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What Are Neoprene Gloves Used For?

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Most people think of gloves as an extra article of clothing to wear when it's cold outside. For others though, gloves are essential to their work or recreation. While gloves can be made from a variety of materials, Neoprene, a synthetic rubber, provides a layer of protection far superior to other materials.

The Facts

Neoprene is DuPont Performance Elastomer's brand name for a synthetic rubber called polychloropene. It was first developed in the 1930s as an oil-resistant alternative to rubber. Because it is also water resistant, stretchable and resistant to chemicals, sun damage, tears, punctures and abrasions, Neoprene is used for a variety of products, especially gloves.

Water Resistance

Neoprene is used to make wetsuits (including the gloves) due to its ability to resist water and insulate the body against cold water. Some Neoprene wetsuit gloves have a fleece inner lining for additional warmth and comfort.

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Resistant to Chemicals

Neoprene is used to make gloves for people who work with chemicals, including acid and caustics. They usually extend up the arm toward the elbow for increased protection. Most such gloves are lined with cotton or fleece, and many are designed with curved fingers for additional flexibility.

Medical Uses

Many latex-free medical gloves are also made from Neoprene, in both powder and powder-free varieties. Along with being water and chemical resistant, Neoprene is also hard to tear and abrade---a must for surgical and dental gloves.

Other Uses

Neoprene is used to make gloves for food handlers, fishermen, laboratory workers and hunters. Archers also use neoprene gloves to protect their hands, as do boaters, kayakers and cyclists.

About the Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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