Womanswork Garden Gloves
A Story, a Discussion, and a Garden Glove Review
I can remember when the Internet was young and most discussions on topics such as gardening came through a newsfeed (newsgroups), or an email discussion group hosted by a university. I belonged to several garden discussions through email. Unfortunately, "flame wars" dominated the Newsgroups. Wading through the argument minefields to discuss my favorite hellebore or acer became an exercise in frustration. Many of the email discussion groups had problems too; however, the quality posts verses flame-wars appeared to be better balanced. As the Internet grew up, so did the quality of discussions and many groups learned to moderate themselves to be rid of those who spoiled for a fight. I don’t remember many of the discussions, but I met a variety of gardeners that became friends. Decades later some still are!
What does this have to do with a review on gardening gloves? A lively discussion began one winter evening about the state of women’s gardening gloves. Our biggest complaint? We had to buy a man’s working glove to do our gardening chores. What the industry gave women was cotton, flowery gloves — a joke really — that did little to protect the hands. I remember them as white fabric with a pretty little flower patterns on them — almost pretty enough to go to Easter Sunday service — useless in the garden.
We ranted and discussed why women did not have sensible work gloves for the garden. It seemed absurd since our gender loves to garden. I remember the voices of women wondering why we couldn’t have hard working gloves that fit our hands. Most of us agreed we would gladly trade pretty gloves for ugly ones if it meant useful, functioning gloves that held up to the hard work we do in the garden. None of us were gentry on estates with a stable of men gardeners at our disposal to do the dirty work, although many had husbands that helped with the heavy work. Nevertheless, what the industry didn’t seem to understand back then was simple: real women garden and love to get dirty and messy, and need gloves that will hold up to the hard work, while protecting our hands from the worst of it.
Someone must have heard the collective women’s voices, I am sure women gardeners all over had the same complaint. We didn’t want cheap, thin, pretty gloves to work in. We needed a working glove that fit our hands and held up to everything we pushed on it.
I remember when new women’s gloves began showing up in the nursery centers. Not only were many of them good quality gloves that rivaled the men’s, but there seemed to be an explosion of different gloves for light work, heavy work, thorny work, you name it, the gloves poured onto the garden centers’ shelves. It’s hard to go into a nursery and try to pick the right glove — so many choices. I love the dilemma!
Which leads me to the Womanswork Glove I trialed since the summer of 2013. I planned to try it for the summer and write a review, but decided I would keep using it into winter and see how it held up for the long haul.
The red gloves fit well. The reinforced fingers are holding up, and are better than many gloves that I wear until holes appear. I like to dig in the dirt with my hands, because I keep my soil full of loam and don’t walk on it, much of it is soft and easy to dig in and I love to plunge my fingers into when weeding or planting small pots of plants. After a couple of seasons these gloves showed little wear (Photo right — glove after 9 months).
The gloves are made out of goatskin leather and can be hand washed and air-dried. The backside is made of breathable material so they are great gloves for working when it’s warm. When you sweat, you can wipe your brow with the back of the thumb, which is made of absorbent terry material. I know I will be using the gloves again in the upcoming garden season. They are made in China, which is its only downside, because I prefer to buy American made products.
I don’t want to stop the review just at the pair of gloves I trialed. Most often, that is where the review would end: I like product, then review product, that’s the end. However, I looked into the company and liked what I found. The fact that it’s owned and operated by women is not the key reason I like the company; although, I believe it may be partially why I like the way they do business. Even if the glove I reviewed came from China, many of Womanswork’s products are made in America! Click here for a list of all their "Made in the USA" products.
I plan to buy more of their gloves, my next purchase will be the Women's Leather Gauntlet Glove, a pigskin suede leather glove that offers great protection on up over the forearms from the prickly roses and thorny brambles.
My garden can bring on the weeds that must be pulled, the brambles that need cut back, the rocks that must be stacked, and the compost pile that needs to be turned. My gloves make the work easier on the hands.