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Stepping Up Your Safety: A Guide to Choosing the Best Welding Spats

a man wearing leather welding spats

Because welding is a demanding profession, you need quality head-to-toe protection. While most focus on helmets, gloves, and jackets, some overlook a crucial piece of welding PPE – welding spats. These protect your legs from spatter, sparks, and molten metal which prevents any serious burns. With so many options out there, how do you choose the best one for what you need? Here’s how. 

Choose the Best Material for Welding Spats 

Choosing the best material for your welding spats plays an important role when it comes to durability and effectiveness. Let’s break it down. 

Leather welding spats: 

Leather welding spats are a classic choice. This material offers remarkable heat and spark resistance. It’s durable and it’s easy to clean, but it can be stiff and heavy, especially when they are new. 

Fire-retardant cotton welding spats: 

Fire retardant cotton welding spats provide both comfort and protection. It’s lighter and more breathable than leather which makes it perfect for hot weather conditions. However, FR treatment can wear off, unlike leather, which lasts for a longer time. 

FR welding spats: 

Flame-retardant treated blends have the breathability of cotton with the durability of synthetic fibers like Kevlar. It’s a compromise between protection and comfort, but they can be more expensive. 

a man wearing welding spats
the Waylander Welding Spats

Find the Perfect Fit

In choosing the best welding spats, the perfect fit makes all the difference. Here’s what you need to consider. 

Length: 

Welding spats need to cover your entire lower leg. They need to be able to offer protection from the top of your work boots to below your knee. 

Width: 

The perfect welding spats should not be that tight. They should be loose enough for movement but also snug enough to stay in place. 

Fastener type: 

Adjustable straps or buckles are what you should be looking for for a personalized and secure fit. 

Other Things to Consider

Welding environment: 

Welding in different weather conditions or welding environments should be considered whenever you choose welding spats. For hot environments, it’s best to choose cotton or blended materials for breathability. For heavy-duty welding, you need fire-resistant blends or leather for superior protection. 

Welding style: 

Asses whether you crouch or kneel often. If you do, you need a flexible design for welding spats to give you the freedom of movement. 

Regular Inspection: 

In taking care of your welding spats, make sure you regularly inspect them for holes and worn-out areas that could compromise protection and replace damaged spats immediately. 

There you have it! Your guide to choosing the best welding spats. Visit our webshop! We’ve got one that might just be what you need. 

 

What’s the best Leather for Welding?

best leather for welding

Leather is a natural material that has been used for centuries to make clothes, shoes, and other items. It is made from animal skin and fat and can be made from many different animals including cows, elks, pigs, goats, deer, and sheep. All these types of leather have their own unique properties which can be used to determine the best type to use in certain situations. Here we talk about the best leather for welding for the best welding protection

 

Types of Leather, what’s the best leather for welding?

Before we decide on anything, it’s best to get to know the types of leather and what makes them different from each other. 

 

Goatskin

Goatskin is suitable for jobs requiring high tensile strength and flexibility. This type of leather is thin, soft, and pliable but it provides excellent protection against cuts and abrasion. The higher lanolin levels in the skin provide a moisture barrier, and the thin nature of the material allows for excellent fingertip control. 

 

Because of this, Goatskin leather is ideal for MIG welding. When combined with dexterity, it makes an excellent choice for TIG welding. Kidskin, very soft and lightweight leather from young goats also provides the required durability and abrasion resistance and is the highest quality leather for fingertip sensitivity.

 

Cowhide

The most common type of leather used for welding clothing is cowhide leather. This is because it is durable and flexible. It can withstand the heat generated by the welding process and will not melt like other types of leather would.

 

Its tough structure resists abrasion, sparks, and spatter, making it an excellent choice for tough jobs involving metal inert gas and stick welding. Cowhide is naturally water- and dirt-resistant, making it simple to care for. Although slightly more durable than elkskin, it is not as soft. 

 

Cowhide, on the other hand, is preferred over other non-leather materials for comfort, allowing it to be worn for longer periods of time. Cowhide leather is an excellent choice due to its abundant supply and durability.

 

welder at work

Deerskin

Deerskin gets its toughness from the fact that deer spend so much of their time in thorny, rough environments. Despite its toughness, deerskin leather is lightweight and pliable, making it one of the softest and warmest leathers readily accessible. It’s also one of the few types of leather that, when wet, returns to its original shape and softness. Thicker cuts of deerskin leather are ideal for MIG welding, while thinner cuts are ideal for TIG welding.

 

Pigskin

Pigskin is a dense leather, so it is less flexible than other leathers on the market. But because of the small pores in the skin, it allows the wearer’s skin to breathe which is great for welding gloves. Pigskin leather has a supple feel and retains its softness after being wet. Pigskin leather, though, is not recommended for use in areas where moisture levels are typically high. This type of leather is ideal for MIG and stick welders who require a high level of durability.

 

Elkskin

Elkskin leather is one of the softest and thickest leathers available. It’s the most heat-, flame-, and abrasion-resistant leather, and it won’t harden as quickly as other options. It remains soft even in hot and humid conditions and conforms to your hand, allowing you to move freely and comfortably. Elkskin’s heat resistance makes it ideal for stick welding.

 

Sheepskin

Unlike other leathers, sheepskin is tanned with the wool intact. Wool acts as an insulator and is resistant to flames and static electricity. Sheepskin is thin and elastic, allowing for flexibility and sensitivity, making it ideal for TIG welding. Its natural lanolin content helps heal sensitive and inflamed skin, and the fibers absorb perspiration.

Welding Spats and Why You Need Them

welder working

Welding safety starts with having the proper protective gear from top to bottom. Although more attention is given to protecting the welder’s head and body, it’s the legs that are being taken for granted. However, even your lower limbs need protection, without a doubt. So, to protect your legs while welding, you’ll need good quality welding spats that keep spatter and slag out of your shoes. This article will tell you more about welding spats and why you need them in any welding job you do.

 

What are welding spats and what are they for?

 

Welding spats are shoe covers that protect your legs from sparks, spatter, and extreme heat associated with the welding process. They’re strapped around your pant legs and boot tops to protect sparks from bouncing in the top of your boots. At the same time, they protect you from sparks that may fall on your feet. Remember, though, even if you’re using spats, it is still a good idea to make sure you have durable shoes under them to offer another layer of protection.

 

welder at work

 

Some spats wrap entirely around your boot with special hooks that keep them in place. Others go up to your leg with coverings over the top of your toe. Whichever you choose, just make sure that they fit nicely over the shoes you are wearing to ensure full protection. 

 

What to look for in welding spats

First things first, choose premium leather welding spats. You’ll want to go for cowhide split leather for this because it is lightweight and allows flexibility. It is also oil-resistant, moisture-proof, and is more durable. Since this protective equipment is used for all sorts of welding applications, including grinding, construction, torch, cutting, metal fabrication, and more, you’ll need spats that provide flexibility and durability with good heat and abrasion resistance. 

 

Since welding spats are designed to protect, the stitching is equally important. Check that the welding spats are stitched with fire-resistant thread like super-strong Kevlar thread because this provides an extra spark and abrasion resistance. Another essential thing to be particular with is the length. Finally, be sure that the spats give the most coverage for your welding boots. It is also better if your footwear is covered on both sides and from your toe to your leg. 

 

 

Welding spats should also feel comfortable when wearing them. The rear of the legging should have adjustable hook-and-loop closures for superior fit. It is also ideal to have straps underneath that ensure that the shoe cover stays in place while maintaining coverage. But, again, it’s the little things that matter when it comes to safety. 

 

Welding spats are essential for protection during the harshest conditions on the job. Using and wearing welding safety equipment is important because the job is hazardous. At any time, welders are exposed to metal fumes, UV radiation, cuts, shocks, abrasions, and burns. This is why it is important always to wear work gear that complies with set safety standards. You will also need to choose only the highest grade materials for protecting the most important part of the job — You.

Why the Use of Leather Shoes in SMAW or Stick Welding is a Must

welding leather shoes smaw

Shielded Metal Arc Welding or SMAW welding procedures produce toxic fumes which is why welders should ensure that they have proper protective equipment. Using PPE reduces the risk of injury and significantly minimizes the effects of toxins. Aside from regular PPE clothing, using the proper protective footwear, leather shoes at that, will go a long way in protecting your foot during hazardous SMAW welding projects. 

What to Know about SMAW

 

SMAW stands for Shielded Metal Arc Welding and is one of the oldest and most common types of welding. Otherwise known as stick welding because a flux-coated electrode (a metal stick or rod held in an electrode holder that is connected to a power source) is used to form the weld. This welding technique is used on full ferrous materials and in all welding positions. SMAW is used in different applications involving maintenance, repair, construction, industrial fabrication, pipelines, shipbuilding, underwater welding, farm machinery manufacturing, and more. 

 

The SMAW Process uses the arc’s heat to melt the top of a consumable covered electrode and base metal. The basic tools used when stick welding include a welding machine (arc welding power source), electrode lead cable, electrode holder, leads, cables, cable connectors, ground clamp, and a chipping hammer. Because SMAW is a tedious process, it is critical that welders use safety equipment like a helmet, gloves, protective clothing, and leather shoes. 

 

leather shoes stick welding
Photo via unsplash

 

SMAW PPE: Leather Shoes 

 

For SMAW welding jobs, using the proper shoes will protect your feet from falling objects or hot sparks. The best type of protective footwear is surely a reliable pair of leather boots. It is most essential that close-toed shoes are used during SMAW processes, as well as leather high-top work boots or metal-toe safety shoes. 

 

The boots you ought to buy should comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F2413-05 that categorizes safety footwear like Impact and Compression. Leather boots that comply with Impact and Compression Resistance standards are constructed with a toe-cap that protects your foot from falling objects that could break or crush your toes. The same standard also does not approve “strap-on” toe-caps. This means that toe-caps should be designed and constructed into the show during manufacturing and then tested. 

 

It is also important to know that your safety toe boots or shoes should meet one of two units of measurement for impact rating (75 or 50 foot-pounds). This foot-pound is determined through a test performed by dropping a steel weight from a predetermined height at a certain designated speed. So, for example, 1/75 rated leather boots will protect a welder from an impact of 75 pounds. 

 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Welding Society, the best way welders can stay safe on the job is to wear head-to-toe protection. When welding safety becomes ingrained into the professional culture, lost-time incidents and improved productivity are expected.

Leather Welding Spats

Another way you can protect your feet is to get yourself a pair of reliable leather welding spats. The best ones are made with cowhide leather. These give extra protection to your leather shoes and are highly effective against sparks and splatter.