Workwear set for global growth

According to the research company, Global Industry Analysts, the global market for workwear is projected to exceed €40 billion ($48 billion) by 2022, driven by the growing working-age population, the increase in female workforce and fabric/materials innovation promising enhanced performance, style, safety, comfort and functionality. Recovery in the construction sector and the hunt for more skilled workers in the sector also means rising demand in the Irish market.

Encouragingly, 63% of respondents to a survey conducted by the Society of Chartered Surveyors expect the number of individuals employed in the sector to increase in the next 12 months but significant challenges still exist. The Irish construction industry, as of 2016, employs over 140,000 workers, and is poised for continued growth up to 2020. By 2018, at the current rate of growth, is it expected by the Construction Industry Federation that there will be 50,000 new workers in the sector. This suggests increased opportunities for the workwear and safety wear sector.

The fire-resistant fabric market alone is projected to be worth over $5 million in 2020 from $3.9 million in 2015, thanks to tighter industry regulations and standards, increasing safety concerns, and growth in end-use industries such as oil and gas, chemical and infrastructure. Europe is the largest market for fire resistant fabrics, strongly driven by the continent’s tight industry regulations. The key focuses for fire resistant fabric manufacturers include improving the overall performance of the fabrics as well as incorporating additional functions such as cooling and impact resistance to increase the comfort and durability of the products.

Here in Ireland, supplier companies are responding to these promising market trends with new products and innovative ranges.

Leon Boots Co.

Ultralight, the safety boots, distributed by Leon Boots Co., are made of EVA polymer.

Leon Boots Co. has been in existence for seven years as a distributor of EVA wellington boots. A spokesperson for Leon Boots said: “By listening carefully to our valued customers, we have discovered a growing market niche for Ultralight protective/safety boots, a revolutionary alternative for outdated heavy rubber or PVC footwear.” The spokesperson continued: “In order to provide the best-quality products, we work only with well-established manufacturers from the EU. We are targeting the hardware, gift, DIY, footwear, farm and garden sectors. With factories based in Central Europe, we are ready to serve the most demanding clients with a wide range of footwear and excellent, timely service at competitive prices.”

Portwest launches catalogue

Portwest has unveiled its new catalogue which showcases the company’s largest product offering to date, with over 1,300 products. Portwest is a family-owned Irish business since 1904, based in Westport, Co. Mayo. According to a spokesperson for the company: “We are Irish market leaders in the design and manufacture of workwear. Product ranges include rainwear, personal protective equipment products, leisurewear, safety footwear, fall arrest and flame-resistant clothing.”

The cover of Portwest’s latest catalogue.

The new 593-page catalogue features new product ranges and customer favourites. “With over 200 innovative new designs spread across every range, the new catalogue caters to a diverse range of industries. Portwest’s extensive range of PPE is independently tested to meet the stringent requirements and international standards within each industry.”

New ranges include the PW3 workwear range, PW2 high visibility and PWR high performance rainwear, all of which feature innovative new fabric finishes to enhance garment performance. Other innovative products featured in the catalogue include Glowtex, Peakview, PW Nano 6000 gloves and Portwest’s new innovative zip technology, Ezee Zip. The catalogue is now available.

There is only one

Distributor Keypoint Abrasives Ltd describes the MaxiFlex Ultimate with Ad-apt cooling technology as Ireland’s favourite work glove. Keypoint says that the more successful the glove becomes, the more imitations have appeared. But a company spokesperson points out that there is only one grey and black Maxiflex:“The MaxiFlex Ultimate with Ad-apt cooling technology has the thinnest, most breathable coating allowing heat built up on the hand to pass effortlessly through the carefully structured air tunnels in the palm of the glove. Movement ventilates the warm air away from the hand, circulating more cool air into the glove. Finally, the Ad-apt technology regulates the temperature of the hand, keeping you cool and dry no matter what job you are doing.”

The spokesperson continues: “Despite being only 1.0mm thick, the MaxiFlex Ultimate from

ATG MaxiFlex Ultimate gloves with Ad-apt technology are available exclusively from Keypoint Abrasives Ltd.

ATG is incredibly strong. Thanks to the Duratech coating, MaxiFlex will take anything you can throw at it. To put it in perspective, to achieve similar results in independent testing, colour imitations need to be 30% thicker. This comes at cost with a loss of wearer comfort, dexterity and flexibility.”

Keypoint says that only ATG gloves, including the MaxiFlex Ultimate, are washed in water that is rain harvested before packing. Additionally, Keypoint states they are the only gloves in the world with certification from the Skin Health Alliance indicating they are dermatologically accredited, allergy tested and skin-friendly. The gloves are available exclusively from Keypoint.

Winter jackets from Snickers Workwear

A winter jacket from Snickers

Snickers Workwear with 37.5 technology is designed to keep you warm during the colder months, the company states. The activated embedded particles in its 37.5 technology garments is intended to retain warmth generated by the body, keeping it at its optimal temperature – 37.5º centigrade. Because of this, the amount of energy the body needs to keep warm is reduced, meaning more energy for the work at hand.

The 8101 AllroundWork 37.5 Insulator Jacket is padded with 37.5 insulation for warmth and climate control. It can be used on its own, thanks to its water repellent outer layer. Alternatively, it can be worn as a mid-layer under a waterproof shell jacket. The long arm cuffs have thumb grips for warmth and comfort and the high collar offers extra wind protection.

The 4512 AllroundWork 37.5 Insulator Vest can be worn both as a mid or outer layer. It features 37.5 insulation and side panels in stretch material for added flexibility.

Sock it to the cold

Founded in 1983, and taken over by the Ruia group in 2005, Sockshop now boasts a huge range of socks. According to a company spokesperson: “Through both our licensing umbrella and our innovative in-house design team we offer a range of fantastic brands including our outdoor offering: Jeep, Storm Bloc Extreme and Storm Bloc Essentials.” Designed (since 1941) for peak performance in rugged conditions, Jeep products are practical, hard wearing and look great, according to the company.

Utilising Blueguard engineering, Storm Bloc Extreme is a durable, dependable and hard wearing outdoor socks. Such is the Sockshop company’s confidence in the product it offers a lifetime guarantee on its Storm Bloc Extreme range.

Some of the Sockshop range (clockwise from top right): the cotton boot sock, the wool boot sock, the leisure sock and the extreme performance sock.

The Storm Bloc Essentials range has been created to bring the company’s expertise to the world of outdoor products, offering a range of functional, technical and innovative products that provide performance, comfort and style. According to Sockshop, its product range is only available in garden centres, hardware stores and camping stores.


Manufacturers in the US offer their views on the latest trends in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sector.

“Ergonomically designed gloves intended to enhance worker comfort is a current hand protection trend we expect to expand to a growing number of PPE products. Muscle injuries caused by repetitive daily tasks are a leading cause of lost workday injury and illness. Ergonomically designed gloves provide added elements of comfort and flexibility – maximising worker productivity by minimizing hand fatigue and discomfort.” – Steve Genzer, president and general manager, Ansell Industrial Solutions Global Business Unit, Ansell, Iselin, NJ

“Innovation is continuing with synthetic fibers that enable development of work gloves, protective sleeves and garments that offer maximum cut protection in thinner, more comfortable and more durable styles. We also are seeing much greater demand for garments that offer coolness, enhanced comfort, greater durability and more protection for more area of the body.” – Nico Janssen, regional business manager, Americas, high protective textiles, DSM Dyneema, Stanley, NC

“In-helmet monitoring and communication devices and modular platforms are going to be the next wave of PPE. The monitoring and communication devices are already here, but are raw in their current state – meaning that they are either bulky, limited in their compatibility and operation, or generally not as reliable as a customer would like.” – Nick Bozzuto, product manager for respiratory protection, blast and coatings, Bullard, Cynthiana, KY

“We are seeing more innovation in arc flash gloves with the ASTM Protector Glove Performance standard for cut-resistant, arc-flash gloves nearing completion. Leather
protector gloves haven’t changed much since the 1800s, and they are now poised to make the change that common work gloves have made in the past 25 years with flameresistant TPRs, cut resistance, puncture resistance, chemical resistance and arc flash ratings.” – Hugh Hoagland, senior consultant, ArcWear, Louisville, KY

“Full-scale systems testing seems to be the next trend within fall protection as manufacturers respond to endusers who continue to desire systems-based solutions that integrate connecting devices, lanyards, energy absorbers, harnesses, lifelines and anchors. This continued movement in the industry has pushed us to develop a more modular fall protection lab that is capable of doing testing on varying degrees of systems/assemblies.” -Jason Allen, technical advisor, Intertek, Cortland, NY

“What we are seeing now are nanotechnologies blended into the fibers of the yarns themselves that provide the same levels of protection without the need of blending multiple yarns together. These nanotechnologies can perform just as well as wrapped or twisted engineered yarn, yet are half the weight and last twice as long and are generally more efficient in production.” – Dan Branson, product development, Mechanix Wear, Valencia, CA

“Technology continues to advance in the form of unique comfort features and improved styles. Safety glasses, for instance, have already evolved from designs that were popular just a few years ago. Manufacturers at the forefront of innovation continue today to work to engineer products that are better than current offerings and more appealing in style – while still safe – for workers.” – Katie Mielcarek, marketing manager, Gateway Safety Inc., Cleveland