The Year in Gloves


Exactly one year ago I was contacted by a marketing rep for Bionic Gloves.  She asked me to try out a pair of gloves and write a review, but I warned her that she wouldn’t hear anything for a while.  My garden glove buying decisions are all driven by the One Year Rule: all gardening gloves self-destruct after 12 months, and should be evaluated (and priced) accordingly.

These Bionic gloves were wonderful, they truly were.  They were comfortable, they actually fit (a size small is usually too big for me, but these were just right).  They were sturdy enough to stand up to thorny brambles, but flexible enough to wear as an all-around garden glove.  They’re machine washable. I’m not sure if the scientifically designed, specially padded ergonomic zones really made a difference, but they certainly didn’t get in the way. What’s not to like?

But sure enough, after exactly 1 year, a seam came apart at the fingertip. Again, I’m not faulting the gloves.  All gloves fall apart after one year on my hands.  That’s just part of the deal. But they’re also about 40 bucks, and I can buy a lot of daffodil bulbs for 40 bucks.

Other gloves I have known and loved for exactly 12 months:

Foxgloves.  Really fabulous gloves.  Beautiful colors, lovely soft, stretchy, washable fabric, and a few different styles, including a new grippier version. These gloves are perfect for handling tiny seedlings and for standing around in the garden sipping Martinis.  What’s not to like?  They, too, come apart, but it’s fun while they last.  I like to give these as gifts because they feel like such a treat.  Around $25.

West County gloves.  Sturdy, bad-ass gloves in hot colors.I was so excited aboutWestcounty
these gloves when I first found them, because they come in an extra small size.  Lots of different styles, totally rugged, but also doomed to destruction in 365 days.  Thirty bucks. 

So what do I wear?  Atlas, baby.  A good hardware store will carry a wide selection of their nitrile-coated work, garden, and outdoor gloves. I usually buy  a thin pair for everyday work, and the thicker knit-with-tough-coating version for very cold days and thorny pruning.

And guess what?  I’ve never paid more than five bucks for a pair.  Sure, they fall apart on schedule, but hey, the price is right.


  1. Great timing … seems September is the month that gloves go belly up for me and I’ve sent two pairs to sing with the great choir invisible in the last two weeks. So’ll I’ll be shopping this week for some new gloves. I hate gloves… hate hate hate them, but I hate spiders more, so I wear them, well, sort of, occasionally, sometimes.

  2. The Atlas 370’s are my everyday gloves. I absolutely love them, and wear them year-round. When they begin to smell a bit ripe, I throw them in with a load of laundry, and let them air dry. Mine never last an entire year, but that’s okay because I but them online, by the dozen. Here’s a link that I’d like to pass along:

  3. Gloveless in the roses, Michele?

    I don’t actually like the feel of gloves either, but I have to use them when working in the rose bushes and for really dirty jobs. Plus I keep my tools in such a disgusting state I have to use gloves to touch them.

    But mine last lnger cause I am not gardening all year like Amy and others in more temperate areas. I now have one pair of elbow-length leather/suede ones that seem pretty tough and a lovely mongrammed pair I have not dared to
    wear. The Mud gloves were lasting about 3 months each pair for me, so I gave up on them.

  4. Not so much randiness, as an inability to delay gratification for even a milli-second! When I wanna pull a weed, I wanna pull a weed–no time to fumble for the gloves.

    But my hands are paying for this attitude–they look strong but ugly.

  5. I can get by without gloves for the summer months, but in the early spring and through the fall, gloveless work in the garden takes a huge toll on my hands. I get deep cracks around my fingertips, eczema, and other nasties. In order to prevent these skin problems, I put on polyethylene liner gloves before I put on my gardening gloves.

  6. Finally, a discussion of gloves!

    I have a constant eternal struggle with blackberry vines here. Whether I am working on the roses or the vegtables or the lawn there are always blackberry vines poking up and trying to take over.

    I shredded several pair of the toughest ladies gloves I could find (sometimes in a single session!) along with scratching up my hands (through the gloves!). Currently I wear the thickest heaviest mens leather (uncomfortable unflexible) gloves I could find. They are finally starting to break in, and they hold the record so far at 6 months.

    I would love to find a glove that would be comfortable and able to rip an inch diameter blackberry vine out of the ground on demand…but so far I have had no luck. Any suggestions? I wear a ladies large or mens medium.

  7. Cordova goatskin gloves, size small, about $10 – good for gardening, hauling hay, raking all day, or cleaning out the barn. They’re the sturdiest gloves I’ve found, and I still blow out the fingertips in 60 days or less.

  8. As a garden glovaholic, I’m surprised that I haven’t tried the Bionic gloves… yet. Machine washability, a good fit and ergonomic zones make them sorely tempting, even at 40 bucks.

    They’d look cool hanging next to my “American Beauty gloves” by Tahoe. Yes, I bought a pair of gloves because of a movie. That’s normal, right?

    As for West County gloves, I have a green pair of the fingerless and a red and blue pair of the waterproof. I like to dunk my glove-clad hands in everything wet I can find, just to prove to myself how waterproof they are. They’re really, really waterproof. I’m embarrassed to admit I actually wrote to the company suggesing my idea for the perfect pair of gardening gloves. They responded politely, and without the level of enthusiasm I’d hoped for (and probably put me on a list of people who are koo koo enough to write to a glove company). I’m telling you… the perfect pair of gardening gloves is not an impossibility!

    Like you, Amy, I find myself reaching for my inexpensive nitrile-covered gloves most often. They don’t mess with fine motor control and are comfortable until they get sweaty. The perfect gardening glove won’t make your hands sweaty, among other things.

  9. I can relate to Angela…I’m another glovaholic. Maybe it’s the black widows but I also like to be able to do a bit of weeding or deadheading in between other things without having to go wash the mud off. I just wish I could find everyday gloves that could last a year…especially the right hand ones…I’ve got a collection of left hand gloves that outlasted the right hand.

  10. Leslie – we righties need to form a club of “left hand gloves for trade” with those lefties out there. I go thru that righthand thumb and forefinger in all my gloves as if they were tissue paper. I too love West Country Gloves – but only for cold weather – WAY too hot here in DC to wear anything but thin cotton in the summer.

  11. My vote goes to West County. I bought a pair of their work gloves last month, and they are STILL keeping my hands and fingernails clean. Every other glove I’ve ever tried simply delays the invasion of dirt under my fingernails.

    The West County gloves fit my hands well–that’s no mean feat with my large, long-fingered hands. They aren’t too heavy (although the waterproof ones would be), and they wash well.

    NOW I just have do deal with the post gardening dirt between my toes (in spite of shoes and socks), up my nose, on my glasses, in my hair, all over my clothes and in my bra and underwear (I have NO idea how that happens). Still, clean hands under the gloves is an improvement.

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