level 2 rating indicates a force of more than 60 newtons, but less than 100. That’s about 13.5 pounds to 22.5 pounds of force, for those of us who’re metrically challenged.
To put all this in perspective, “level 5” gloves — the top-rating category, and the one required for really, truly scary crap like dealing with infected hypodermic needles and picking up broken glass all day in factories — would withstand at or over 20 cut cycles and more than 150 newtons (33 pounds) of force.
Next you get a whole bunch of special padding materials, like “impact gel” padding in the palm and “shock-absorbing” knuckle pads, plus some cool tacky material on the fingertips to help you hang on to little screws and so on. The specs also list a “non-binding Supercuff” which makes me think of Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, but probably mans that it’s short enough that it doesn’t cut into your hand when you’re bending your wrist a severe angles.
So yeah. In short, you get a reasonably-tough glove — about as tough as you can realistically expect without it becoming so thick that it’s completely unusable — with some damn cool protective features that looks like the sort of thing the Master Chief would wear to change the oil on his Warthog between firefights, assuming he’d selected bright safety yellow armor. You know, for camouflage.
Do I need these? Not really. But I want ’em. And if reading any of the above makes you wonder what gloves that meet different versions of those standard look like, check out the rest of Ringers’ offerings. They make gloves for everyone from mechanics to cops and oil and gas workers. Interesting stuff.
Slightly good news: the MSRP is inflated. I found ’em online for $38. Still, $38 will buy a lot of electricity. Or the speedo cable and crank sensor seal my Mazda needs.