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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 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.



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 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 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 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.



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 Clothing Tips to Keep Safe from 5 Welding Hazards

welding hazard

Safety is always a priority for welders. According to Occupational Health and Safety, there are five potential welding safety hazards to avoid – electric shock, fumes and gases, fire and explosions, injuries from insufficient PPE, and other safety considerations. Here we give you some welding clothing tips, what to wear and what not to wear to protect yourself from these welding hazards and avoid them while at work.


Welding Clothing tips to keep safe from the 5 Welding Safety Hazards

Electric Shock

Electric shock happens when a welder touches two metal objects that have a voltage between them. For example, if a welder holds a wire in one hand and a second wire with another. Electric current will pass through the wire and then through the welder which can then cause an electric shock. 


Secondary voltage shock which ranges from 20-100 volts is the most common type of electric shock. Fifty (50) volts or less can be enough to cause death. 


Among all the safety hazards, electric shock is one of the most threatening of them all. This can lead to severe injury or even death. This can either be caused by the shock itself or from the fall as a reaction to the shock. 


Welding clothing tips to avoid electric shock: 

To protect oneself from electric shock, wear rubber boots and rubber pads, especially when working in wet or humid conditions. Make sure your hands are dry during a welding operation. Wear rubber gloves under the welding gloves to get maximum protection. Also, use an insulation mat under the operator. 


welder working

Fumes and Gases

Exposure to fumes and gases is hazardous the health. As a welder, you get exposed to these every day. These fumes contain harmful metal oxide compounds from base metal, consumables, and base metal coatings. 


It’s very important that you keep your head out of these fumes and have enough ventilation so you can control your exposure to them.


Welding clothing tips avoid fumes and gases: 

Position your face as far as possible from the fumes while at work. Also, wear an approved respirator to make sure you don’t exceed the OSHA permissible exposure limits to these fumes. Another tip would be to remove any coating of paint from the metal you’re welding to avoid the production of other toxic gases. 


welder working

Fire and Explosions

A welding arc produces extreme temperatures that can reach 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit which becomes a fire explosion hazard. The arch itself isn’t the real danger. It’s the heat near the arc and the sparks and spatters created by it. These sparks can reach up to 35 feet away from a welding space and can reach flammable materials around or clothing that are not flame resistant which can then cause fires and explosions. 


Welding clothing tips to avoid fire and explosions:

Before welding, remove any flammable materials from the area or put a flame-retardant blanket or welding blanket over flammable materials to be extra safe. These could either be liquid (gasoline and oil), solid (wood, paper, cardboard), or gas (acetylene, hydrogen, propane). Make sure to use Flame Retardant or FR clothing. These include your FR welding jacket, FR welding pants, FR welding shirts, and other welding protective clothing like leather welding aprons, welding spats, welding hoods, and welding sleeves that give extra protection from welding sparks and splatters. 


Injuries/burns from Insufficient PPE

The most common injury welders get while at work are welding burns. This happens when welding operators have insufficient personal protective equipment while working. 


Welding clothing tips to avoid injuries/burns:

The right welding PPE allows adequate movement and comfort while also providing protection from welding hazards. Choose leather and flame retardant-treated cotton welding clothing. These are the best if you’re looking for durability and fire resistance properties. 


In wearing welding PPE, avoid rolling up your sleeves or pant cuffs and keep your welding pants over work boots to avoid any deposit of sparks or hot metal. Wear a helmet and wear safety glasses to prevent sparks from hitting the eyes. Use leather boots that give ankle coverage or wear leather welding spats to get foot protection. 


Use flame-retardant gloves to protect your hands from burns and scratches or other injuries you get from electric shocks. Use helmets with shields to protect the eyes and skin from exposure to arc rays. To protect your ears from noise, wear earmuffs or hearing protection to protect your hearing from any damage. This would also prevent metal or any other debris from entering the ear canal. 


welder working

Other Safety considerations within the work environment

Never underestimate other safety considerations within the work environment like working in a confined space or in an elevated area, paying attention to safety data sheets by the manufacturer or safety information on products used, and knowing the proper safety practices in the workplace. 

While complete welding PPE from head to toe is a must for protection, common sense in the workplace is also key. Remove clutter or debris, keep hands away from sharp edges, and follow simple safe practices and tips that can go a long way and minimize any workplace injuries.

What to know about a welding apron

welding apron leather
Welding aprons are especially useful in working conditions where the front of the body must be protected. Not only welding, but also grinding, woodworking, but even grilling and cleaning. Since the arms are usually not protected, leather sleeves are a useful in addition for better protection against heat and sparks. An apron makes sure not to burn holes in your clothes.

Welding aprons: what to use for

Welding and metalworking

When welding or grinding there’s a lot of heat and hot material that can burn through clothes and burn skin. It’s obvious that in order to work safe, decent protection clothing is needed. Welding aprons usually protect torso and upper legs. It depends on the used material how much and how long it can protect. Keep in mind that with most aprons, arms and neck are usually not protected. For certain metalworking, it’s strongly advised to use additional clothing, like a fire resistant welding shirt or leather welding sleeves.

Other uses for welding aprons

Besides metalworking, aprons are very useful for all kinds of home improvement like painting, woodworking, gardening, grilling etc. Aprons will protect clothes from being dirty, especially stains that are impossible to wash off. Based on what your needs are, you can choose the right apron. We continue to discuss the different models in welding aprons. leather apron

Different models of welding aprons

Long welding apron

A long welding apron usually ranges from 40″ (about 101 cm) to 36″ (91,5 cm) in length. For an average adult, this goes from the upper torso until the knees. Longer is also possible, but less convenient to walk with. A shorter apron will usually cover torso and upper legs. A long welding apron is the most convenient for most metalworking and other activities that need full frontal protection. welding apron

Waist welding apron

A waist apron starts from the waist and protects the upper legs. It’s especially useful for works on a table or a platform. Most waist welding aprons come in different sizes, but are usually not longer than the knees for an adult. welding waist apron

Split leg welding apron

When you need to walk and kneel a lot, a long welding apron can be less convenient: the part under the knees can be in the way. Therefore split leg welding aprons are more useful. This is basically an apron that straps around each leg, in order to give more freedom to move. The length of split leg aprons can vary: usually they cover the upper legs, but longer ones go even until the feet.

Different uses of material for a welding apron

Leather welding apron

Leather, and more specifically cow skin leather, is the best material for welding aprons. It’s strong and very heat and flame resistant. This all comes with a price: it can also be more costly and heavier to wear all day long. Leather is also a natural product and therefore not suitable to wash or come in contact with water. Still this doesn’t stop most people from choosing leather for a welding apron. Pros:
  • Heat and flame resistant
  • Strong and durable
  • More expensive
  • Can’t be washed with water
welding apron leather

Waxed canvas apron

Waxed canvas is a strong and nice material that can serve as a good material for an apron. It’s waterproof, lighter and more flexible than leather. On the other hand, it doesn’t serve as fire resistant material, so for many discussed jobs it falls out of category. It still can be used for woodworking, gardening, grilling or other tasks that don’t involve high heat or sparks. Pros:
  • Strong and light
  • Waterproof
  • Not fire resistant

Fire resistant cotton welding apron

The cheapest welding aprons are usually made of fire resistant cotton. They still offer a decent protection against heat and flames, but they’re not as durable as leather. Fire resistant cotton is light and can be easily washed. For lighter metalworking, it’s definitely a good solution. Pros:
  • Cheaper than other materials
  • Fire resistant
  • Can be washed
  • Less durable, less useful for metalworking

Good to know when buying a welding apron:

Most classic cheaper aprons hang around the neck and have to be tied on the back. This is fine for light aprons, but when wearing heavier longer, it can be less comfortable. Therefore most premium welding aprons have some kind of harness that straps at the back. The straps are easy to modify and the apron feels tightly strapped on the body. welding apron harness A lot of aprons also have a pocket on the front, which is convenient to put your phone, pencil, protection glasses. welding apron front pocket